Dario Raschio is among the nation’s oldest remaining World War II veterans, but a moment meant to honor the 100-year-old U.S. Army vet turned into a protest to support slain teenager Michael Brown.
Raschio was the special guest at a ceremony held by Senator Ron Wyden in Oregon when about 100 protesters burst into a town hall meeting chanting “hands up, don’t shoot!” and “I can’t breathe!”
The protesters were trying to draw attention to the deaths of Brown and Eric Garner, both killed in confrontations with the police. But instead of supporting their cause, the group drew criticism and a sharp rebuke from the 100-year-old Raschio.
“Give me a chance,” he told the protesters, garnering a round of applause. “At least let us show a little respect for this occasion.”
The Michael Brown protesters then quieted down briefly while Raschio received his honors from Wyden.
He was given the U.S. Naval Aviator Badge, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the “Ruptured Duck” award and the U.S. Navy Honorable discharge pin. Wyden also presented Raschio with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol building.
Dario Raschio said he accepted the awards on behalf of those killed in World War II and delivered a message to the protesters.
“God bless America. And you people that are here for a cause, whatever it might be — show respect to Sen. Wyden.”
But as soon as Raschio finished, the protesters started up again, with one of the protest leaders insisting,”for 4.5 minutes we are going to take time to pay respect to everybody who has been killed by police in this nation.” Protesters have used the 4.5 minute request in other venues, paying homage to the 4.5 hours that Brown’s body remained in a Ferguson street before finally being removed.
The event honoring 100-year-old veteran Dario Raschio is not the only strange place that Michael Brown protesters have shown up. One group known as #BlackBrunchNYC decided to target what they believe are “white” breakfast spots, streaming into restaurants and demanding that patrons recognize police misconduct.