At 93, James Bishop of Middlesex County is one of the oldest surviving war veterans in the United States. He’s proud of his country and defends her every chance he gets.
So when he took a bus on Veterans Day from East Brunswick to the Port Authority in New York, he proudly wore his War World II uniform bearing his medals, along with an insignia identifying him as a member of Old Bridge VFW 9468.
Then the anti-Trump protesters caught his attention. “Give me a f—-g gun, I’ll shoot these sons of b—–s,” he says on a video that has since gone viral on social media.
In an interview with NJ Advance Media on Wednesday, Bishop said he was still fired up over the incident.
“If it wasn’t for Trump, this country would have a lot of problems right now,” Bishop said. “I’m an American soldier, I bring peace to this country. Those liberals waving those flags had no right to be at the veterans’ parade. That’s my statement.”
As for threatening protesters, Bishop says he was angry but would not have hurt anyone.
“I ain’t gonna kill nobody. The only ones I took care of was the ones overseas in the Pacific. Besides, I had cameras all over me (at the parade), you know?”
Bishop is a vice commander at the Old Bridge VFW. The organization is made up of about 56 veterans who have been meeting at local community centers since their building sustained water damage when a pipe burst two years ago.
Camillo Vitale, who is commander of the group, said that Bishop’s “gun comment” at the parade was not a serious threat.
“I’m sure it’s more of a harmless thing than anything else,” Vitale said. “If you know World War II vets, you know they can be very blunt and straightforward. But (Bishop) is a wonderful person, a truly great guy.”
Bishop said he left his home alone about 8 a.m. Monday for the long bus ride to New York. He said when he got to the Port Authority he was approached by police officers from the NYPD who offered to help him outside.
But when Bishop got outside, he found himself at the end of a long line of people waiting for taxis. He decided to walk to the parade instead.
“I can’t walk far. I walked about three blocks and I stopped and I grabbed ahold of those posts they use to protect the sidewalk,” he said.
Moments later, he said, two more police officers came over and asked him where he was going.
“I told them, ‘I’ve got to get to the parade. It’s late. The president’s going to be laying a wreath and I gotta be there,’” he said.
Bishop said the officers placed him in their car and offered to escort him to the parade, a courteous act he said that nearly brought him to tears.
“The traffic was so bad and they put their sirens on and they blasted up the wrong side of the street,” Bishop said. “They did everything to get me to that parade. The police were wonderful to me. When they seen me standing there in my uniform, they helped me.”
But once he arrived, the sight of protesters at the parade angered him, he said.
“They had these here people kind of roped off, separate from us, and all of them are standing there with these signs, ‘Impeach Trump’ and all, you know?” he said. “It got me upset and you know, I’m starting to get upset again right now this minute because I don’t like the way things are going in this country against our president, who has done a hell of a lot for it so far.”
Bishop said he served three years in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of sergeant. He said he fought in the battle that ended in the surrender of Japan and did what he could to help that country’s citizens.
“The citizens of Japan were great people. There were children there living in these bombed-out buildings,” he said. “I would go searching in the towns for war criminals and these children would see me and they would come running to me every morning I kind of adopted these children. They called me ‘daddy.’”
Bishop said he clashed with anti-Trump protesters once before in Manhattan, shortly before the 2016 election.
“I almost got into a fight right there at Trump Towers with one of them,” Bishop said. “He was a guy from California and I didn’t like him. I said, ‘You don’t belong here’ and then we had a good argument.”
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