A 100-year-old Navy veteran accepting an award from Sen. Ron Wyden in Portland, Oregon, had some choice words for protesters who interrupted him with cries of, “Hands-up, don’t shoot!” before he could speak.
Dario Raschio was receiving a special honor at Portland Community College when more than 100 protesters reportedly stormed the auditorium, holding up signs, banging on windows and chanting rally calls that have become synonymous with those of thousands of protesters in the wake of Michael Brown and Eric Garner’s deaths, reports The Oregonian.
Raschio and his daughter, Pam Brown, were seated in the front row when the demonstrators began shouting, “I can’t breathe,” a reference to the choking death of Garner. Wyden was reportedly able to quiet down the crowd long enough to ask that he be allowed to continue presenting the veteran with a frame filled with medals, which included the U.S. Naval Aviator Badge, the American Campaign Medal and American Defense Service Medal.
Raschio, who joined the Navy at age 27, served in World War II as a pilot for observational planes and took part in five campaigns in the Pacific. Despite being hailed as a “hero” by Wyden, he chose not to address his many accomplishments and to instead speak about what he was witnessing at the campus that day.
“Give me a chance,” Raschio told protesters as he began to speak. When he asked that demonstrators “show a little respect for the occasion,” the audience clapped and cheered.
After accepting the medals on behalf of those who lost their lives in WW II, Raschio said, “God bless America. And you people that are here for a cause, whatever it might be — show respect to Sen. Wyden.”
Wyden returned the favor by following Raschio’s speech with, “One of the reasons that we can come here today and be heard and express our views is because of veterans like Dario.”
But protesters weren’t so quick to listen. Before Raschio could take his seat again, one demonstrator announced that “for 4.5 minutes we are going to take time to pay respect to everybody who has been killed by police in this nation."
The protest followed an earlier one that took place in the city and reportedly organized by Don't Shoot Portland, in which two people were arrested for blocking an avenue.