tv Veterans Day Ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial CSPAN November 11, 2017 9:01pm-10:01pm EST
national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [cap >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. i'm jim knotts, the president and c.e.o. of the vietnam veterans memorial fund and i'll be our master of ceremonies for today. it is my pleasure to be the to welcome you to the ceremony atans day the wall. before we begin, i would like to recognize all of the gold star have with uss we here today. wives,hers, fathers, siblings, spouses, nieces, andews, and the sons daughters. all those who have experienced
knowoss of a loved one and all too well the sacrifices that our military families make. and finally, to those still theirg for the return of loved ones, who are listed as missing. thank you for joining us. [applause] i'd also like to take a moment the wall volunteers. they're the folks you see in the jackets. and the staff of the vietnam for all memorial fund they do year around to honor veterans and preserve the memorial. they truly put everything they have into making the experience every visitor to the wall as meaningful as it can be. [applause] >> and my last thank you today 35th anniversary
sponsors.ion foundation.free the credit union. foundation. usaa and wells fargo. for making today's ceremony possible. [applause] >> before we get our program -- begin our program today, we'll our p.o.w.'sgnize and m.i.a.'s. i call your attention to our and m.i.a. chair. let us always remember and never forget their sacrifices. and now i'd like to start our program today with an
invocation. whose welcome our chaplain, will lead us in the invocation. >> can you please join me in prayer. father, as we celebrate the 35th anniversary of this wall, let us always remember served and those that are here today and those not here today. we commemorate those names that the wall and lord, we pray for those that are here scarsthat still carry the from service in vietnam. we ask this in your precious al almighty name. amen. >> and now i would like to joint armed forces color guard for our presentation colors. color guard, please present the colors. if you would stand, please.
>> to sing the national anthem, please welcome master sergeant, president's own united states marine band. >> oh say can you see by the dawn's early light ♪ ♪ ♪ oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light ♪ ♪ what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming ♪ ♪ whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
[applause] >> please remain standing while army lieutenant general charles the pledge of allegiance and remain standing as the color guard retires the colors. >> thank you. petty.ame is chuck i'm the judge advocate general of the army. actinglf of our secretary, our chief of staff of the army, and if i may add, my father and father-in-law, wo are both -- who are both vietnam veterans. i thank you for being here and for the privilege of leading you allegiance.e of pleadplease place your hand over heart and join me. allegiance]
>> please be seated. the vietnam veterans memorial fund hosts this ceremony each year, in partnership with the national park service. at this time, i'd like to welcome the secretary of the interior, as our partner in today's ceremony. formerry ryan zinke is a navy seal. as a veteran, he certainly understands the importance of remembering the sacrifices of our nationerve through military service. and we're extremely pleased to a few daysin us for ago, to read names listed on the wall. welcome, secretary zinke. [applause] veterans day. all of us have a different about vietnam.
my experience was growing up in called whitefish, montana. a paradeerans day, would go by. chevroletther owned a dealership. he used to bring me to the curb, get me a flag. the veterans marching by. the time the veterans would by, the year in the war they fought. boys.mber the dough they had their weapons shouldered. marched. brilliantly. war iid by the world veterans. at the time, there was a lot of world war ii veterans. you recall the world war ii growing up, they were always the ones, the civic leaders that were in charge of club, kiwani's club. they were the icons and pillars of our community.
and then the korean war. a marine.her was korean war. the and they marched. i remember, as a child, looking at the vietnam veterans. up front, you always marched a differently. different war. is aonument behind us different monument than all the greatmonuments in this mall. if you compare the monument to monument, theii that monument compared to the monument behind us that lies low on the horizon.
the i was a congressman, on 50th anniversary of the war, one of my greatest honors was to give pins to the veterans that served in the vietnam war. and the experience of the vietnam war was different than mine. the war in vietnam came to me. i remember watching it with cronkite every night, with my parents with me, watching the war. when you came home, it was a different experience than what i experienced. servedr of veterans that in that war always talk about eitherinto san francisco, taking off the trashms, throwing them in cans. experiencefferent
than what i experienced. when i came home, it was thanks, support your troops, bands. the reason why i myeived what i did, in generation, is because you did not. a nation, we should be ashamed. ashamed at how we viewed your service. your dedication. i think,ent behind me, is not a tribute to victory or defeat. it's a tribute to remembrance. we should never run away from the history of our country. we should learn.
falluja, i can tell you i sleep better at night knowing general mattis has the military. [applause] >> and i gotta tell you, you know god loves us because general kelly is in the white house. [laughter] when i was in falluja, i was in the front lines. was a deputy commander, special forces in iraq. we were looking at what was in falluja. and general conway, who later became the commandeer, and general mattis, i show him on front lines what we were doing, what we were going, where thesafe houses were, where snipers with. and kind of laying out our battle. went on, thisof young sergeant next to me -- and mind i'm the commander -- this young sergeant collar and nearly
throws me down. i get up, shake myself off and i'm a little red in the face. i go right up to him, and he shooting athey're you. [laughter] >> and for you marines, thank you. [laughter] >> lastly, i just want to express how grateful i am to be and how grateful our nation is for your magnificent vietnam veterans. membersthose family they, who share in understanding that we are a better nation for your service. that, god bless. [applause] the secretary
zinke. and now please welcome diane a vietnamans, veteran, nurse, and founder of the vietnam women's memorial foundation. [applause] >> thank you. we are grateful to be here for anniversary, because it means we're all survivors. we're here. we're together. and exactly -- in exactly one year from today, we'll celebrate 25ther anniversary, the anniversary of the dedication of memorial.m women's which stands behind you, glenna goodacre. the women who this memorial honors is with us here anay to share her story as army nurse in vietnam. we are very proud of kate o'hare-palmer. commissioned as a second lieutenant in the army nurse 1967, from seal beach,
california, at the ripe old age of 21. served as an operating room nurse, an emergency room nurse ripe old age of 21. at the second surgical hospital, the 312th evacuation hospital. 1968 and 1969. us, came home, like most of just wanting to get on with her life. and continue with her nursing career. there were bumps in the road. however, her commitment to her fellow veterans has always been there. kate's career in nursing has spanned 30 years. story can be found in the woman."ficer nurse upon returning home, she bs degree in nutrition at uc berkeley. the vietnam veterans of america national
women veterans chair for the five years. she has worked with legislators and community members at the level,nd national fighting for veterans' rights and benefits. in her fightve up to care for veterans. sit on thees to medical center women's health committee and works with various education committees at the high levels to college enhance the knowledge of women veterans. give kate o'hare a warm welcome. [applause] you, diane, for that wonderful introduction. it's amazing to me i've been for years, sitting out there with you all, and now to tell my story.
and i wanted to say that this is special anniversary, the 35th. thes here for the 25th, for parade. this is amazing. last month, i opened up a fortune cookie. and it said you will be aaveling and coming into fortune. well, i traveled from california to here, and here's my fortune, sisters.rs and welcome home! [applause] >> i want to share just a short bit about my time as an army nurse in vietnam. my transition home, and the veterans,eds of women who have served in the military. my military service truly began in my home, because both my parents were in the army air corps during world war ii. my mother scrambled eggs in the usning and was teaching morse code. dit, dit, dot, dot, dot.
sos a fewve used that times in vietnam. my older brother was an 1965 andy veteran in '66. i saw his pictures come home. hospital there, and i wanted to help. i was a nursing student. it was that simple. upon graduation, i raised my myht hand with three of friends, and we took the oath to support and defend the of the united states against all enemies. this.eved i am a constitutionalist. permeating all our lives. and i didn't know how much then my mind, and my soul would be tested. went to vietnam in june of '68, the day after robert assassinated. hitting theours of
area, i was in the hospital in.ating room, scrubbed after three weeks, i began to wonder how i was going to make it. working between the emergency and operating rooms, i saw and carnage that no one could be prepared for. at a 5,000 i trained bed l.a. county general hospital. i was grateful for the training that i received in the army before i went over. with my firste tracheostomy to save a life. all the medics, nurses and doctors that i was hard towork with was beat. and it will be forever remembered. a team. the first marine divisions in '68. were either dating, engaged or married to men who in theso serving military.
so not only were we caring for in our hospital, we were worrying, would we see our guy ?ome in the evacuation hospital reserve us, and we were sent down, and we changed our support big red one. i know there's a lot of you here. of '69, the long range reconnaissance patrol brought to our hospital american who had been held as p.o.w.'s in cambodia. they were severely mutilated. some of their genitals cut off they were barely alive. one of them asked me to let him die. he didn't want to go home like that. him.t hugged my duties were never ending. continued to work, but
my compassion was being drained. my soul was tearing. one that is in a war ever to continue. the robot kate took over those months in country. it was too much. home to the air force base and the oakland depot, we had protesters throw rotten eventualables on us. were -- vegetables on us. we were not prepared for that. in theuffered somewhat early 70's by being in georgia with my husband and i worked at thecal hospital, while south vietnamese soldiers were being trained to fly helicopters back in vietnam. getting ready to go over. meever, the war followed home. an unexpected thing happened to me. having dreams, bad
dreams. blood dreams. covered in blood, because i was an operating room nurse. started intruding into my daytime life and i called them my daymares. after being in vietnam and being so week and felt scared, and i didn't know what to do. my marriage, because i didn't want to tell my strong, after being so that i was so scared and weak. relegatedemories were to a subconscious. and i returned to san francisco college.hed one night, while i was working at the v.a. san francisco, a patient came out of his room and up to me, and said, you were my masked angel. i recognize your blue eyes and your voice. will never forget when you said to me, you're safe now. you will go home.
it was stunning to me to meet somebody that was alive! we cry for all these names. men andor all these women that died. but to meet somebody that made the beginning of our healing. 1993 of theon in women's memorial was an ecstatic day for us. were back together and acknowledged. the effort, energy and support project completed were herculean. and on that veterans day dedication, we were greeted by our brothers. many had their military records were looking for their nurses, clerks, women they worked with in intelligence or aircraft maintenance. they were looking for the whoican red cross workers had flown into their l.z. that thank yous and hugs we got and continue to get every time we come here are so warm
and so amazing to us. message in circle of healing was truly begun. the spiritual component of our was weaving through us, and it was only the beginning of us.ng road home for many of i'm grateful to the vet center, because they really helped me. they gave us back our pride and weor in our service, when were feeling less than whole. era, 2% ofvietnam the military were women, because there was a cap on how many women could serve. now there's almost 15% women that serve. over 250,000 served during the vietnam era. but it's much more than that now. what i wanted to mention, arease there's still many that need advancement, and we continue to help with that. women experience toxic exposure cancer and ptsd, like
our fellow soldiers. of america veterans and other major veterans service organizations have worked get thaty to help toxic exposure and research act passed, last year. but that's only the beginning. you need to keep on, everyone, so that we get the benefits and the care that we deserve after toxic exposure. it's for our children and our grandchildren now.
so and homeless rates for women now are really on the rise and we need to look at that and help. care is aexual trauma sore point. we had a bill passed that was supposed to help take care of that. it is not enough. we need to say no more, ever again. forever g.i. bill that just passed will be greatly used by our veterans that have delayed entry back to school for either family, mental health, or medical reasons. the majority of us veterans, all of us, we have gone home, served in our communities, been in places of leadership, and we've
continued to work with ourselves and others. we need to stand, work and live together always because we are special. we are. thank you, i am proud to be a veteran and welcome home. [applause] >> thank you, kate. it is now my pleasure to introduce maya lin. maya was a student at yale when she won the design competition for the memorial that thrust her into the national spotlight.
over the last 35 years, she has gone on to have a very successful career as a designer and artist. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome maya lin. [applause] >> thank you. i am so deeply honored to be here today, veterans day. the day our country sets aside to honor our nation's veterans. the design of the vietnam veterans memorial was always meant to do just that, remember and honor the veterans who served in the vietnam war and remember those who did not come back. it's hard to believe it's been 35 years since its dedication. almost 37 years ago, i stood here for the first time, looking at this beautiful park. i had no idea what was to come
over the next two years. i stood here and had a simple impulse, to cut open the earth and to polish the earth's open sides. now to realize this design was not an easy journey. it was full of controversy and emotions on all sides. in 1982, at the wall's dedication, i was here, and at that time, i was met by a very angry, very emotional vietnam veteran right here on the eve of the dedication. and as he raged at me, i could not help, but to think how the pain and memories that that veteran was experiencing that made him lash out at me signified that the memorial was beginning to work. by creating a space that would allow a returning veteran to remember that time and although those memories at times would be emotionally charged and at times, painful, it is only when we can honestly face that loss and that pain that we can begin to overcome it. and that cathartic healing process that has become so much
a part of the space was always at the heart of this design. i have been fortunate through the years to have received so many heartfelt thanks and letters from veterans, from family members who have lost loved ones, from a psychiatrist who helps veterans with ptsd, who wrote of how the final step of his therapy was to bring veterans to the wall, but it is i who need to thank all of you for your service and sacrifice. it has been a deeply moving experience for me. at the time i must confess it wasn't the easiest of projects. i, too, was the average age of a vietnam service member, i was 21 going on 22. and though my battle and what we all went through to build this is nothing compared to what you endured, maybe it, too, was part of the story of the vietnam war and its aftermath.
i also want to acknowledge and give thanks to those who were instrumental in realizing this design. the small group of vietnam veterans who worked so hard to set up the idea, to get congressional authorization, to hold the competition, and then to weather an incredible political firestorm to get it built. to jan scruggs whose idea it was to build a memorial, who was then aided -- [applause] maya: by a small group of dedicated vietnam veterans. [reading names] maya: some of whom are here today. to the architects of record, to henry arnold, the landscape architect who had originally designed this beautiful park. to jay carter brown of the fine arts commission and so many commissioners who shepherded the
project through the numerous planning meetings in d.c. and to so many senators and congressmen, generals, veterans, gold star families and volunteers who all made this memorial reality so that it can stand today and have the effect that it does on millions of visitors each year. it wasn't the easiest of designs to understand before it was built, since it connects to you in a very personal and psychological way. my task as the artist was to keep that design simple and pure from the politics, from the controversy, from serious alterations and for all the myriad design details that helped make this design what it is today. i envisioned cutting open the earth and polishing the earth's
open sides. the walls would not be massive, but instead, thin and light so that the names alone become the object, that the walls would be polished to a mirror shine so you see yourself reflected in the names and that the depth would be enough to offer you refuge but not enough to become oppressive, that it had always to be of human scale, and that as you descend, the names rise up to meet you. and of utmost importance, that you would be able to find your time on the wall and connect with your fallen colleagues. i was intently focused on creating a work that would talk to each one of you individually yet also to have you seen together as a whole, as a family and to see yourself reflected in both the washington monument and the lincoln memorial so that you and your service would become a part of the very fabric of our country, so that you become an honored and storied part of our nation's history.
i cannot imagine what you endured overseas, only to come home and not be welcomed home by the country that asked you to serve. i believe so strongly that the politics of that war had been so divisive that this memorial had to rise above that, that this memorial could not let the politics of the war color your service, your sacrifice, and your loss. we must never forget, ever, the heroism and sacrifice that you and your fellow veterans have made for our country. and if this memorial has helped to welcome you home and to help heal some of the turmoil and pain of that war, and to embrace you and honor you in our
nation's capital, then i am deeply honored to have played my part in your story. thank you. [applause] >> well, i know every single one of us here today would like to come up to maya and offer our personal thanks. she has to take a flight to london. but i think we all can use the loudness of our applause to let her know exactly how much her design, this memorial means to all of us. [applause]
[cheering] >> and it is now my distinct honor to introduce our keynote speaker for today, vietnam veteran enlisted in the army, senator from nebraska, and, of course, chairman of our 35th anniversary committee, 24th secretary of defense, chuck hagel. [applause] sec. hagel: thank you to our veterans, their families, to all of our
veterans, all here. thank you. thank you for your service, thank you for being here, thank you for sharing a special day. for not just vietnam veterans and their families, but all of our veterans and to you, maya, again, your presence, your words reflect as well as anyone can what this memorial means, what it has meant, and it will continue to mean to future generations, so maya thank you once again. i want to add my personal thanks to the group of individuals that maya mentioned starting with jan scruggs. his founding board, some are here today.
so many people that were part of working through the difficulty of getting this memorial built at a difficult time. maya you mentioned some members of congress and there are two specific individuals that i have had the pleasure of not just serving with, but getting to know over the years, but two united states senators without whose support i don't think this memorial would have been built. senator john warner from virginia and the late senator mack mathias from maryland. [applause]
sec. hagel: these two individuals really made it happen. 35 years ago today, this memorial was dedicated. it was built to honor, remember, and recognize the sacrifices of over 58,000 americans and all the men and women who served in a confusing and unpopular war in a very distant land. this memorial was built for future generations so they would learn from this war and would always remember that wars have serious and lasting consequences. i said in my remarks at the groundbreaking for this memorial 35 years ago there is no glory in war, only suffering. but with all the suffering vietnam veterans endured and saw, they also witnessed uncommon courage and compassion. m veterans endured and saw, they also witnessed uncommon courage and compassion. there was heroism all around, but mostly, it was that they did the job the country asked them to do. their commitment to each other, and their individual common decency and belief in their them.y sustained nearly 3 million american men and women served in vietnam. they returned home not asking for favors or special recognition.
they didn't wallow in self-pity or the lack of thanks our respect that they did not receive. they rebuild their lives, understanding better than most that the price they paid included a large measure of injustice. not all succeeded, many struggle, and still struggle from that experience in that faraway land. i i wrote these remarks, looked at photos of my brother, tom, who served with me side-by-side in vietnam. he and my father in the south pacific during world war ii. pictures, iat those wondered what a 21-year-old charlie hagel and his buddy were thinking in 1944. are fought by human beings,
machines don't fight wars, people fight wars, men and women fight wars. those who survive wars are either embittered, or inspired to make a better world. like all veterans in america's wars, vietnam veterans chose the latter course. war gives one clarity, it helps you see what it really -- what is really important in life. all vietnam veterans should be proud of their hard-earned clarity in service. we should be proud of each other. its owneration faces unique challenges, unique to their time and history. these challenges are not of the soldiers making. different times, different wars, different political currents all dictate wars and reasons for fighting wars. every generation of americans answered their country's call.
today, veterans of iraq and afghanistan, and our current servicemembers are no different. vietnam veterans answered their call and served with honor. historians have written that the comedy equation for mankind through a history that is -- that has determined the strength of societies is challenged response. how each generation responds to the challenges of its time. those societies that responded well learned and adapted, and andsted always prospered helped make a better world for all people. wellonveterans responded to their generation's challenges -- vietnam veterans responded well to their generation's challenges. their recognition came far too late.
look around you now. it is here today. i have always believed that the greatest responsibility of leaders is to lead their institutions and those they lead better than they found it. to serve as role models. ourve often heard from servicemen and women today from iraq and afghanistan that they looked to the vietnam veterans for courage and inspiration. vietnam veterans did serve as role models, and are now the senior statesman of the veteran's community. justice, world war ii, and korean war veterans before them. last week, i attended the groundbreaking for the eisenhower memorial to be built near the capital. that it was the vietnam veterans memorial, this
memorial, that led the way for the next two american war memorials to be built on these sacred grounds of lincoln. to the eisenhower memorial speakers reflect on the greatness of this soldier statesman, a theme emerged clearly that captured ike's life. humility, dignity, and quiet leadership, hallmarks of veterans of every war. vietnam veterans were no different. to our vietnam veterans, celebrate your day of recognition, you have earned it, you deserve it. and thank each other, for you are the quiet heroes of your generation. god bless you all, thank you. [applause]
>> secretary hagel, you are a true public servant, and i am on her to call you a friend. -- i am honored to call you a friend. allow me to direct your attention to the representatives of several of the nations leading service organizations. many of them are leading the stage. years, these service organizations have joined our tradition of laying wreaths at the vietnam veterans memorial in honor of the followin -- the fallen. while they get in position, i want to share a few highlights of what has been a busy year for the vietnam veterans memorial fund, the founders of the wall.
recently, the effort to put a face to every name on the wall passed a major milestone. of the 58,318 photos we have been seeking, less than 4500 photos are left to meet our goal. [applause] i would ask you, if you have photos of anyone on the wall, please make sure they are part of our wall of faces. you can find it through our website vvmf.org. 2 vietnamnducted 41 veterans into the in memory on a roll, which honors those men and vietnamo served in the war and later died as a result of their service. as we do each year, we conducted them into the honor roll, we do it right over here overlooking the wall.
in march, we commemorated the groundbreaking for construction of the wall 35 years ago. we were lucky enough to have remembrances from the retired vietnam veterans memorial fund resident and founder jan scruggs and the executive director of the fund, robert do back, who is with us today. day, jan was our master of ceremonies and our speakers were ken burns and lynne novick, codirectors of the recently released documentary called "the vietnam war." we released a book service announcements, starring gary sinise, tim burns, lynn novick, and the incomparable ann-margret. thanks to all of them for supporting our efforts. [applause] we are ending our anniversary
commemoration this week with the reading of the names honoring maya lin, and hearing from the only enlisted vietnam veteran ever to serve as secretary of defense, chuck hagel. through all of these activities, and with all of our speakers, we maintain the commitment the wall was built on, never forget. i will now read the names of the organizations as they lay their wreaths today. i would ask you to please stand if you are able. while they are being played, you will hear bagpiper chris jackson playing amazing grace for the 19th year. today's ceremony will close with the playing of taps by master sergeant ofaster the president's own united states marine band. the organization is laying wreaths. national parks service.
battalion seventh calvary association. division.try military order of the purple heart. board. veterans advisory quads andusters searchlight association. vietnam veterans of america. 8:00-9:00 ptsd class washington. veteranson of vietnam of america. vietnam memorial volunteers and friends. veterans of the usa.
this concludes our ceremony, thank you for coming. [applause] announcer the american war in vietnam raged 50 years ago. lbj's war. was this veterans day weekend, american history tv looks back at this divisive war with 48 hour set of coverage, archival footage, and first time -- first-person reports from veterans. this is american history weekend, a weekend every weekend, on american history tv. almosts ago there were 500,000 americans serving in vietnam and according to the national archive, over 11
thousand were killed there or died there. report frompecial 1967, "tom." it is hosted by correspondent charles collingwood did and includes a variety of field reports from vietnam and interviews with soldiers, clinical leaders, and pilots. the first of two cbs news special reports, "where we tand it in vietnam." >> it is therefore. -- it is their war. we can send men out as advisors, but they have to win it. the people of the vietnam against t