PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Former Pennsylvania Governor and USA Today opinion contributor Tom Ridge wrote in an op-ed on Wednesday that those protesting the stay-at-home orders are dishonoring America’s veterans.

“In recent days, we have seen images of Americans carrying weapons as part of their protests to immediately reopen society,” Ridge wrote. “What are they planning to do, shoot the virus with their AR-15s?”

Ridge referenced an 86-year-old Vietnam War veteran, Bennie Adkins, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 and eventually died from the virus after a 23-day-long battle.

“A little more than 50 years ago, halfway around the world, Bennie’s heroic actions at the battle of Dai Do in Vietnam resulted in his being awarded the Medal of Honor,” he wrote.

While he did criticize the protestors, he said he understood why, acknowledging that the shutdowns, stay-at-home orders, and isolation have led to economic pain.

“Let’s consider that while out of work, and I don’t for a minute minimize the real financial pain this is causing, they are generally confined to their homes, with refrigerators, televisions, the internet and the ability to take a walk, go to the store or just talk to a neighbor,” he said.

Ridge’s op-ed was not without hope, however.

“…if we check the history books and remind ourselves that we are a resilient country and that we can prevail in this battle if we work together,” he penned.

Ridge was the 43rd governor of Pennsylvania and served as the first Secretary of Homeland Security.

You can read his full op-ed on USA Today.