A 100-year-old U.S. Navy veteran drew cheers from a crowd in Oregon Saturday after telling protesters shouting “hands-up, don’t shoot!” to stop interrupting his medal ceremony and to “show a little respect.”
Dario Raschio was at Portland Community College’s Southeast Campus to be honored by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, at a public town hall meeting. But shortly after Wyden began speaking, more than 100 demonstrators in the back of the room started shouting, The Oregonian reports.
After 15 minutes of chanting against the deaths of unarmed black men by white police officers, Wyden was able to talk the group into quieting down so he could continue with the medal ceremony.
Raschio joined the Navy at the age of 27 and participated in five campaigns in the Pacific theater, flying observational planes based off the USS Chester. He was awarded a frame filled with medals, including 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.
As Raschio grabbed the microphone to address the crowd, he was heckled by protesters demanding that the U.S. military leave Iraq, The Oregonian reports.
But the centenarian shot back, saying “give me a chance” and “let’s show a little respect for this occasion,” drawing cheers from the audience.
Raschio accepted the medals on behalf of those who died in World War II and closed his speech by saying “God bless America.”
“And you people that are here for a cause, whatever it might be — show respect to Sen. Wyden,” he added, according to the Oregonian.
Before Raschio could return to his seat, the chanting resumed, with one protester declaring 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.”
After 45 minutes of chanting, organizers called off the town hall meeting.
“We are certainly going to reschedule it,” Wyden said. “It’s important to be able to throw open the doors of government to everybody. That’s why town hall meetings are so important.”