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tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  May 28, 2012 10:00am-12:00pm EDT

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era. it used to be. write a column and nobody would tell you. you might get if you -- a few letters to the edison -- editor criticizing you. on the good side, nobody can be an expert on everything. whatever topic i am writing about, and there is usually somebody reading that knows more about it. that can help make me smarter. i can learn. that is good to know. you can fix that spelling error in the first five minutes. andrew sullivan was a pioneer and using his audience to teach him and excerpting e-mails and
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comments. a lot of people who reading or super smart. you.business will wheear on now you have criticism at how you deal with that. host: matt lewis, thank you for being here. here's our schedule coming up -- to mark, michael steel -- tomorrow, michael steele.
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host: that is our show for this memorial day. here's a shot from arlington cemetery. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> live pictures this morning from the tomb of the unknowns at arlington national cemetery. we will begin our live programming today starting in about 45 minutes. we will have live coverage of president obama laying a wreath at the tomb.
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the president will make his way for the -- to the epic theater where he will deliver his remarks -- the amphitheater. more live coverage from the vietnam war memorial. we expect to hear from general martin dempsey beginning at 1:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. the u.s. air force academy in colorado springs hosted the national character and leadership symposium. one of the speakers was h. ross perot. he talks to the cadets about leadership lessons. we hear stories about medal of honor winners. this is about 50 minutes.
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>> ladies and gentlemen, a man of integrity. he has continued to serve our nation. he has received many distinct honors, the highest civilian honor bestowed upon the department of defense. please join me in welcoming mr. ross perot. [applause] >> it is and not to be with all honor to be is and hon
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with all of you. he is an incredible man. he cannot be with us here today because of severe health problems. he is an oklahoma cowboy. he was selected by the air force to retrace lindbergh's route after world war ii. that was a pretty good trip. he was an ace in korea. general macarthur set the combat up. robbie had more fuel. acr he had to go
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back north. he decided he would shoot him down in front of his own troops . just think about that. that will be the ultimate loss of face. i just define the warriors spirit and that is what he did. there were 19 mig's on the ground. he got 14 in one pass. these are the details.
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there's not one black mark in his record. general macarthur took all of the heat. i said, "how could you only get 14 on the ground?" you can imagine the response i got from robbie. robbie went on to vietnam. he was on the cover of "time" magazine. he was hit bya s a sam missile. they put this great man in a box and capt. for five years -- and kept him for five years.
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he never broke. he inspired other prisoners to stay alive by tapping on the box. ?ow is that for the sh leadershp after five years in the box, they decided to let him out. it took him a few weeks to regain his ability to walk and talk. they did not have church services. he ordered church services. a pow said, "we don't have any hymnals." he said, " writwrite them out
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on top of a paper." -- on toilet paper. you take every risk when you do not go to church. these police captain robbie alive. the man will tell you what a hero robbie was to them. the vietnamese came and and grabbed robbie back into the box. they were having church services. the prisoners still strongly to honor -- stood strongly to honor
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robbie. years later, i said it was going on in your mind when they drag you back into the box. he said, "with them seeing, i was 9 feet tall. i could have gone bear hunting with a stick -- with them a singing. 9 feet tall and with a stick at the base. now you all know that. he came home and was responsible for the thunderbirds. he brought a fighter pilot to embarrass him by having into all the dirty work run the prisons. the man called him max.
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they smuggled food and medicine dying.el were dyinen who were he went back home. when saigon fell, robbie, colonel rutledge with the first to go in and save him. can you imagine after five years going back in that box to go back gate to pick up by vietnamese soldier? they did that and did the right thing. it takes a person with a lot of integrity to do that. robbie has a lot of integrity. they were on the border and ready to go.
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brent scowcroft heard about this and sent a raider a car to pick up 19 family members and took them to the airport to fly them back to the states. he is here in the united states today. we did not leave our men behind . that is because of robbie. it will be placed in a proper place in the leadership paul to remind her this man is and is outstanding leadership. [applause] i would like to tell you another
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story. there is a big statue for pllance. thank you for being with us tonight. he graduated in 1965. he won the congressional medal of honor. he began a pilot training. he was assigned to the2366t 366h fighter win as an f-4 phantom pilot. he was tasked with a bombing mission over north vietnam. his plane was engulfed in
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flames. he ejected from the aircraft. broken leg and a rough landing. he had no food. he evaded his enemy for 46 days. he was finally captured by the viet cong. he was severely tortured. he lost 100 pounds. he somehow overpowered a guard and escaped into the jungle before being recaptured several hours later. he was put in prison in the hanoi hilton. the men were planning an escape. he was lying nearly unconscious and suddenly raised his head and
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said, count me in. unfortunately he passed away a few days later. we have a statue at the air force academy. i hope every cadet will be inspired after they see the statue. now i'd like to talk about raymond murphy in korea. many were wounded in the battle. he continued rescuing marines after he was wounded. the wounded and him were taken to a medic hospital. he refused treatment until all of this man were taken care of. freedom is precious and freedom must be protected.
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i hope you will always live the words. "you will be the leaders protecting our nation. i know you will set a whole new standards." do not forget them. you saw them and drive through the streets. they earned the medal of honor. god bless them. they got it. john graduated from west point in 1964. he wrote his own obituary. he said he was his best authority on as long life.
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i think of the phrase, "cut duty, honor, country." he was killed in a helicopter crash in 1970. own obituarymy because i'm the best authority on my own life. i love the army. it gave me the most satisfying years of my life. the army the live in germany and japan -- the army let me live in germany and japan. i climbed mount fuji. i met the ruins of athens and
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rome. i earned a master's degree in a foreign university. i have been married to a fine and wonderful woman. about 20 years, i decided i should find his wife. i found her. she is a nurse. she said, there could never be someone else like alex. i love him as much say as one he was here. i want you to know i'm very happy. i could never have a better life. you would think she had just found in million dollars on the street.
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treat.s quite a tribut confessor and judge. i played college football and rugby. i boxed at oxford against cambridge only to get knocked out in the first round. i played handball to distraction. i went to the german jump master school. i experience all these things because i was in the army. i never knew what it was to fail. i never knew what it was to be too old or too tired to do anything. i did not die for my country.
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i lived for my country. can you imagine a better role model? a little boy had an uncle who decided to build his own airplane from a popular mechanics -- he built a wooden frame. his grandmother helped him covered with cloth. they painted over the cloth. he attached an engine to the wooden halull. he took out to a pasture to test fly ait. his mother went with him. "henry, you fly low and slow."
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henry took off and successfully fly the airplane. he later fly the airplane from texas to alaska and back home. later on, as the boy grew up, this boy spent hours sitting on henry's lap learning to fly. he had learned to fly a single engine helicopter. this will board through the helicopter around the world, single engine helicopter -- this little boy it flew a helicopter around the world. he made it home.
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it is on display at the smithsonian air and space museum. he replaced lindbergh as the youngest man to ever fly around the world. he later attended college. he joined the air force reserves and became a fighter pilots. he came home from the experiences and went to the ceremony were the little boy received his air force wings. that is a day this board will never forget. this boy worked 50 years as the chairman of the committee to build the air force tomorrow. memorial.n the mo that was a massive effort.
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he has gone to do a number of things. he learned the principles of leadership while serving in the air force reserves. he has been as successful businessman. this little boy is my son. i cannot tell you how proud i am of him and the wonderful things he has done. the list goes on from there. the first rule of leadership is to treat people with dignity and respect. this has been validated again and again. this is nothing more than a restatement of the golden rule. principles of leadership are timeless. human nature remains a constant.
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consider the principles of scouting. a scout is honest, loyal, friendly, courteous, kind, thrifty, brain, and helps other people at all times. he promises to keep themselves physically strong and morally straight. the boy scout motto is "be prepared." attila the hun was born at the beginning of the fifth century. they cannot say one thing and do another. do not taught at both sides of your mouth -- do not talk out of both sides of your mouth.
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leaders much attached values to high standards and have no tolerance for the uncommitted. all these things are relevant today to the world you and i live in. there's much encourage creativity among their subordinates. leaders must provide direction and never let them wander aimlessly. chieftain's much be willing to make personal sacrifices for their good of their huns. chieftains must encourage
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healthy competition but must contain it when such becomes a detriment to the tribe. the spirit of the lot is greater than its letter. chieftains must never tread the cloak of honor and dignity. chieftains told a profound conviction of duty. the principle to leadership is timeless. human nature remains a constant. always use the word "leadership" and not manage. you must set the example by being a strong effective leader who motivates his team to achieve to the full potential of the entire team.
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you must have an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. you were in this trust and respect by treating others as you would like to be treated. trust and respect our fragile. -- trust and respect our fragile. these are learning experiences. they are painful but they heal quickly. when someone makes a mistake, they feel terrible. do not chew them out. put it behind them and move forward. make sure they understand you have not lost confidence in them. did not put people into categories.
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recognize there is something unique in everyone. i am unique. i'm special. treat me with dignity and respect. keep the person challenges to fulfill their full potential. united teams win. "all for one and one for all." every part of your unit must be equally important. give your team strong, intelligent leadership. recognize and reward performance. listen, listen, listen to the work of the people on the front lines. tell them what they are doing
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right and wrong. don't keep written records of evaluation. judge people by what they have done lately. they made a mistake 20 years ago. be willing to live on the front lines. feed the troops first and the officers last. the first rule of leadership is treat other people with dignity and respect, the way you would like to be treated. this has been validated again and again. this is a restatement of the golden rule. in a rapidly changing world, and human nature remains a constant.
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principles of leadership go back to the fifth century. codeiples of the knights' to always be ready, do nothing to offend anyone, be prepared, never breaking a promise. the principles of leadership were included in the magnet carta. the pioneers who settled our country lived many of these principles of leadership. they were generous and brave, polite to others and always ready to rescue a companion. they knew they had to take care of themselves and one another.
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only the strong survive. we live in the greatest country in the history of man. our pioneers came over on sailing ships. you would not go across a lake if you could see them today. they found work. they saved money. they headed west. there were no roads. there were no mcdonald's. they came to be free. they did not have the weapons but they have the drive and the will to do wit. they wanted to be free. it.y paid the price to do wo
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56 men signed the declaration. 24 were lawyers. these were men of means and well-educated. they signed the declaration of independence knowing the penalty would be death if they were captured. they pledged for the support of this declaration with firm reliance of the protection of the divine providence, "we pledge our lives, our fortune, and our sacred vow." they were soft-spoken man of means and education. they had security but they valued liberty even more.
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there were tortured before they died. in thepson's revolutionary war. they fought and died from wounds in the revolutionary war. carter saw his ship swept from the sea by the british navy. thomas was so hounded by the british that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. he served in congress without pay. his family was captain hiding. poverty was his reward. thomas nelson jr. -- the nelson home was taken over. he urged general george
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washington to open fire. the home was destroyed and nelson died bankrupt. 13 children fled for their lives. they lived in forests and caves for year. his wife was dead. he died a few weeks later of a broken heart. every day think about the last phrase of the first verse of " the star spangled banner." the free andd of the home of the brave." we must have a great leaders like you defending the gates of freedom. we are so fortunate to have you
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with that mission. i know you'll continue to do great work. you will make our country better as we go forward. thank you for your service to the country. it is an honor to be with you today. thank you so much. thank you very much. >> ladies and supplement, we have the opportunity to of a personalized question and answer session. we have some questions that were compiled. here's your microphone. all right. we will get that working. there were go. i think you're good, sir.
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the first question -- did you have any time in annapolis when your character was tested and you had a difficult time making a decision? >> that was one of the greatest opportunities of my life. i knew i wanted to go to the naval academy. i got an employment and i went. i passed everything except one part of the physical exam. i had a broken nose. the doctor said i had to go home to get that operated on. i said i could not fix it. he never touched it. people from all 50 states could not have been finer people.
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i had the privilege to do a lot of interesting things while i was at the academy. i was vice president in my second class year. i was president of the class in my third and fourth year. i was asked to take full responsibility in creating a new honor code at the academy so that it was their honor code. i went to every platoon and worked over a year on tit. every niche shipment was on board -- every midshipman was on board. it is still in place today. the midshipmen are very positive about it.
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they check to see if they still felt everything about it was appropriate.. it set the highest standards. that came straight from the troops. i've had a lot of great opportunities in the navy. i never would have had the success in life unless i have that in the navy. that made all the difference. >> thank you, sir. hoosier most influential role model in your life -- who is your most influential role model in your life? >> i have to break it down to
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different people at different times. robbie. i wish you could no robbie. he would have given anything to be here tonight. he was the epitome in terms of a great leader and in putting others first. i learned all those lessons at the naval academy and were reinforced in the navy. i was involved with the prisoner of war project. i got to meet robbie and all the other pow's. i would have to say there's not a lot i would change in what i said today. you heard just about everything i had to say. >> when you are hiring somebody
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in the civilian sector, do look for in someone you are hiring? >> i am in the computer business. you got a bunch of geeks and nerds. [laughter] they could not lead a group in silent prayer in an emergency. i started training all my system engineers. guess what i did? i took young people in the military only they had done their four-year tours and train them in system engineering. that was a piece of cake. i could tell you stories by the hour.
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a lot of the people i hired into the company were enlisted men who just left the service and they could've gone to mit. they cannot as sergeants and and leadership at the platoon level. their mission in life was to get a college degree. they were determined to get a college degree. my computer centers never closed. they could work any of three shifts and go to college. we have the finest computer centers in the world. everybody that visited us was overwhelmed. when they got their degrees, we train them in systems engineer ing. they were unbelievable in terms
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of helping the company grow successfully. leading a group under fire is a piece of cake. i said it backwards. leading the technology group is a piece of cake. i could tell you stories by the hours of things we do all over the world that our mission impossible that they do on their own because it is de right thing to do. that is one good example of the quality of people that come out of the military. nobody could understand why wanted you. all those guys want to do was bring the coffee.
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they did not want to go out and get something done. their leadership level was about zero. we had a long way to go. it has been wonderful to see all the great things they have done. they made the company successful. there were successful financially. paper for example of military on your life. you are a very special, unique person in terms of how to get things done and to keep them excited and climbing. >> thank you, s ir. ir. you have a gigantic family. what would you say is her legacy message you would like to leave for them. >> i want all them to be honest,
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tough, smart, learn leadership, take responsibility for other people, and keep themselves physically strong and morally straight. so far i could not be more proud of them. my son is the best possible example i could give you. he was in the air force as a fighter pilots . imagine if 15 years putting together the air force memorial. he is a unique person. i have four daughters. i am happy grandfather. i could not be more proud of my family.
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make sure we did not spoil future generations. they understand they have to build their own futures and so far it is too good to be true. >> thank you, sir. have you ever had to release an employee base off of a character flaw or they were doing something morally wrong? >> if somebody's stealing something or doing something, to not ever get involved over abuse of a woman. that is out the door. we do not tolerate that at all. people here that when they're interviewed. most people say this is a weird place.
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that is fine with me. the people we have are so committed to the company and so committed to their team members in the company and will go anywhere anytime to help by team member that has a problem. >> thank you, sir. do you have any final words of advice for them? >> get up every morning and make things better. let's assume you of that 15 great successes. that is history. complacent.ecome just keep making things better. our country has a lot of problems. if people like you are involved, i think things will be better.
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we need to get back on track. the financial track is obvious. we have to have this scaring for each other to move forward. that would be wonderful. thank you. >> thank you, sir. [applause] as a token of our -- [cheers] as a token of our appreciation, we would like to present you with a flag. >> oh, boy. >> please, for a second presentation.
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>> oh, wow. -- please come out for a second presentation. >> i cannot think of anything i would rather have. [applause] somebody must've gotten the word that i valued the sword and that i give swords rarely people of done great things. the last people i gave the sword excalibur were the two men who did the job on bin laden,
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the seals. [applause] this will be my best treasure and i thank you so much. i thank you for all you are, what you do, and what you're going to do in the future. up.in it redouble your efforts. god bless you. perladies and gentlemen, mr. perot would like to me you. otherwise there are buses -- would like to meet you.
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>> i will show you one more thing. robbie wrote when he came back. "the passing of a night." read that and you will be inspired. thank you. >> one of many stops visitors to washington, d.c., are making today. this memorial was dedicated in the spring of 2004 and honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces during the war and the more than four under 400,000 who died. we go live to the tomb of the unknowns.
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it has existed and dedicated to american service members who died without the remains being confirmed. we'll begin our live coverage layingng with the reit laywreat- president obama. then president obama is expected to speak and will be joined by general martin dempsey and defense secretary leon panetta. that is expect to begin at about 11:20. we will have a live for you. then the 50th anniversary of the vietnam war. this marks the beginning of a 13-year program to one of those who served during the vietnam war. the president is expected to speak around 1:00 p.m. eastern and we will have a live for you
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here on c-span. the president and first lady michele obama began the day with a breakfast at the white house with families who have lost loved ones in combat. we're back live at the tomb of the unknowns or the president is expected to take part in the wreath-laying ceremony.
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>> honor guard! hut! ceremonial. >> ceremonial! >> at ease.
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[gunshots] [gunfire]
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>> honor guard! hut! right! left! guard, ready. [gunfire]
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[gunfire]
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>> president obama has arrived. secretary of defense, martin dempsey. executive director of the army program. the commanding general.
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superintended of arlington national cemetery -- superintendent. .
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♪ [military yelling]
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[many cameras clicking]
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[taps] ♪ ♪ [taps]
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[military yelling]
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♪ >> again, live from arlington national ceremony -- cemetery this morning. president obama wrap up his part in the traditional wreath laying ceremony this morning. live pictures from the amphitheater of the national cemetery. the president is set to make
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remarks from here in just a few moments. he will be joined by leon panetta and martin dempsey. in one year the president will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the vietnam war, coming up at like -- coming up live, at 1:00 p.m. eastern. again, we will have that for you here on c-span. ♪
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[military yelling] ♪ [military yelling]
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♪ ♪ [military yelling]
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[applause]
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[unintelligible] >> u.s. army military district of washington. major-general command [unintelligible] general of the united states army, district of washington. the executive director of the army national cemetery program. general martin dempsey, secretary of the joint chiefs of staff. the hon. leon panetta, secretary of defense.
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♪ >> ladies and gentleman, the president of the united states. ♪ >> ladies and gentlemen, chaplain barry. >> join me, please. eternal god, more time, lord of the living and dead, you have made yourself known to us and by your mighty works throughout the history of our nation, from
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birth to the present. from our earliest beginnings you have guided us through times of prosperity and periods of war and peace. by your hand on and on our behalf, you have shown yourself strong to save us. amongst the nations of europe, we turn to you with highest esteem and devoted respect to the citizens who have fought and died in america's wars. many of them died before the enemy's guns. many of them, alone. many for the sake of future generations of americans. neither the glory of the deeds nor the sting of the loss, for reposition the found the yet
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wounded heart as we remember and honor their devoted sacrifice. they have embraced fully the legacy of valor duty, and selflessness of these heroes who continue to fly high, and with honor. the liberty for which they have given all so that on our watch, it may remain on them. it is our fervent hope and therefore for this we pray. >> please join the u.s. army band in singing our national anthem. ♪
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♪ >> please, be seated.
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[applause] ladies and gentlemen, general dempsey. [applause] >> mr. president, secretary panetta, members of congress, distinguished guests, fellow americans, veterans, and our missing and fallen warriors, today as we plant flags is worth noting that memorial day was originally known as decoration day. despite the celebratory views, the american family also causes to remember the family members
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who will not come home. evident in a piece by henry wadsworth longfellow, one of our greatest writers. it speaks to the experience of any family who has sent a son or daughter off to war. his own son, charlie, returned safely from the civil war, and longfellow was moved by the fact that many more did not. he says -- your silence is decked with flowers and the memory shelby hours. 130 years after writing those words, longfellow has a right. the memory as ours. on memorial day we honor that in
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heartfelt ceremonies across land. there is a sacred bond of trust. what really counts is how we nurture the bond with those who are still here and how we turn that member into action. today we stand behind families that will never be whole again and must continue to stand with them every day. supporting them in the ways that they needed most, particularly as a transition back to their home communities, showing that we do not just think of them, but that we really remember. every agency represented here today is committed to making education, medical care, and employment opportunity accessible to the military family.
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the department of defense cannot help to study for your final college exam. when you think about it like that, it is no surprise that memorial day began at the community level as a local observance. preserving the bonds of trust is something that demands constant attention and something that we will just have to keep delivering. we will, because the memory is ours. all hours. may god bless the fallen, missing, and families. [applause] >> ladies and gentleman, listen now as master ford and lee and
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pippen join the united states army brave for the last full -- army band for the last full measure of devotion. ♪ honoredthe long and history of america, there are names that shine light beacons in the night. it kept the land and freedom burning bright. in the long and colored history of the land, there were those
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who came and were called upon by chance and circumstance to make the ultimate sacrifice. >> ♪ the grateful nation out in sorrow and tomorrow ♪ ♪ is♪ the measure of devotion what they gave to the cause, the
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last full measure of devotion and though they cannot hear our applause ♪ forever andmber keep alive their story ♪ the last full measure of devotion ♪ >> ♪ the last full measure of devotion ♪ ♪
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♪ [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, secretary panetta.
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[applause] >> ladies and gentleman, distinguished guests, veterans, active service members, president obama, mr. president, it is an honor to be able to be here today with all of you to observe memorial day on this most sacred ground for our military and our nation. arlington and all the men and women are a constant reminder that freedom is not free. today, we joined all americans in coming together to pay tribute to all of those brave americans who fought and died
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for our country. we honor and remember america's heroes like patriots who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our liberties. as we have for the past 10 memorial day is, today we still gather in a time of war. today the american people remember more than 6400 heroes who have died in defense of our nation, september 11. today we will pay tribute to the 58,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen who died in vietnam, on this
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50th anniversary of the war. they and their families have paid a price beyond measure. because of that sacrifice, they are free and we are safer because they were willing to put their lives on the line. all of the millions, the great patriots who have stepped forward and served this nation in a time of war deserve our gratitude, respect, and endurance, because they have kept our nation safe. just as we reflect on their service and sacrifice, we honor those american families for whom this day is most difficult.
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the mothers, and fathers, sons and daughters, those who have lost a child, spouse, or parent. like the president, as secretary of defense i have written hundreds of letters of condolences to those families. there are no words the can hear debate that can heal -- there are no words that can heal, and the sentences to lessen loss. in the struggle to find the right words, i tell them that their loved one died for all the beloved. to ensure the survival of our way of life and asian.
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the memory of their loved ones are in our hearts every day. for the rest of our lives. they will never be forgotten and are forever heroes. we must do all that we can for these families. takes every citizen, community, business, to care for those families. that is why organizations like the tragedy assistance program survivors and others are so important. we have hopefully learned, from a decade of war, that we must renew our pledge on this memorial day to do all that we can and make sure that the sacrifices of our service members and families are
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honored. as americans, this must be our sacred charge and mission. not just on memorial day, but every day. they fought and died for us and we must now fight to protect the memory of their sacrifice forever. it is now my privilege and honor to introduce someone who has taken this charge to heart. i have been honored to work closely with president obama, director of the cia and secretary of defense, having the opportunity to see how seriously he takes his responsibility as commander-in- chief. he has no higher priority than
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to protect this country. ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states. [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. please, be seated. good morning, everyone. thank you for that introduction and your incredible service to our country. major general, a chaplain, all of you who are here today. family and friends of the fallen, thank you for leaving me with the privilege of driving you to this sacred place.
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the 600 acres are home to americans from every part of the country, who gave their lives in every corner of the globe. when a union needed to be saved, they left their homes and took up arms for the sake of an idea. from the jungles of vietnam to the mountains of the afghanistan, they stepped forward and answered the call. thinking of homes they may never return to. the bodies that they would never forget. while other stories might be separated by hundreds of years and thousands of miles, they rest here together hopper, side- by-side, row by row, because
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each of them love this country. and everything that it stands for, more than life itself. today we come together as americans to pray, reflect, and remember these heroes. tomorrow, this hallowed place will once again belong to a smaller group of visitors who make their way through the gates and across the fields in the heat and cold, the rain and snow. kneeling in front of a familiar headstone. parents and children, brothers and sisters, by birth and by sacrifice. you, too, leave a piece of your heart here.
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you, too, call this sanctuary home. together, your footsteps trace the path of our history. this memorial day, marked another milestone. for the first time in nine years, americans are not fighting and dying in iraq. [applause] we are winding down the war in afghanistan as our troops continue to come home. [applause] after decades under a dark cloud of war, we can see light on the horizon. especially for those who have lost a loved one, this chapter will remain open long after the
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fallen silent. today, with the war in iraq finally over, in march of 2003 on the first day of the invasion one of our helicopters crashed near the iraqi border with kuwait. on it were four marines. [reads names] together, they became the first american casualties of the iraq war. their families and friends barely had time to confront.
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eight years and 25 days later, another officer was in -- on patrol in baghdad. he became the last of 4500 american patriots to give their lives in iraq. the days before the last american troops, including david, were scheduled to come home. right now they are beginning a difficult journey. a journey that even more families will take in the months and years ahead. families here today, i will repeat what i said to the stickman's -- hickmans.
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i cannot begin to fully understand your loss or hear what it is like to learn that your worst fears have come true. as commander in chief, sending our troops into harm's way, it is a difficult decision and i promise you i will never do so unless absolutely necessary. and when we do, we will give them a clear mission with full support from a grateful nation. as a country. [applause] as a country, all of us can and should ask ourselves how to shoulder the loss. we have given their last full
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measure of devotion to this country. how do we give you some strength? one thing that we can do is remember them as you do. not just as ranks, numbers, or names on the headstone, but as americans guided by a deep and abiding love for their families, each other, and this country. we can remember the pilot who met his wife on an aircraft carrier and told his mother before shipping out that if anything happens to me, just remember i am doing what i love. we can remember the former track star running believe offsite. he said he wanted to do something more meaningful with
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his life. we can remember brian kennedy, the rock climber who told his father a few days before he went down the it was one of the best he had ever dealt with. we can remember candle waters day in baltimore, described by a fellow service number as the light. we can remember david, a freshman in high school who had jokingly called himself zeus, filling his friends with it -- infectious laughter. we can remember them. we can remember the obligations to those who came home and fought a very real battle of their own. the men and women in uniform
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today know this. they were fighting for their families, their flags, and for you. we will make sure that you and your loved ones receive the benefits that your loved ones have firmed and preserved. -- earned and preserved. finally, for all of you carry this on your hearts. , we can strive to be a nation evil of sacrifice. in nation where all of us meet our obligations to each other and the country that we love. that is all we can do.
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as president, i have no higher honor or greater responsibility than serving as commander-in- chief of the greatest military the world has ever known. [applause] on days like this, i take pride in the fact that this country has always been home to the men and women who give of themselves until there is nothing left to give. it is the strength and resolve of those who still serve, here at home, and rum world. i know we must always strive to be for the of your sacrifice. god bless us. god bless the fallen and the men and women in uniform.
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[no audio] [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the benediction. ps] ♪[tax]
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>> go into the world to preserve peace. remember the wisdom you have learned and be courageous. pursue excellence in all things and cling to that which is good. resist evil, always. defend the helpless, honor god, and above all, love and serve the lord. amen. >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain in place as the colors
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are retired. [applause] ♪
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♪ ♪
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♪ ♪
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>> ladies and gentlemen, thank you for enjoying today's program. enjoy your day. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] ♪
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>> president obama will move from here to a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the vietnam war. that is in about an hour from now as we continue our coverage of the nation's memorial day ceremony.
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♪ >> pictures of the korean war memorial across the potomac river in washington, d.c., dedicated in july of 1995. the korean memorial is close in vicinity to the world war ii memorial, one of the most visited sites in washington. along with the vietnam wall.
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[sirens] >> today and tomorrow, we're bringing you commencements from college graduations around the country. we will hear from the massachusetts senator john kyl.
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tomorrow graduate addresses include eric schmidt, from google. next, minnesota rep and formal -- former republican presidential candidate, michele bachmann, in virginia beach, virginia. this is about 20 minutes. >> good morning, congratulations to everyone here today. regent class of 2012, give yourself a han

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