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tv   News  Al Jazeera  November 11, 2015 11:00am-11:31am EST

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the white house has called for long-term changes at the department of veteran's affairs, and better aid for homeless vets. president obama also pledging to end homelessness among veterans by the end of next year. there is the vice president, ash carter is already on the ground. it is estimated that the number of homeless vets more than 21 million. and that is dr. joe biden who is entering the scene as well. the president will be arriving shortly. mike viqueira is in washington. mike, it is a solemn ceremony that we see over and over again, and it always has the same effect. >> reporter: you are right. it is raining, as you see a brilliant day near arlington national cemetery, i should say adjacent to the cemetery.
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the war to end all wars it was thought at the time, of course, and as you point the armistice, veteran's day formally known as armistice day. the president has an agenda here. still doing damage control over the scandal of healthcare at the veteran's affairs department. the president's handpicked successful leading that department still trying to clean up the mess. you recall phoenix was where it all started. quite a scandal in washington the president has touted. the president taughting his suck is in bringing some of the
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problems down. some municipalities around the country claiming to have obliterated veteran's homelessness. and joe biden has been very important in veteran's affairs, jill biden there you see her there. arlington as you noted, del, a very solemn place. the tomb there perch atop a hill overlooking the potomac river. we see the president approaching now, the tomb of the unknown soldier. he is expected to make brief remarks and lay the wreath there at the top of the hill that overlooking arlington cemetery.
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>> mike as we watch the president approach, i'm reminded as to how much of this is ceremony. they take 21 steps, they turn, they pause 21 seconds, and they turn again. in that recognizing the 21-gun solute for those who have fallen in service to our nation. let's take a listen. ♪
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[ drum roll ]
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♪ [ taps playing ] >> order!
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>> the president laying the wreath at the tomb of the unknowns. there is a single line on the tomb. mike viqueira, as we watch this, as we see the ceremony, as we see the president there, and those gathered, it is an indication that as they say so many times in washington, it sounds cliche, but freedom is
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not free. >> well, you are absolutely right, and i think we can expect to hear the president utter those very words if not something quite similar as he has over the course of his presidency. the president in the midst of squabbles, with congress. spending playing no small impact on the veterans. raising defense spending after sequester cuts had been in place. the president also has its differences now about to come to the head with the military prison maintained at guantanamo bay. i don't think we will hear the president mention any of those political and policy battles as he prepares to address the crowd here today. because this is a solemn
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ceremony. he will, of course, talk specifically about veterans, and the -- the progress that he has made in trying to ensure that veteran's healthcare is up to snuff, and that veterans are employed once they come off of active duty. del. >> mike viqueira in washington. mike stand by, we'll take you back to washington as the ceremony starts to unfold. the president expected to address the crowd shortly. in that is the gold guard standing there. keeping watch as a single soldier known only to god. stay with us.
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>> our american story is written everyday. it's not always pretty, but it's real... and we show you like no-one else can. this is our american story. this is america tonight.
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welcome back. you are watching our live coverage of the veteran's day ceremonies taking place at arlington national ceremony, just outside of washington, d.c. mike, i am always curious about the fact that people always ask the question, why arlington, virginia, and it goes back to the civil war when virginia took back its piece of washington, d.c., and it's not that perfect diamond which seems to be indicative of the fact of what do they say, we're always working towards a more perfect union. >> reporter: you are right. and arlington national cemetery, ajaj ent to the tomb of the unknown soldier, was the property of robert e lee, taken
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from the family. and spiting him for spurning the united states union army and joining the rebel army, and that's part of the history of what we see here. you see the tomb of the unknown there. it's made of marble, from marble, colorado. that rectangle weighs some 64 tons. so a lot of factoids if you will that go along with this. that is the old guard, many of the military members from fort meyer, virginia, which is just steps away from where you see them performing and going through their drills now. so this is obviously one of the most solemn places between the
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tomb of the unknown soldier and articlest articleston cemetery. no better place for the president to serve veteran's day as he has each of the years of his presidency. >> my father will be buried there on the 20th. he is a korean war veteran, and i was amazed when i talked to him how proud he was before he passed in knowing that that would be his final resting place. as you know, arlington is divided into sections and each section is dedicated to whatever battle they fought in. and each soldier will be buried beside the people he served beside. >> that's right, del, and arlington has undergone of space crunch. they are running out of space now, and there has been
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controversy over who would be eligible to be buried there. obviously now some of that has been worked out. there was a scandal involving the cemetery not too long ago. shotty organization. shotty discipline there. items getting lost, personal effects, just a sad chapter. that happened about ten years ago. arlington has recovered from that now. it's a gleaming facility, obviously again, a place that hosts millions each year, as it is just across the river from the core of washington. as we prepare to see the president now make his brief remarks on this veteran's day, del. >> as we await the president, i want to point out that the president plans to use this veteran's day to call on congress to do more for those who have served. he'll be focusing on access to health care, disability benefits, and employment.
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rachel levin takes a look. >> reporter: during his 15-month tour of duty in afghanistan, this specialist saw plenty of combat and lost too many friends. >> i fell into a real real deep depression, to the point i was downing 750 milliliter bottles of [ inaudible ] every day. >> reporter: and he left the army and came home, he hit rock bottom, homeless, diagnosed with severe ptsd, and about to become a father. he was arrested on a non-violent domestic abuse charge. when you were sitting in the county jail, that's a long way from basic training. >> and it was extremely mortifying for me. >> reporter: one out of every ten prisoners has served in the military. that's more than 200,000 service men and women behind bars.
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>> all rise -- >> reporter: but judges like this are offering people who serve their country a lifeline. >> we're all at a loss on what to do with you. >> i know i can do it. >> well, against the mrengd takes of everyone else in this room, i'm giving you one more chance. >> reporter: every wednesday in orlan orlando, florida, she provides over veterans. >> i want you to keep a journal of your job search. >> reporter: there are now more than 264 veteran courts around the nation, and over 13,000 veterans are receiving treatment and services. the judge says most vets who show up in her court suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder. according to a rand corporation report, 90% of u.s. service members who have returned from afghanistan and iraq currently
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have ptsd or depression, roughly half seek treatment. >> we do a holistic approach to assisting veteran, housing, medical, mental health, substance abuse, work training. we just try to make this person a better person for the community at large. >> reporter: and the fact that the judge is a former vet herself, served in iraq, reminds people like this who she once was. >> when she speaks to you, it's with a sense of respect, a sense of understanding, like, listen, i was there too. >> reporter: american civil liberties union opposes the courts, saying, quote: but the judge says she has seen results, since the program started two years ago, the court says 92 out of 100 participants,
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successfully completed the program, got treatment and avoided prison. >> remember the choices that ended you up, and the choices you need to make. >> reporter: gomes credits the program with saving his life. >> if i did not end up in that program, i would be either dead or in prison right now. ♪ >> the president of the united states, the tell prompter just blocking the shot, but there are veterans from all wars who are still surviving there, many still from world war ii. but the sad thing is . . . >> -- and those of our veteran service organizations. as we march on the colors, the united states army band will play the national emblem march. please place your hand over your heart oren -- or render a
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salute. >> to finish the thought, those soldiers dying at roughly a thousand a day. ♪
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>> please remained standing for prayer for all veterans. >> let us pray. all mighty god of veterans and nations, you are so awesome in all of your ways. we give you thanks on this veteran's day for the devotion and cur age of all of those who have worn our nation's uniforms and offered military service for this country that we could now enjoy such freedoms. we thank you for our veteran's service organizations, who make
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every day of the year, veteran's day. today as a nation, oh god, we honor veterans, who have answered the call to serve, to protect our american way of life. we honor veterans who suffer from the visible and invisible wounds of war. rehonor veterans who have laid down their lives for others, and we honor their surviving families, and the sacrifices they have made. god we thank you for our nation's veterans willingness to serve on our behalf and bourn hardship in war and peacetime. oh, god we ask on this veteran's day that you would encourage and heal those in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, amending their wounds at home. help us oh god to never forget our comrades who are listed as
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prisoners of war and missing in action. help us to bring them and the returning warriors to a joyful reunion and peaceful life at home. give to us your people of this nation grateful hearts and a united will to honor these men and women and hold them always in your love and our prayers until your world is perfected in peace and all wars cease. and god, give us all a sense of humor and find something to make us smile. as we remember the good times and celebrate our nation's veterans. amen. >> now i would like to invite mr. norvert ryan, jr., national president military officers of america, to lead us in the
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pledge of allegiance. >> i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america. and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisib indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. >> please be seated. it is now my distinct privilege to introduce the members of the veteran's day national committee. the committee was formed by presidential order in 1954 to hold this annual observance in honor of our american's veterans. please hold your applause until i have introduced these special guest. if able, please stand when your name is called. norvert ryan, jr., gene
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hencaski. larry canard. angel siniga. armen crawford. edward demink senior. al kovac. jerome bloom. john row an, president, vietnam veterans of america. john [ inaudible ], commander in chief, veterans of foreign wars of the united states. james pigeon, national commander [ inaudible ]. dale stamford.
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karl good, jr., national commander, army and navy union of the usa. h gene overstreet, commander, non-commissioned officers associated. david golf, national vice commander of the american lee son. robert [ inaudible ] national commander, military order of the purple heart. virgil [ inaudible ] national president fleet preserve association. richard gore, sr. william mullen, national commander, legion of valor of the usa. michael plumber, deputy legislative director, national associate of uniformed services. ruth hamilton, commander in chief, military order of the
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world wars. lawrence highland, national president, the retired enlisted association. thomas kelly, congressional medal of honor society. and moses [ inaudible ], jr., national commander disabled american veterans. the associate members of the committee are located in the boxes to my left. i would like to ask the president and national commanders that comprise our associate membership to standing and be recognized. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in recognizing our veterans national leadership with your applause. [ applause ] >> it is now my pleasure to introduce our veteran's organization host for 2015. military officers association of
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america, founded in 1929. it's the nation's largest and most influential association of military officers. with more than 390,000 members, it is the leading voice representing active duty, guard, and reserve, retired, and former officers of all seven uniformed services and their spouses, families, and survivors. they offer a powerful force, speaking for a strong national defense and equitable treatment for all who serve and have served their country in uniform. the network of state councils and more than 400 affiliate chapters across the u.s. actively promote the concept of lifetime service at the national, state, and community levels. as you can see, they live their motto. we never stop serving. they are represented today

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