His Navy SEAL Trident pinned on his left lapel, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has stepped forward this week to take a leading role for the Trump administration in recognizing Veterans Day.
The 23-year veteran, who retired as a commander, on Wednesday will travel to the Vietnam War Memorial to read 90 names on “The Wall,” the long black slab of somber granite that presidents have visited to honor those who died in Vietnam.
Zinke’s weeklong honor walk began Tuesday with a Department of Interior veterans commemoration event. On Friday he is traveling to Manassas National Battlefield for a tour and to meet with historians and veterans and Boy Scouts.
And then on Veterans Day, Saturday, he plans to help in washing the Vietnam War Memorial and will lay a wreath and speak at Arlington National Cemetery. He is also to speak at the World War II and Korean War Memorial ceremonies.
Zinke is no stranger to veterans or even Washington’s war memorials. In April, for example, he helped in the washing of The Wall with members of Rolling Thunder. He wrote on Facebook:
0600 report for duty. This morning I joined the Maryland chapter of Rolling Thunder to wash the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial with fellow veterans. Dedicated warriors ride to the wall early in the morning, before any tourists arrive, and wash the soil, fingerprints, and tears from the wall. It is an emotional journey that is both humbling and inspiring. RIP brothers and sisters.
And when he served in Congress, Zinke became an official partner of the DOD's 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Vietnam War. His office arranged pinning ceremonies for Vietnam vets across the state. He gave commemorative pins to than 1,500 veterans at six ceremonies. In two instances, he filled civic centers with veterans and their family members.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com