By Paul Koval
On Saturday October 17, a man dressed in fatigues saluted vehicles of a “Trump Train” in downtown Marietta. That man is Tim Peterson. He is a combat veteran who was deployed to Vietnam in May of 1968 to May of 1969 where he earned a combat infantry badge and two bronze stars. He and his wife Carol live in a rural area outside of New Matamoras where they enjoy a quiet life without internet and television. His activities include reading and going to church, where he learned of the “Trump Trains;” parades organized by Trump supporters that were recently popularized in the area. He gave a speech in Cambridge at the beginning of the month and will be featured at another event this weekend.
Peterson also gives talks at various schools to kids about honesty, leadership, and truth. They’re “not given the truth about what America stands for and where it came from,” he said. He believes that public schools are used too much for “social interest” as opposed to history. He wants to remind people their taxes pay for the schools and they need to take care of them as if they are their own. He says kids are smart and they listen, pointing out a talk he gave at River earlier this year to about 800 students where “you could hear a pin drop.” He also encourages youth to stand up to peer-pressure.
A photo of Tim saluting at the Marietta parade surfaced on Facebook last weekend and received several positive comments, including many thanking him for his service, though they had no idea who he was.
Peterson pointed out that the people attending these parades have smiles on their faces and everyone has a good time. No one is screaming or rioting. He is frustrated with the news which he believes is one-sided. He said he was saluting America first, and the Commander in Chief, who he thinks is being disrespected.
“People revert to bringing up race in politics, because they don’t have any other solid issue to stand on,” Tim said. “We risked our lives for each other regardless of ethnic background. Being called a racist because of my European background infuriates me.” He said racial issues were getting better until politics became involved. “Social issues have always taken care of themselves.”
Peterson recently had rotator cuff surgery and then a fall that caused a pinched nerve and a broken vertebra. That required back surgery with 32 staples. Those injuries didn’t prevent him from standing erect on that Saturday afternoon. There were reportedly 853 vehicles and he saluted every one of them.
His step-daughter, Pj Champion Sallie, saw the photo online and recognized who he was. “I knew that was him because of the belt he was wearing. He is an amazing man,” she said.
Peterson thinks today’s societal problems came about from the breakdown of the family and church that were the foundations of learning right and wrong. He said there’s no appreciation of freedoms because the youth haven’t been taught that either.
He said he does what he does for love of country but also for his fallen comrades who no longer have a voice.
He will be the featured speaker again at noon at the Valley View Trade complex in Buffalo this Saturday. There will also be food available. A “Trump Train,” escorted by the Guernsey County Sheriff’s Department, will depart the venue at 1 p.m.