President Donald Trump sought to give America a way forward as it faces deep divisions, pointing to the country’s common values and patriotism as the best hope for its future, in a speech to The American Legion.
At the national convention of The American Legion in Reno, Nevada, on Aug. 23, Trump held up the wartime veterans organization as an example of strength, courage, and resolve.
“We’re here to draw inspiration from you as we seek to renew the bonds of loyalty that bind us together as one people and one nation,” Trump said.
Trump praised the organization and its veterans as embodying the spirit of patriotism.
“Now our nation must follow the same work ethic, that same devotion to a greater cause to achieve our country’s full potential,” he said.
It was the third time in one week that the president had spoken about the importance of patriotism in uniting America.
“[Patriotism] is the true source of our strength and the best hope for our future,” he said.
Trump has drawn the comparison between America’s armed forces, their unity, their shared values, and their bond as a single team, as an example of how America at large can come together.
Following the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump wrote in a tweet on Aug. 19 that America has been divided for decades, but it also has the strength to heal. Pointing to patriotism and common values, Trump encouraged Americans to set their divisions aside and unite as one team.
“This is now the challenge of our times. We must ask ourselves who we are, what we stand for, and what together we can achieve,” Trump said on Aug. 23 in Reno.
At the same time, the president said that America had the strength to overcome its divisions and build a better future for everyone.
“If American patriots could secure our independence, carve out a home in the wilderness, and free millions from tyranny and oppression around the world, then that same spirit of strength, courage, and resolve can help us create a better future for our people today,” Trump said.
A day earlier, speaking at a rally in Phoenix, the president criticized media organizations for playing up divisions between people and giving hate groups a voice.
“It is time to heal the wounds that divide us and to seek a new unity based on the common values that unite us. We are one people with one home and one great flag. We are not divided by the color of our skin, the figure on our paycheck, or the party of our politics,” he said.
“We are defined by shared humanity, by our citizenship in this magnificent nation, and by the love that fills our hearts.”
At the American Legion event, the president signed new legislation, the VA Appeals Modernization Act, that will reduce the time it takes for veterans to appeal to the VA, which currently can take years.
Trump thanked the organization for its services for the country’s veterans and for pressing for the legislation. He also thanked The American Legion for its efforts to preserve history and culture.
“For generations now, The American Legion has taught our young people the principles of Americanism. You emphasize the need to preserve the nation’s cultural, moral, and patriotic values,” he said.