War veterans show support for Obama, McCain - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

War veterans show support for Obama, McCain

Bill Thompson Bill Thompson
Darrell Large Darrell Large

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - They're united in their patriotism, but divided in who they feel is the best person to lead our country.

As the race to the White House enters the home stretch, war veterans are looking at the Presidential candidates to see which one will put veterans' issues, such as health care and other programs, on the priority list.

Many have their minds made up.

At a Hawaii Veterans for Obama luncheon, Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka belts out a tune while 200 veterans loosen their belts for a feast.

Bill Thompson served with the highly-decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The Barack Obama supporter says he's concerned about the troops in Iraq.

"They're facing a different kind of war. They're having hard time. This is why they have traumatic disorders," the 84-year-old said. "And at the same time, don't forget the old veterans too."

Across town, a retired Army Lt. Colonel shows his support for Republican war hero John McCain. Darrell Large says there's no one more qualified.

"Based on proven ability to confront difficulties, to understand what the issues are confronting our country, not only economically, which is the big issue now, but going back to the terroristic threat against our country," Large said.

But Obama backers say something smells fishy. Several times over the years, McCain has voted against increased funding for veterans' programs.

"If you analyze these votes, quote, against the veterans by John McCain, you'll find there was a valid reason for it," Large said.

With our nation's economic problems, both sides urge voters to use their noodle when marking their ballots.

"I'm retired. We have a pension. We have social security. I'm worried about the next generation. What's going to happen?" Thompson said. "And I hope Sen. Obama is the one that's going to take care of that."

Large says a vast majority of veterans whole-heartedly support McCain. We'll see next Tuesday.

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