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tv   Book Party for Charlie Mike  CSPAN  November 15, 2015 1:45pm-3:01pm EST

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be sure to follow and tweet us your questions,@booktv and @c-span on twitter. >> here's a look at some books being published this week. in sweet freedom, former alaska governor sarah pallic recalls her favorite inspirational bible verses and offers her reflexes on the holidays. then' how his eight-month stay in a state run confinement center following a conviction for violation of campaign law, informed his political views in, stealing america. and in lawless, david bernstein argues the obama administering has continually undermined the constitution. also being released this week, claire cushman and todd peppers look at the impact of law clerks on the supreme court in, of court years and kings.
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historian horne studies war, and in democratic by design, gabrielle metcalf explores the way the sharing economy is creating social change. look for these titles in book stores this coming week and watch for the authors in the near future on booktv. >> booktv attended a public party for author and time magazine columni joe klein. his latest book "charlie mike" profiles who veterans, eric greitens and jake wood, who created public service organizations after leaving the military. mr. klein visited with guests and took part in a panel. >> that's what this book is about. and -- >> syria. >> no, no, we need them here.
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>> i see what you mean. >> we don't have -- >> many of them come back and they're not -- -- talked about creating a wage for people who have had those experiences in military service, some sort of formal credit that can transfer. >> i've been fighting this fight. i'm a journalist for everything else but only for the next year, but i'm a lobbyist when it comes to these kids, and i have been trying to get the administration to start a program that would give them licenses for their skills before they get out. we need 70,000 welders in the country, and there are plenty of welders coming out of the military. then the have to pay money and go to school. if they come but with a credential -- >> that's sensible. , who is against that. >> i tell you. >> the unions. >> not just the unions but the
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state bureaucracies because the state licensing commissions dish was talking to kashich, and i said, you know what it takes to become a welder in ohio? $10,000 in training. the guys who drove me over mines in kandahar province, i think they can handle el. heed said you're absolutely right and nothing happened. >> one who likes to make things happen. >> talk to marco metcalf, a representative from arizona, and all of these veterans -- the issue of getting them -- like on border security, and somebody that would be very simpatico -- >> senator from virginia, really -- >> mark warner. >> no, the other win. >> tim kane, ding, ding, ding.
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very interesting. he is -- we have had casual conversations about this. he is a really good guy. >> you think this is one area you can get bipartisan support? no one will -- >> supposedly being run out of the first lady's office. the first latey's office. >> you thinking might be joe biden because he is more into the -- involved in the military. >> i don't think anybody has gotten tremendously into the -- >> my son, chris, served in baghdad with beau. they knew each other. >> thank you for documenting this. >> they said to me, simon and schuster, two guys who are linked by a tragedy who go on to start these fabulous public service organizations, one of
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them is eric greitens, and is running for governor of missouri as a pro gay rights republican. and pro human rights. -- proimmigration. he is running against a republican. and one of his first mission -- six months of public service for wounded veterans if they come up with a -- one of is first fellows was jake wood, who is the founder of -- he and his best friend became a fellow and developed -- >> wow. >> and they didn't make it. and so the book is the story of them, and how -- how they
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adjusted their organizations, really changed them. this is the -- >> [inaudible] >> there are couple -- jonathan carp said to me, you write novels. write me a novel. a nonfiction novel. so there was no -- in this book at all. >> [inaudible] [inaudible] >> jake was going to be here but
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his wife has surgery scheduled for tomorrow, so he can't be here. eric is doing fundraising, he can't be here. but he'll have -- we'll have some cool people from both organizations. when i go around the country in some cases jake is not only a former navy seal, and probably the only navy seal who ever worked for mother at the race -- mother teresa. >> navy seal. >> rhodes scholar. and he and -- because of the fact -- [inaudible] -- designing those events with service projects. >> nice.
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>> [inaudible] >> a lot take place in the middle east. [inaudible] >> terminal two is where all the -- [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible]
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[inaudible] >> you're absolutely right. the same thing in vietnam. come back -- [inaudible] >> the theory was that -- they were doing the insurgency, and i said to myself, they're going to come back with a -- i called petraeus, and he said i hadn't thought of that. he said, think you're probably right. so he and -- went to work and found the people.
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>> really. >> the fact is, acknowledged in the same paragraph and not in the same sentence. [inaudible] >> making a movie about you? >> now, here's the guy you got to meet. [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible]
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[inaudible] >> the main thing was when i gave him -- [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] >> i hadn't been out in an area that was 90% taliban controlled. >> i do that now. >> how are you. >> how do you like it? >> i like it a lot. >> that's great. >> we have to get together and talk about it. these guys, these guys you should really be getting to spend more time with because
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they've had trouble with usaid in the past. trying to coordinate with them. they're so good at doing disaster relief. they're brilliant. and i was there today. [inaudible] [inaudible] >> -- a veteran who has been setting up combat surgeries throughout the third world to help people out, civilians out, in conflict situations. he also runs emergency services in the city of -- in north carolina. in my presence he once
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tourniqueted jon stewart. he invented a new kind of tourniquet. [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible]
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[inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] >> i got to say, the greatest experience of my life, and writing this book. [inaudible] >> a lot of folks don't realize, great soldiers and marines and -- most -- we create veterans. we have 120,000 soldiers. win you downsize, they want the
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american dream. we offer g.i. benefits so you're not going to get -- 90% of them according to the poll want to continue to serve in the army. >> that's right. >> that's what we are -- [inaudible] -- i can't remember the name of the captain. but i had studied at leavenworth with petraeus and i was watching them -- [inaudible] -- and i -- this kid is under fire, and he could go run for governor of iowa. so, i called petraeus and i said, you know, this
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counterinsurgency training is preparing these kid for public service, and he said, i hadn't thought about that. and so he started helping them find -- [inaudible] -- . >> i know. [inaudible] >> hi there, folks. good evening. i just wanted to warmly welcome many fojs, friends of joe, and also i feel really fortunate to call many, many of you long-time friends, from government in washington and now as a new chapter has begun. it's so good to see all of you, and welcome to -- i'm extremely grateful to him for having
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hosted this. i'll say more about that in a moment. you know, as joe and i have been talking in recent weeks about doing this here in washington, it occurred to me that in every ear use in american history there has been a tremendous infusion of character and strength into the citizenry of the united states, and they are -- these men and women, tempered by war, as we all know well, from multiple deployments, have made extraordinary contributions to what and who we are as a country and as a people. and most recently, in the last 14 years, in iraq and afghanistan, and also other places, they have fought to keep us secure, and as we have so often found, and as joe has written about so eloquently in "charlie mike," once they
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returned home they've on -- more often than not return to their communes and try to answer the questions, how can i continue to serve here and now that i transitioned and out of uniform? people like eric greitens. jake wood. many who are here tonight who have served. we tried to essentially charlie mike or continue the mission in your own way, and i think this is ultimately why we're all here tonight, for joe, for the content of the book. it's essentially to recognize an outstanding generation of returning veterans, to hear the inspiring stories of these men and women and how they're making choices to continue to serve, and i also think how -- reflect upon or consider how we essentially hear that call to service, how we engage in, as joe would say, active citizenship, here in our own lives. one of the things i wanted to do
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right now, a word about franco before we proceed with joe and the panel and several of our corporate sponsors who i will ask to come up and say a few words. franco is someone we know, and a host, sophisticated, intelligence, entrepreneur, tip polite, philanthropist so many meaningful things the does and the legendary cafe. one thing that is so interested about franco that people don't often know is how dedicated and committed he has been to our service members, and to our troops as they return home, and in fact, he has done this under the radar, and obviously not in any sort of public way, but he spent during the height of both wars a lot of time at walter reed on weekends, talking to wounded warriors and their family, again, off the radar. that's where you know it's the
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real deal. i can't think of a better partner in crime, as i like to call us. i can't think of anyone for whom i have mow respect for, and bringing together this awesome group of people tonight. so i want to say, franco, thank you very much. i want to invite you to come and offer a few words, and i'm really, really, really appreciate your commitment and how you have made that manifest again here tonight. so, franco, if you want to say a few words, please. [applause] >> by now you already know my name. welcome to my home. of course i will give a welcome to all of you. it is my privilege and honor to
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host for joe klein. a journalist and an award-winning author. first of all, let me thank the sponsors for their generous support. i like to express my deepest and most sincere gratitude to the honorable james -- david goingen, general gene jones. julian glover, and congressman seth walton, and the last but not least, wendy anderson. the soul of these events. and for most of you don't know, she traveled to italy last week. to rome. and spend a lot of hours.
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that's the reason you got this. [applause] >> she is really incredible, and extraordinary, her passion brings us together, so, very special thank you to you, wendy. and now, let me express my gratitude to joe klein for his book, and to him very proud to host you, joe. there is no greater responsibility as an american than to acknowledge the men and women who have given everything to serve and protect us, to guarantee our freedom and security. joe klein's "charlie mike" is a real tribute to our veterans. a moving and detail of life and death.
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page after page, the stories of eric, and jake, fills our heart with hope. for the first time we see emerging from the battlefield, a story of lives saved. not devastated. this book is a positive spur for all of us, and so are these two combat veterans who are continuing their mission by helping others. so, thank you, joe, for this powerful and magnificent book. thank you. [applause] >> all right. about to throw you over to joe
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and a great group of folks, veterans, who are going to speak with him. i just wanted to say, it's really clear to me that joe is inspired to write money charlie mike "because of the time he spent imbed with our folks and observed soldierses and marines not just fighting but building things, governments, helping revitalize communities, and helping people, and i think he recognized very clearly through the content of the book that this generation of veterans was going to have a very strong inclination and natural desire to continue to serve and lead back here at home. from the start, he has clearly recognize this is the folks who are -- their assets and potential leaders, they're seasoned leaders, they're people who are living lives of consequence, and that they have something as a group and as
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individuals, something very profound to teach all of us about the way that we participate in our democracy and act as citizens in the 21st 21st century. that's really what the message is, i think what i take the message to be eye "charlie mike" and the reason we're gathered here today. so i'll introduce joe klein. thank you. [applause] >> well, i'm kind of blown away. thank you so much, wendy. thank you franco, thank you to the sponsors. i want to thank all my battle buddies from the wars of new hampshire and iowa and afghanistan and iraq who are here tonight. i see mike boettcher, who i was with afghan in and i know there are people out there who i have spent many, too many nights in
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iowa and new hampshire with. and i also of course want to thank the veterans here. thank you for your service has become kind of a cliche. too often it's thank you for your service, but i'm not sure i'm going to hire you because you are screwed up, aren't you? and so i will thank you for your service, but i want to add four very important words. these four words were first utter bed i eric greitens as after he goss ebola up and asked the wounded there, what do you want to do next? i had the same experience in military hospitals. the always say the same thing. i want to go back to my unit. and then you ask them, if you can't, or when you get out of
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the service, what do you want to do? they'd say i want to go back and maybe coach little league team, or teach, or become a cop, or a fireman. and in fact, the polls show that this extraordinary generation, 90% of them want to continue on -- want to charlie mike, continue their service when they come home, and so eric, and in a moment of brilliance, -- which is not unusual for him -- found himself saying to these kids, who said they wanted to continue to serve, the following four words, which i say to the veterans here now: we still need you. we really do need you in this country. because of your values, your discipline, your sense of community, your sense of purpose. now, you may wonder how an old political reporter like me got
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involved in this. and so i'll tell you a quick story and then invite the panel up here. wendy is right issue wouldn't be here tonight if i hadn't been there, but i wouldn't have gone there if i didn't live in a town just north of new york city where nine of my neighbors didn't come home on the night of september 11th. i thought i had retired from journalism. turned out i retired for eight months and 11 days, and had to get back in. for me, journalism has always been an education, and i had to learn the military and had to learn intelligence and had to learn islam, i knew the region some but lad to learn that better. during the course of this i opposed the war in iraq but i thought once we were there, we had a moral responsibility to at least calm things down and let the iraqis set their own stage.
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and things were going bad and i wrote a column about counterinsurgency strategy. military folks here know all about it. maybe some of the civilians. the basic principle was that instead of playing walk amole -- whack-a-mole and trying to find the bad guys, we'd protect the good guys, protect the public. so i wrote this column, and the next day i got a call from a guy named david petraeus. who had been cast into the outer darkness by donald rumsfeld. one of the worst public servants we have ever had. sent him out to forth leavenworth, the army's think tank, and there petraeus was concocting the counterinsurgency doctrine, and he said, look, you're on the right track but you don't know anything. he said, you want to learn? and i said, yeah. he said, well, i'll send you a reading list.
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immediately in my -- 30 articles about counter-incentury general -- count insurgency from scholarly national alls and he asked me if i wanted to study with them, and i said sure. i went out there the ground rule was it was all off the record but could i ask anything i wanted. i began to learn there about the spirit of the military. for example, i might ask the question, and one of his brilliant circle of advisers, all of whom seemed to rhodes scholars, one of them would signed, klein, dip didn't you read the article about warfare? at one point one of them looked at me and said, clip klein,
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you're too lacy to -- lazy to even tie your shoes right, and the only response to that and their intelligence in and a government i didn't think was paying enough attention to them, was to fall totally in love. and so i kept in touch, and six months later david petraeus was sent to iraq to try and patch things up. and i said, when do you want me to come? much to my wife's dismay. and he said,'ll let you know. and i first went in june of 2007 to iraq. i imbed thread and went on patrol that, and i got caught up in it, and as wendy said -- most of my imbedding in afghanistan and most of my imbedding in afghanistan in one town, just west of kandahar, crucial choke
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point and taliban central. two towns over from omar's home town. and i first imbedded with a captain named jeremiah ellis, in charge of 13 other troops, and was essentially the mayor of the town, and his job was not only to protect them, but also he had public works money, funds, and so for the first time in human history, the afghan residents were asked, what would you like us to build? what would you likes to do with this money? and the overwhelming response was, they wanted us to re-open the schools the canadians built and that the taliban closed and booby trapped. and the overwhelming response of the council and the local warlord was they wanted us to
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build an irrigation ditch out to lands west of town, where we later found out through intelligence the warlord made a deal with the taliban to grow poppies. the school is open. the irrigation ditch was not built. it was a day, a very specific day, when we were about to launch the operation, to take the school, and i was with captain ellis, and he was trying to convince the local landowner, who owned a two-story building in town, to allow some of our troops to take an oversight position to make sure the taliban didn't come in the night before and set an ambush. and this guy was based in detroit. he wanted the school re-opened. but he also feared that if it got to be known he had american
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troops and was harboring american troops, the taliban would kill hem. they were hanging people from trees in that region. and i was watching jeremiah ellis, sitting cross-legged, helmet off. rifle over -- leaning against the wall. smiling but not too much. body language, absolutely perfect. and convincing this guy to do it. i said to myself, my god, he can go back to iowa and run for governor. and so when i got home i called general petraeus and i said, i've had this -- i think this counterinsurgency training the army and marines get is preparing this generation for public service. as well as for entrepreneurism. he said i never thought about that, and he became obsessed with is in and he and others on his staff and members of the veterans groups, like iada,
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started introducing know people, and along the way, i met eric greitens, who, rhodes scholar, became an agency -- the only agency who ever worked for mother at teresa. decided to join the seals after he had been to the refugee camp in africa and seen all these kids with limbs chopped off, and he said to himself, the innocent of the world, in need protectio. he was blown up in iraq and i told you about the story what happen when he came home. and he had another event which is -- what i'm going to do is try to enable these people to serve, and so the mission continues was born, and it gives six-month public service fellowship -- you'll hear more about it from eric's successor and ceo, whatever they call you,
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spencer. and one of the first recipients of one of this fellowships is a guy named jake wood, who played left tack for the university of wisconsin and wanted to serve when he got out, but the marines wouldn't take him because of his football injuries. and the army wouldn't take him as an officer because of his football injuries. he had six operations on one foot. and finally he found a recruiter who needed to meet a quota at the end of the month, and he became a grunt, in the marines, and rose to sergeant. when he got out after tours in iraq and afghanistan as a scout sniper, he was watching the haiti earthquake on tv. and he said, we could do something about that. he was fill ought mba applications.
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anyway, he called his friends, four or whom joined him, and they found three doctors, and one of his friends, william mcnulty, contacted the jesuits, who needed people to run medical supplies into haiti, and the company was born, and four days, four days, after the first phone call, he was running an emergency room in the largest hospital in port-au-prince. they got there first, they got the fast, and they got there efficient, and as jake said, i'm a marine. i deployed with him since -- in various places, especially in oklahoma, after the tornadoes, and when you see these people in the field, with their forward operating base always in a parking lot of home depot, home depot should get a shoutout here -- and you see them
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organized, and you see the other groups can mostly church groups, who come to do good works, look to team rubicon for how to deploy, how do -- how to do what they're going to. do it's really is one of the most gratifying things, most wonderful things to see. and so in the course of writing this book and telling jake and eric's story, which includes terrible tragedy, i came to realize a couple of things about the military and about what we civilians can learn from them. most important is that this is a generation of volunteers. and they have served, and they have served in a cause larger than themselves.
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and they have created a community, a caring, purposeful community, and they understand the spiritual importance of helping others. they've come to understand -- and this is really extra benefit -- the act of helping others is a great way to treat post-traumatic stress. first studies just come ought now, mentioned them in book, we'll get more literature over time but it will be shown this actually works. i've seen it work. there's stories in the book of people whose lives -- had guns to their heads and lives were saved by these two organizations. and the other thing i learn -- another thing i learn was that's
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post traumatic stress isn't about what they did over there but the act of coming home and losing the sense of community they have. no longer being part of a community. i have a great character named natasha young, from d and was a gun gunny sergeant and ordinance disposal unit, hurt locker, and came home with raging case of post traumatic stress, and her line was, i deploy myself to camp couch, where i was the commanding officer of camp couch, and my mission was to remain on camp cows. her life was saved by the mission continue, just got her latest report card from college, all as. so this become reminded me of the importance of community. and it reminded me of the importance of service.
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and it made me ever more conscious, something i've been concerned about for years, which is that you kind of lost all of this affluence that we have experienced in this country, kind of lost the sense of spirit, the spirit of community. you hear politicians talk about rights all the time-but you never hear them talk about responsibilities. the folk is know in the military always -- now that they're home -- were always aware of their responsibilities. we have been trying to do in a weird experiment, in political history, -- with been trying to do democracy without citizenship, and i truly believe that these people, who i've spent the last four years with, are going to show us the way
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back to citizenship, and they are my major cause for optimism in the world, and the other thing want to say is that general mcconville is going to come up in a minute from the 101st airborne, and i imbedded with those goes. they protect mid sorry old 65-year-old -- when we were out on patrol, and imbedding with them and watching these two organizations evolve, and save lives and help people in our communities, has been the greatest privilege of my career. and so now i'd like to call the members of the panel up and let's talk about it a little bit. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> if you could introduce yourself. >> him in jeanine davidson. >> -- i'm really thrilled to be here and i want to congratulate you for an amazingly heartfelt
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presentation. i think it's really amazing to hear the -- >> too much. too much. >> okay. >> i'm the president or ceo of the -- whenever they're calling me -- and most notably, good friend of joe who we hold in very high regard in "mission continues." kent harbaugh, hoping to pass myself off at jake wood tonight. coo of team rubicon. i was with eric at the founding of "mission continues." >> i'm seth mullden, marine veteran and got to know joe through his work. >> and i'm jim mcconville, the chief of personnel for the army but i have had the privilege of
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serving with the 1 other 1st 1st airborne tryings, extraordinary young men and women. >> general mcconville comes from -- should be a lesson to all who think that the military only comes from the south. there are a lot of new englanders. general, let me start with you. >> people talk about the greatest generation, and i come from a division that has an incredibly proud hoyt. you've seen band of brother, the hbo series about these men, but the men and women we see today are absolutely extraordinary because they all signed up to serve. ...
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>> that's as exciting as it gets, you know, we wish our kids would go to school in the environment that they go in. it's been a privilege to serve with these gentlemen. >> one thing i've noticed is that the disproportionate number of our officer corps were either classic majors or studied ethics
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>> just physics. >> but you did -- he's the occasion, he was one of the speakers of the harvard class of 2001. this was before 9/11 and used the occasion to announce he was going to the marines, how have you made the decision? >> if anybody is thinking to go to college, majoring in physics is a great position. [laughter] >> you know, i grew up in a nice town, not with a family with on the of money, i'm still paying car loans, but i went to good public schools and went to a
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great high school. got to go to harvard for college and when i was at harvard i realized i had done nothing to give back. i had not served in anyway. i was influenced by some mentors he talked about the importance of service and it's not enough to support those who serve, you ought to find a way yourself to serve. so i looked at different options. it's not a sure thing that i was going to military. i looked at peace corps. i decided that that's where i wanted to do my part. now, my mother was thrilled by this decision. when interviewed about her son in iraq, i would have been disappointed and sad if he had
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chosen a life of crime. [laughter] >> parental support that i made this decision and i also made it. i graduated in 2001 so i didn't know i would be in combat at the time. i thought i was joining a peacetime military. when i started training, i thought i had missed the war in afghanistan. ended up in the first marines in iran. it was the respect that i had that led me to serve. >> ken, you told me the story about how -- when you told one of your professors that you were going into the military he reacted how and then i would like oh you to tell me why you went into the military and why
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when you came out the notion of continuing your service was so important. >> so eric and i were part of the same program at duke's and it was a way to bring in kids that needed a little extra support and gave us the full ride to get through and they had high expectations of us. this was pre9/11. in those dais high expectation meant by joining the military. when i told the professor who monitored the scholar that i was going to join the navy, the first scholar to join the navy and brought me to his office and desperately tried to talk me out of it. i did it anyway.
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i grew up in a military family, my brother was f-15 pilot and i didn't choose that path when i went to college. i grew a beer and hitchhiked in new zealand. i had done nothing to enjoy the privileges i was taking advantage of and i came back from that semester hinge -- hitchhiking and signed up. i refer to that program because to me service meant military service, but then i married a school teacher who served on the front lines of the dropout academy of connecticut. i was going to law school and realized, you know, there are many ways to serve. the military for me was my my
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conduit. we have got to find a way of notion of citizenship into the democracy. i think military veterans would be the vanguard of that. but it was also about reaanymorating -- reanimating. i think that is hopefully starting to gain momentum. a lot of people look to the work that we are doing and repurpose skills and saying, you know, what, there's a lot of what we can do in the communities.
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>> in fact, after hurricane sandy, team organized 3,000 civilians to clean up. an amazing piece of work. they have been honored by the president. eric couldn't be here tonight because he's doing his own charlie mike. he's running for governor of missouri and he had to raise some money. this would have been a good fundraiser but -- and also jake wood was going to be here tonight, but he had a medical emergency and couldn't come. spencer, you have taken over from eric, tell me about how mission continues, has expanded
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and gone to new areas since the scholarship program? >> i'll paint the picture of where we are now versus where we were when eric had the initial idea, the initial idea that was born in the hallways of and turned into the aspiration that natasha young felt when she was sitting in camp couch. where we are now, with the mission looks like men and women veterans active just down the street but also men and women veterans active in the promise zone in los angeles. but it looks like now men and women who are active in the charter network, what it looks
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now is men and women veterans who are in phoenix, countering youth violence in the south side of chicago. it has evolved that that initial idea that was born of seeing veterans coming home, missing something, i think something other than eyesight. it's that connection to a mission, a connection of service, a connection of social connection to others in the spirit of comodery and there's no lack of mission unfortunately sadly there's no lack of mission out there in the community, and just like ken said, we have a tremendous opportunity now to ask to challenge our veterans, the men and women who are
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returning daily to our communities to be that vanguard who are, you know, their work of service in the military and who are saying, actually the positives that i'm making in this democracy are not done. i'm not taking withdrawals yet. my generation is not from withdrawing from and i didn't leave it in iraq, korea, wherever i served, it's my community and that's where i'm going to make the deposits. it's a photo that we put at all of our gatherings. kind of a one-single photo that
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represents what we are trying to do. a photo, black and white photo of space fingerprints on the moon. i don't think there's a photo that represents the culmination of a mission and a vision than that single photo. that photo that signifies that an entire country said we are going to do something and we are going to do something and that photo suggests that they did it. and the reason why we use that photo is not only to convey what our own goal is if the mission continues, but also to suggest that every single man and women, veterans sitting in the office looking at that photo can choose and determine what enprint they want to leave on the board.
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they can leave an enprint to americans who are soon to be be making a decision how they are going to serve and whether they're going to serve in their country. it should be in some way serving this country in the community and low-income schools, community centers, joining the military. so it's our great privilege to be thanking folks on that vanguard, member and women who serve and hopefully have many chapters to come. >> how do you come and continuing your mission? >> how did i come to be find, i joined the air force because
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they gave me a scholarship. i think you may agree with me but for those of us who have served in the military there was never really a question. i was always -- i was a military brat. my father was in the navy. i knew it was going to be serving something, something to give back, and so, you know, i joined the military in the 1980's, i'm a little bit older and served in the 90's and it always astounds me today, thank you for your service, you're a veteran, that's so amazing. that didn't use to happen. i think that there's sort of a title that's enabling you to do some of the things that you are
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doing. and i think so for me and i think for so many of the veterans that you're touching and talking about, it was never a question that you were going to serve. the skills that you learned in the military have enabled us to move onto other things. i teach from a professor, i'm also serving in government and pentagon and i can't imagine not being part of our democracy at that level, and so i think that -- i think that we have a huge opportunity with the next generation to continue to model that behavior. and the last thing i'll say, is we have so many negative images of veterans coming home. the statistics bear that out. we haven't really talked about. this is not who the generation is. they are -- they are community
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organizers, they are skills, they are ready to get the job done and they're out there doing it everywhere and i think that that's the message that i know that your book is going to convey and that's why i'm really happy to be here tonight and help you. >> you could see that i had a really tough job in interviewing these people. [laughter] >> it was just like pulling teeth. actually i am really incredibly honored and touched by how much so many of them, you guys, opened their hearts to me and told me their deepest hopes and fears, and i'm thinking that there are great resource and you're a great audience and maybe you have some questions for them. i wonder if any of you want to
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ask any of these folks a question. you do? stand. who is going to be the first? there's nobody. okay. then i'll ask another question. zeth, what's it like to be in congress to be a veteran, so many people in congress aren't vet -- veterans? how does that work and how are you guys different? >> well, first of all, it's an interesting time to be in congress. from the outside it looks like things are in full chaos in the house of representatives. let me tell you the inside perspective of what is really
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going on. it's total chaos. [laughter] >> so it's fascinating but there is a commonality. we face an unprecedented number of challenges. i find that no one cares about the opinion of a freshmen democrat, conflict in the middle east, much more senior members in congress do look to me for my thoughts and advice and i have found that as a democrat you really have to make it an effort to reach out across the aisle to get to republicans and fellow veterans are receptive, i took a veteran out to dinner, he's
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quite conservative frankly. representative from oklahoma. look, where we can find common ground, we did not talk about abortion, a lot of issues that we didn't even discus. it turned out that we agreed with what to do with isis in iraq and in particular some disagreements that we had with the administration. so we wrote a joint and to me it was much more powerful to write that piece with a coauthor from a different place, representing a very different constituency of americans. if i had written with another democrat from massachusetts, half of america would dismiss it without reading it. there's potential to get done in congress. there's a lot that veterans can do to come together. [applause] >> let me just ask you one more question and then we will let
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you get back to eating and drinking and i will get back to drinking. [laughter] but i want to ask everybody here how this generation is different from vietnam veterans, from previous generations? we know that their skills are different. and then i want both ken and spencer to talk about how their organizations have reached out to vietnam veterans, to me this is one of the most moving things that's going on, vietnam veterans are fighting their community through this community. they're fighting their place as part of this community as well. let's just go across the board and then go get drunk. [laughter] >> yeah, when i think of vietnam
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veterans, very proud history, i think they're all of the same. i think that we are very fortunate today as military, 34 years that we can't walk to an airport, go into a restaurant or shopping mall without people coming up and truly passionate about thanking us for the service. and so if you see visit -- vietnam vets thank them for their service. i asked a vietnam veterans to stand up, i said to you, we get thank td all of the time. i want to thank you for your service because you never got that, and these were groan men that had tiers in their eyes. if you get a chance to do that, they served just as served their country, a different time, they don't make policy to execute it and they did the right thing. i have tremendous respect for a vietnam veteran.
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[applause] >> can i just say -- if you can keep remarks general it would be good. >> it is a great honor to serve the country today but it is also wonderful if when you get to see so much support from community and fellow veterans, and i have such incredibly respect for vietnam veterans who served the country in a much more difficult time when they went through horrendous experience overseas. it is meant a lot to me as a veteran of today to get the know vietnam veterans. i think there are some differences and they're really
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practical. >> it's all volunteer, an invitation to take care of each other, more intimate and personal level and some differences are structural and some veteran organizations today aren't based and we don't compete the same way the old veteran services did for might bees so spencer and the mission continues and team rubicon and organizations like team read, white and blue are cooperative and we are together and moving in the same direction. there's a critical way in which the vietnam vets are exactly the same is -- you see it around the campfire after a team rubicon mission, when they began to open up.
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we don't have a filter that says post9/11 vets. >> a woman veteran at vietnam in oklahoma. >> right. >> did the tornadoes. >> they say this is 30 years overdue, this is 40 years overdue. [laughter] >> i think you're entitled. i think that is a powerful moment not just for vietnam vet holding his or her place around the campfire, it is an equally powerful moment for the post 9/11 vet realizing that they're not the first one to be with this. there are people who have tried to pave the way. we have an opportunity here, a historic opportunity, the fact that it's a smaller group, the fact that we were welcomed home
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in a way that was fundamentally different from the way my dad was welcomed home. we have a way to change the narrative for the next 100 years of what it means to be a returning vet. >> thanks. i will focus on one similarity. the need for community upon return. and sadly i think that because of the dynamic in the country with the vietnam generation, many were forced to find that community behind the four walls of a building with smoke coming out from the -- from the windows, and with the large number of the community wondering what was going on inside. what i think this generation is a version of communities that's on full display for the community. and, in fact, involves the community and requires integration of the community and part of them coming home. there are no four walls to this. it happens, you know, at the
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team rubicon, i'm outside of chicago. you have the opportunity to make community the voice where it all happens. >> sure, i'll just say the obvious difference is generation of volunteers and the draftees that we had. the main difference is the american people. when i i was a navy brat, my father was in washington, d.c. and they did not wear their uniforms around town for a reason, because it was dangerous to do so. in this country, in this city, right, today it's the complete opposite. thank you for your service, whatever. it's a completely different world. i think that i'm grateful for that and we need to embrace the previous generation. >> i would like to thank all of
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you for coming out and specially, again, sponsors and, you know, when people asked me why we have veterans day, immediately assume that we are going to write a sob story about veterans, veterans cases, but the message of this book is the exact opposite. the message of this book is optism about future and importance of service in a democracy and it's something that -- a message that i hope gets out there and i hope that each of you at some point can experience what i've experienced going out cleaning up a school in houston or helping out in tornadoes in oklahoma because
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it's -- it really makes your heart sink. thanks so much for coming. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> you know, i have a picture of us on our wall. >> do you? [inaudible conversations] >> great conversations.
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>> wow. >> you know, i didn't know that. i didn't realize. [inaudible conversations] >> you're doing a great job. >> yes. >> i kept it out, for two years i kept your article out of my -- >> right. >> because i wanted people to see it. all those folks. i'm a little bit older. >> i didn't know that. >> don't worry. >> who were you with? >> i ran human operations. 2003.
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september 11, 2003. my dad is a vietnam veteran. >> i'm happy to do that. >> i appreciate it. >> could you sign to jeff -- >> yeah, thank you. >> i loved tonight. i loved the discussion. i thought it was great. >> thank you. >> my niece's boyfriend came back and he's not doing so well. he's in jail. >> well -- >> self-medicating. >> yeah, well we can -- put him be this organization. >> that's why i want to check it out. >> okay. great. absolutely. [inaudible conversations]


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