tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN May 28, 2012 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
alone do not have all answers. reif out to one another, and listen to one another. who engage in the marketplace of ideas, and search for that common ground where solutions, forged and resolve are formed. that air is plan of kindred spirit, and with passion and determination, that our urgent to adopt in every facet of your future and garrett kern always remember her that you have the power within you, that you have that knowledge and skills you earn from your own life experience to offer your own version of the outcome of the change you will encounter in the unwritten story line of your life. take comfort that undeniable as your ties have been to this outstanding university in your student years, they will be even more binding upon your departure. upon your departure.
they will be your bulwark against misfortune. they will be paramount in spurring new for were personally and professionally in our communities, and the great state of maine, and internationally. class of 2012, i urge you to go forward. i have no doubt you are ready, willing, and most undeniably able. good luck, godspeed, and congratulations to the 2012 class. thank you. [applause]
>> spend the weekend in wichita, kan. with book tv. literary life on c-span [applause] . american presidents and black businessmen in "business in black and white." also, browse watermark west's books. explore early means life in the old cal town museum. -- old cowto newwn diem. once a month, our local content vehicle exports the literary life of this nation. wichita, kan. this weekend. >> last month, reporters and
photographers to cover conflict in syria, afghanistan, libya, and egypt gathered to talk about their experiences. this discussion was part of the conference hosted by the american society of news editors. on the panel, two photographers. >> hi, everybody. welcome to our next session. i think it will be one of the best sessions we will have at this conference. i would like to think reuters for putting together a wonderful tribute to foreign correspondents who have died in the past year. i am sorry to say that laura logan be with us today. she had a sudden illness in her
family and we wish them well. susan bennett, are more operator, started her reporting career with api with, she covered the death of elvis. she traveled to 50 countries, covering the collapse of communism. she later became an editorial writing -- editorial writer for "usa today." she is now a senior consultant. she edited "running towards danger," the museum's book about reporters to cover 9/11. three weeks ago, a heartbreaking photo of a young syrian boy dominated the front pages of the washington post, the wall street journal, and other papers around the world.
a few days later, the photographer who shot the photo wrote a gripping account of escaping from syria. "it is a conflict of government is determined to keep the world from seeing." "sniper bullets whizzing by our heads." he has worked for ap is to thousand three, covering the war in afghanistan, the earthquake in haiti, and continuing conflicts in the middle east and around the world. christopher shivers of the outstanding reporters and writers of our time. his work has been cited in two pulitzer prize-efforts of the new york times. he has won a national magazine
award and the michael kelly award for the fearless pursuit in expression of the truth. his national magazine award was for "the school," a description of the attack by chechen rebels on schoolchildren. that is one of the seven greatest stories ever published by the magazine. he also covered the worst terrorist attack ever, september 11, keeping -- spending two weeks at ground zero, virtually without sleep. his pieces were selected as one of the decade's top-10 works of journalism. tyler hicks so part of the team that won the pulitzer.
he has been named newspaper photographer of the year. he has covered conflicts in chechnya, congo, ethiopia, afghanistan, somalia, libya, syria. he and two other times journalists were taken captive last year by it forces loyal to gaddafi. their driver was killed hero. about what happened in the march 3 "times," saying "anthony thought it was essential journalists got into syria." that mission is what we are here to talk about today. i would like to introduce the executive editor of "in new york times." [applause] >> thank you so much.
you have been watching as we have gathered in this room, these pictures of 14 journalists and colleagues who have been killed so far this year on top of a terrible 2011 or the number reached 46. -- where the number reached 46. this panel includes two of my most esteemed colleagues from "the times," here to discuss the fundamental questions of why we still go and why bearing witness to conflicts and war is indeed a calling for them and others who proudly call themselves foreign correspondents. tyle anthonyr , as many of you know, -- tyler was with anthony,
as many of you know, out when he died trying to cross the border from syria into turkey. he was also with our colleagues when they were taken captivity in libya. tyler has been a hero to many of his colleagues at "the times," and never for a minute -- he wrote a terrific piece about their trip to syria. anthony was incredibly excited about that. for those of you who knew anthony, he was just irrepressible in his joy of being out, covering with his
own eyes and years the most important stories. friends have described his pure joy when he finally got to terriers' where -- tahrir square. what may anthony special -- what made anthony special was his fluency in arabic, his eye for detail, and his dedication to telling the stories of ordinary people caught in conflict. bill, my predecessor as executive editor said something
quite true about him, which is, if wikipedia had an entry for foreign correspondent, it would simply say "anthony shadid." his father, buddy, told me a distinct memory of his when i was chatting with him in beirut after the tragedy. he said anthony would win whatever prize was available, and he started doing this when he was 10 years old at bible camp. his new book "house of stone" is a gorgeous meditation on identity and family and covering
more. in it, he is writing about his oklahoma city large extended family, and he says "it's a big sprawling clan. together even when it is a part." the journalists on this panel are very much part of that clan, and i would like to think that anthony's words apply it to them as well. thank you. [applause] >> sometimes when one is asked to moderate a panel, you worry about, how can i fill the time? with this panel, my problem is, how can i get in all my questions? these three journalists have had such amazing careers. i will die in with my questions, but if you would like to ask a question, please feel free to do so. there is a microphone in the
middle. it is a free for all. i want to ask you -- i hope everyone read your incredibly poignant story about anthony's last days in syria. in your piece, you talked about how you spend months with anthony, planning this trip. can you talk about that? >> sure. especially in the wake of what we have seen happen to our colleagues over the past -- just the past year, a lot of people have been killed in syria and libya. people we have been close to as well. it just seems there is a lot of luck with these journalists. considering mark has been involved in two wars over a decade. so many journalists go. people are getting hurt and
killed along the way, but at -- but it has been concentrated over the last year. especially in our kids, from just a year before having been captured and really nearly killed in libya. anthony and i and "the new york times" extra steps to make sure the trip would go smoothly. those were not just our own preparations. contacts inside syria were also working with people we could trust. this is not about charging into a country, which is really the worst thing you can do. that feeling you have to be their first. you have to get their. we did not feel that. anthony, as he explained to me, he said, this is going to be a long war. this is going to go on.
let's do this right. let's do this safely. that meant taking a lot of precautions about which border to be crossed? who are we crossing with? people and who they really are, your life is in their hands. really, the local contact you were working with and make sure that you have the time line, which carry an emergency response to begin that tells the paper where we are at any given time, you push a button. we carry medical kits. unfortunately, at the very end of the trip, it was very unexpected in a lot of ways. >> all of you are veterans of covering conflict, but chris, what advice do you give to editors sending somebody into a conflict for the first time?
is there something they can do to prepare the reporter or the photographer for this kind of action? >> as part of your normal supervision, make sure that whoever you send has excellent judgment and someone that is in touch with you regularly. we were off satellite phones and sometimes only through e- mail. communication back and forth with the best means to be really rich and as constant as you can make it. someonethink you send who you don't think their judgment was solid, but there is a practical skill that everyone should have and far too few people have. he should not send someone who has not had the basic trauma care training. it is essential. when you're traveling with the
american military, most everyone around you have that training. it is likely there will be tourniquets and basic skills and knowledge available. in libya or syria, you'll be astonished at the number of people out there that don't have any skills. you have just minutes to save someone's life. the show can come in and you may have to work on them. that doesn't mean that you do vascular surgery, but you have to treat for shock, to a basic riyadh. -- triage. it is very important that journalists have this fundamental set of skills. a friend of ours by the of the lead loaned -- a leg wound. the friends were holding their hand, providing comfort but not first day. -- first aid.
people were taken from that scene that were wounded less seriously than them by the only available,. -- available car. i am not saying this gentleman would have survived his wounds, they were severe. we know that the aid was not administered and the tree of wasn't followed. -- triage wasn't followed. it would be nice to know that they have that very basic skill set. you can give them an emt cours. i think that is essential. >> b-picture that george mentioned on the front page of the new york times, the washington post, and others was syria and rebel soldiers
grieving over some of their dead comrades. you wrote about your dangerous trip into syria, and he said it may not have been your best photography, but it told people a lot about what was going on in syria. is it important to take those kind of pictures as well as the ones that you think might be a prize winner? >> yes, when we were, we are never thinking that far. [inaudible] we work and we tried to do our best. that picture is more emotional.
i would picture what is going on, also with the civilians. i think the risk is to show that, not only to show the fierce fighting. people are in the middle of that. they are suffering every day. [inaudible] he was living his normal life. i think it is important to show the daily life of the syrians right now. it means a lot of amazing pictures, more dramatic. it was so dangerous sometimes, i was risking my life like
every minute. we try to tell the story without being in the middle of the bombs. they were bombing from far away. if you are in that place, you are there. -- are dead. we had a camera guy with a lot of experience. i am trying to do my best in those places. besaid, rodrigo, we can't here now. it's too dangerous. and here people that really know the weapons -- [inaudible]
i have no idea what these weapons are. >> for the non-photographers, you also confronts major chaos. riots, a mass funeral, how do you focus on that one image whether it is in grieving or something that you think it tells the story. are you looking for that in particular? >> is one of the things i have observed through the years, watching other photographers that i have always admired. being in the scene, whether it is a funeral or a protest, whatever it is. i would be shooting everything in every direction. i looked at the picture, and they completely -- they got this amazing shot.
i got all this garbage, these busy pictures. i think that this still isn't so much just going and photograph everything, but knowing what your looking for when you go into that situation and having the ability to focus and tune out. it is like hunting for birds. you have to aim at one, not a flock. >> rodrigo? >> for me, it's really important to be calm in that situation. when the situation is really a chaotic, you can start running everywhere without taking a picture. because you know what you're doing.
you're trying to find a picture that illustrates the story. it is difficult. [inaudible] the situation was completely more dramatic and more chaotic than my pictures. you're calm, you have experience, you can deal with the emotions without drama, people crying, people running. it is difficult, but we try to live through >> and some members of the military have trouble with adjustments when they come home. they have come from an area
where driving down the block can be an imminent explosion, everybody carrying a backpack can be a suicide bomber. how do you go between the world that you cover and what we call the real world? >> i think about this a lot because i have five kids, my wife is here. i come back to a pretty busy life that is my real life. it is not my job. in a strange way, some of these places have been horrible weather is ground zero or the day to day in libya and afghanistan or iraq. it makes you appreciate your own good fortune. you come to a place where you don't have to worry about your community. i don't resent that, i appreciate it. you try to get some perspective
that you don't always succeed at it, because when you come back, your in your regular life. you can't really tried to superimpose one over the other and you have to leave the other one for your work situation. these guys were talking a minute ago that i would add, it might have to deal with the personality that does this year in and year out. close at the dark, five the tourniquets. they shared something that is very similar and i will air them out. some of these guys, you might be the same type, you may have a little bit of perverse personality. when things are really good,
they can be unmanageable. [laughter] and when things are really bad, you can be calm. i'm not saying that they don't feel fear, they do. if they tell you they don't, they are lying. but they manage it, they channel it, they concentrated and are very calm. they are bouncing around the inside of the tent because it's calm. when they are out there in the middle of that, i work side-by- side with photographers, i work from the field. it can be so busy and intense that is very self-organizing. you are not in those sorts of situations when your home. when you get stuck in traffic, you are just a guy stuck in traffic.
it is not so bad. >> i agree. i agree with chris a lot, you have to be able to separate as best you can what you do in the field that what you have at home. people manage that in different ways, they have different ways of coping with the stress being in the field. i heard about this with journalists at with veterans. -- and with veterans. you can see it in the field, the stress, the anchor, the fighting, all of these things that can happen. i think chris and i both have very good ways of managing those two things.
what has happened to me in the last year, this past year has been the worst year of my entire life. captured in libya, lost a very good friend in syria, i had to witness his death. and worse than that, seeing how badly it affected so many people, his family, friends, a widow, his son, his daughter. it is one thing to see something in the field, but there were these long-lasting things that really need attention. whether it is a correspondent for photographer, they think you need to be very sensitive to the level that they are coping with. it very well may not be on the
surface, i know that the paper is always offering help. somebody to talk to, and the thing. you don't even always think to ask for it yourself. he sure that you offer it to people, even if they don't think it was that bad, it is really important. >> this really affects the families. i remember when he stepped on a mine a few years ago. how is he doing, is he going to make it? there is sort of this expanding and blossom in conversation. -- and blossoming conversation. he was 2 years old in the back seat of my pickup truck, i took
the additional call. he can only hear one side but he consents by distress. what did your friend is that bonn -- step on? there were times that i was coming home, and he'd look at me and say, how come you're not hurt? what my wife goes through and my kids go through when i am away, it makes you feel like you have to worry about your universe. not just how he is doing in this room. -- in the newsroom. you can get your way around the
pain of that. a little bit. but take a good look at the families, this is a real burden. it is like what the soldiers go through or the victims that are caught up. they may not be right there seeing it, but they are living it. they can sense things we are not saying when we come home. >> you have a different circumstance that you don't cover conflict all the time. you might be taking pictures with a box camera that you found in afghanistan one day. how do you deal with covering peaceful topics and then going back to war? >> i live in central america, i cover haiti, mexico.
they are not easy countries, but it is not open war like libya. but i think that i don't know if i can go and do this like six months a year or nine months a year covering wars. early, i am more fresh going to these places. coming back, i am doing a project about by and women -- mayan women. i don't know any other story. when i go to pakistan, it's in a different way. not always the world. so i am not tired.
i am never tired of going because i spent the early part of the year doing trips, and a normal life. other stories. that is good. my mother says all the time, why are you not going to the olympics? why haiti? [laughter] talking about family, they don't really understand why you go to afghanistan. i think it is important to do it. a good thing working for -- [inaudible] you are not just working for one newspaper, you are working for all of them. sometimes our pitchers are
published everywhere. -- pictures are published everywhere. it is important to do it, to do mixed stories. if i work hard and latin america, nobody cares. >> chris, you are a bit of a hybrid. before you were a journalist, you were a marine. as you cover the marines as a journalist, but you find that they help or a hindrance --do you find that a help or a hindrance? do you tell people up front that you were in the marines, or do you wait and see what the situation is? withdon't have a choice that anymore, before you show up, they know a lot about you and they have read what you have done. at this point, there is no
lowballing that. mostly it helps. helps a lot. there are things that got drilled in the by dna what i was young that you can't get rid of -- into my dna what i was young that you can't get rid of. but what i am walking patrol, i am hyper vigilant. i usually set of the patrol order beforehand, i can sometimes anticipate things that are happening before they happen. it puts you in the right place and keep you safe, and it helps me make a good risk assessment about whether i wanted to this particular patrol. i will shoulder risk for readers, but i will just go out there and what the patrol because i want to. there has to be a reason or a pursuit. you have to come back inside the wire, as they say.
but sometimes, it hurts. i will give you an example. there was a patrol the i was on, it has happened a few times, where your state of knowledge is high. you come to a point where the patrol is not behaving the way they you think it should be. in one case, a patrol was taking the left just short of the canal and i thought that they should scoot over the bridge. i thought there was a building over there that was dangerous. i wanted to be on their side of the canals of that you can sweep the building. there was a boat in the canal, i knew it was he. if we end up in the canal, we will drown today.
but i did not say anything, it is not my job. you're not there to take over the patrol. if someone gets hurt, from that minute forward, you own that casualties. you have to be quiet on patrol. the tyler and i were a lot of patrol a couple weeks ago, and they were bunched up. these kids have never been shot at. you know when you are moving with a group that has had a lot of combat, of this particular day, i decided not to say anything. i almost said, you might want to scoot over to that side of the bridge. we got shot at from the building, got shot through the spine. not like i was withholding information from the patrol, i just had a hunch.
every time you have a hunch, you can't interfere with the patrol. but this is where it hurts. i think about the patrol, i will say every day, but every week. -- won't say every day, but every week. >> the navy is conducting a study in the military troops that they sometimes get a sixth sense or spidey sense for danger that's imminent. does this come from experience? >> i think that comes from experience in the sense that specifically, if you talk about control and afghanistan, you can feel when something is going to happen. that often comes from experience. when you send people out, they
are going with trained soldiers and marines, they watch them. they do what they do and follow their movements. that is something that i have always tried to keep in mind. if something happens unexpectedly, the most unusual and unexpected thing usually happens. because, as chris was saying, you are attached to that. if you suddenly go running off in the other direction, they will have to go and get you. you have to go where they go, sometimes it is not where you want to go. sometimes they want to go right
into the fight. there are certain courses offering training for these kind of things. the real field experience, that is why is important. about to jump into the big and complex right away, to start off with lower level complex and at least get some of that experience and awareness about how these things work. >> a lower level conflict that i covered was a vote of rest. i was with -- was civil unrest. i smelled something, it was embers in my hair. i said to the photographer, they pay you to get close, they paid me to get the story.
so i went to talk to the fire fighters. how much is too much? when does a good picture take over from saving your hide? >> reporters, we need to be there. very near, sometimes. that is more risky. feelou're asking when we it's really dangerous. in syria, days before the army launched a big attack. they were very concerned about not showing their face, they want to cover their faces. it was dangerous, but calm.
they forgot about you. i took all the pictures. you feel the danger there because they were quiet and running. you can feel at that moment, things are really getting closer. sometimes you understand the danger when you see faces of people that you're trying to photograph. in their terms, you can see it in their face. >> is it hard to stop shooting at times? >> it is. but with experience, you learn to stop.
i have done incredibly stupid things in my life, and i have been lucky. there is something to be said for this element of competition in the field. it can be very dangerous. and you have a certain number of people that want to go back. when jim and chris were killed, chris was a very old friend of mine. we'd known him for years. he was done for the day. they got hard-core pictures of fighting that day. he talked to his fiancee on the phone, we might just wandered out to the port. -- wander down to the port. other photographers wanted to go back and wanted to get a
picture. this group mentality takes over. what if they go and they get something? he jumps in the truck and get killed in our later. -- gets killed an hour later. not having the pressure from your editors, so and so got this picture and you didn't. anyone in those places, it is really dangerous and sometimes it is not as clear from the home base. if you see a picture of a guy firing a gun, getting to that place was probably 10 times more dangerous. you never know where rock is going to hit. the arabs spring continues to go on.
it is important to not have the pressure to have that picture or story because somebody else has it. the stakes are too high right now. >> chris, what are your thoughts about risk assessment of your choosing whether or not to go into an area to get a particular story. >> you think you can understand the readers with your day, you pursue your day that way. i will give you an example. trusting your people in the field. i will give you a really good
example. we were rolling all day, a classic afghan fire fight with his platoon was pushing to miles beyond where they were normally going. there were probably five or six working a platoon. they would shoot at them, everyone would scatter into buildings and collar around. -- crawl around. kids would come out and beat the sheep out of the way and the firefight would start again. a guy got shot. it was an important time in may of 2010.
there were 20,000 marines in this province, it was going to be about fighting season. -- a bad fighting season. we knew some of these guys, we had been in firefights earlier in the year. there were usual questions like timing, and i have been killed, we wanted to take pictures of -- a guy had been killed and we wanted to take pictures of his memorial. if we walk into the wire, there was another patrol out. there is a tree-line, we both
felt the urge to be out there on the patrol. look at the pictures on the disk. we are looking at this thing like it is our job to be here. we haven't even violent what we got. i think there is a value going down there. if we are going to get her, the guy who doesn't get hurt needs to be able to tell the families why. if we go out on the patrol, what do we tell the paper?
what do i tell bill? that is a really important matrix. there is journalism at other things going into it. the photographers are out there working the dotted line. you have to trust them to know when to back out. it would also have been a distract them. -- a been a distraction. we are going through this calculus every day out there. i don't need to go up to that intersection of because i know what is up there and i may not come back. >> sometimes, i am the kind of guy that says, we need to go.
dodge that is what we were going through that night, we were sitting there. it is like a light show at sunset, only a few field the way, a quick walk. we say we are out a lot, we are. when you run a good marine unit or a good army units, those guys have been living in a year at a time. they are very relaxed about it. you can fall into that state of mind. and you have constant checks and balances to pull themselves back. it becomes more manageable. you have the managers of even more intensely. -- you have to manage yourself even more intensely. >> from the news room, photographing, sometimes you
have to wait to blog. does it make you a better photographer to have that constant pressure to produce, or does it get in the way of doing a more in-depth job? >> a tweet, facebook post or blog is as good as the content. if this is good, it makes you better, if it is garbage, it is a waste of time. only sundays does that sparkle. i think that we obsess of little too much of the tools make you better or not. we have the tools, but if we are going to do with, it needs to be good. nobody wants to be the boring newspaper like nobody wants to read a boring tweet.
>> multimedia content is more -- four still photographers to shoot a video, write something, it gets too much. you have to know your limits. i don't do a lot of that kind of stuff. you can kind of keep your bare drop -- to your bare job. if some people can split up their skills more, i am not great at standing out. >> the moment, you have seconds to take a picture. you don't have 10 or 20 different moments. you have two or three moments in a day.
[inaudible] -- you take the picture or the video. not in a perfect way, but the best way possible. it is difficult. for me, i never received any pressure. the pressure is at least mine. i want to show the story in the best way. i want to go again and again. and sometimes these guys stop you. tyler, you were once interviewed by chris. he asked you how it has changed you personally, smoking,
drinking, exercise? >> chris exposed a lot of my history on that one. the probably took it easy on me. if you are going out into place, you have to be healthy. you have to be able to stay up with -- i am 42 years old, you go out on patrol with these guys that are between 18 and 25 years old. you have to be able to keep up with these guys. sometimes it is straight of about 10 or having to run 300 meters. -- straight up a mountain or having to run 300 meters. there are no -- chris and i both run, go to the gym.
we hope that the young guys around us smoke a lot and have slowed themselves out as much as possible. it has changed me a lot, and not just the physical stuff. but the way that you value life, friends get hurt, get killed, you learn to value life more. every time i go home, i spent time with my parents, my friends. you really appreciate what you have, especially how people are living. libya and syria this year, the
way that people live there are atrocious. i think, i am really lucky. your physical mental health are the of important things that you have. >> you just debunked the myth of the hard drinking, hard smoking war correspondent. >> i had my sleeping bag, soldiers were helping me. now i have becomed more disciplined. i have the correct box, and i'm not bothering anybody. i can work myself.
also, i have to be fit. if you have to walk of 40 degrees, and you can't do it, are you killed in syria or the soldiers in afghanistan? you have a no-losing perspective. [inaudible] i'm thinking that things can be really worse. this is not so bad. >> i think you said that it was important not just for your well-being but the people that you are with that you are fit. so that you don't put anyone else in danger.
>> if someone has to divert their resources, time, and attention to help you, and something happens on that control, you are accountable for that. you represent the industry, your newspaper, your wire service, magazine, a network. you have to make the impression of being a serious human being. whether it is libya and rebels or syria rebels or chechnyan gunmen, you had better be able to make it. you better not slow them down or need help. if you get hurt, you are part of it and you will get the hell, but you better not need attention because you can't keep up. i wondered whether i would get
out of this beat. i often think, the first patrol i lag on will be the day that i stopped, or if i get hurt. i don't think i could face myself if i knew that i slowed a patrol down. if you go out there like tyler said, you have to have life habits. you can't say i'm going on a you can't say i'm going on a six-hour patrol today. you don't know when you're coming back. things are going on and on. you have to be a bill tohang -- be able to hang. >> like a few days, one week. went sitting in syria, we
through 40 meters. you'rere not fit, risking yourself and the group. it can be danger not only for your life, but for all of it. >> i know that there must be some questions. do we have a microphone here? >> i guess this is a question of rod fourrigo mo -- of rodrigo mostly. some newspapers ran the name of the boy and his father's name, some did not. just describing it in general terms.
i wonder if you can speak to those kinds of specifics and whether you think they are important, and whether they are important in humanizing the situation. and whether that matters. >> each situation is completely different. because you write the name of the person whose picture is going to risk their lives, you don't do it. there were examples and syria, it was there phase at their names. you have to respect that. you always have to respect that. if somebody reads my name, they are going to kill me. if someone looks at my picture, they will kill my relatives.
you have to respect people you're taking pictures of. professionally a thing, it is a human thing. in terms of that picture, i don't think there were any problems riding the name of the little boy -- writing the name of the little boy. i don't think it was a problem. >> [inaudible] >> there are cases where if you do it, even if you think it is correct, you are really putting into real danger the life of that person. >> we withhold names all the time if we think that lives are in jeopardy.
it is not every day, but it is not uncommon. there was an informant in forming against the president of chechnya. we waited until they got their family members out of chechnya and out of russia. a lot of times, you have to look to your conscience, not just that your -- at your scoop. >> yes, sir. >> i'm the former editor of the austin american statesman. you talk about battle coverage very appropriately. my question is more toward the broad, overarching story of what this means, how and why of the story. it seems to me that you do that
much more, summing up the pathway of a nation and its battle. cultural shifts, strategic issues that are pretty hard to pin down. you are doing that story amid chaos. you only have one or two or three sets of ties rather than vast platoons of reporters or photographers. your resources can be good sources, but they can be bad, too. how different is it coming up with the howl and why story -- how and why story? when do you know that you have it? when you come to grips with that? >> when you talk about the pathway of the nation, do you talk about the nation's in
which we are working or this nation? >> [inaudible] >> i would like to pop the balloon here. we talk about what we do as if it is fascinating and important. it is a smaller part of a much larger enterprise. we cover field hospitals, rebels, front lines, or live back from the front, how it is affected. the way that you cover a war is not just to go to the frontline. you have to go to the cemetery, the mosque, the church, the congress, tracking what candidates are saying. you have to have reporters on both sides of that point to the extent it is possible. it's not really possible with
the taliban at this point. toon't think that i have write a story that defied the decade of war. i don't take that as possible. i think i would look back on it and laugh at. everybody's work fits in with everybody else's. you make this great big mosaic. some days i have to back up and provide some of the more broader views. sometimes the editors asked for it, sometimes i feel it in my bones. you get a point of view. about a lot of things. sometimes it finds its way into my copy. sometimes it is a magazine piece. but i try to keep in
perspective. i don't think that at the end of my career, my body of work is going to tell you that much. i hope it will answer the question you said. you can't swing for the fences every day. >> [inaudible] >> it tells a big story, thank you. but it doesn't tell the entire story. i rely on those that do things differently. i am really glad that there are people that do it well. i remember in the marine corps, i was committed to it. how does eric schmidt know things about the marine corps that i don't know. it was really good, it was really true.
i was in that culture, and he was adding to my understanding of it. if you have a good picture or a good story, you can increase the reader's understanding a notch, that's great. three notches is incredible. re-order the world with one story, i can't do that. >> bill with usa today. the lead story in the times this morning is the u.s. joint effort to equip and pay rebels in syria. based on your time and experience, what is the nature and capability of this opposition that america is now supporting? >> having spent a good amount of time in libya at the beginning of that conflict, something i can say about the abilities, something that i
touched dodd and the article that i wrote for the paper -- touched on in the article that i wrote for the paper. you have defectors from the syrian army. they are small in number, but they are skilled, military people. it may not look different from a bunch of guys with weapons running around the field. when you were there, the organization and skills that is much higher -- and skill set is much higher. when they get money and weapons, which is what i have heard that they are about to get, it is not going to make their ability a lot higher, but it will cause a much bigger flood of defections.
i think that they will have an impact. and reflecting what anthony said, the hour before he died, i was standing next to him when the people that were helping us did a little interview, you are about to head to the borders with sunset. this is actually the last question that anyone asked him. do you think that we will be successful? do you think we will win this war? he said, i do. i think you will be successful, but it will take a very long time. >> i think it is fitting that we and with anthony's last
words. i appreciate the service that you do, i value the work that you do, and i thank you for your generous donation of time today. [applause] >> this week, the first in a series of interviews with cable executives and communications regulators at the 2012 cable show. tonight, a discussion with the president and ceo of the national cable television association, a depaul. that is tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. republican presidential candidate, mitt romney, spent the day with veterans in san diego, calif., where he participated in a ceremony with
john mccain of arizona, a former navy captain and former prisoner of war. [applause] >> it is now my honor to introduce a person that needs no introduction in this community, a fellow naval academy graduate, a fellow retired navy captain, a former prisoner of war, recipient of the purple heart and other combat awards. the veteran who very honorably served his nation and continues to serve his country. welcome senator mccain. [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. thank you. it is wonderful to be the most
pro military city in this -- in america, san diego. it's wonderful to be here. memorial day and all of the people from arizona are coming. when you see them driving on the wrong side of the street, don't say a thing. send us back all of this water you have stolen, please. [laughter] i want to say a great job. remarkable and moving. it's a tough act to follow. veterans like to take a few digs at each other and on occasion, i mentioned when i graduated from the naval academy, i tried to get into the marine corps, but my parents were married. [laughter] i used to tell that fairly often until i had a son in the marine corps in the first marine
division, who once informed me, he said dad, the marine corps is part of the navy department, the men's department. i'm not sure if that's true or not. thank you for being here. i am especially honored to be on the same stage with a great friend, a great man, a great governor, and a man who i believe is fully qualified to be commander-in-chief, governor mitt romney. [applause] we are very grateful he is here. he believes in american exceptional some. he believes the 21st century will also be an american century.
i am confident of his leadership and i know of his support for veterans and their families. in my youth, i observed memorial day as many americans will today, as the unofficial beginning of summer and a good day for outdoor recreation. a day off of work to play golf and softball, to go fishing, have picnics, go to the beach, however, i have found the older i become, the more meaning memorial day holds. whether you served in uniform not, memorial day is a time for retrospection and appreciation of the sacrifices made on our behalf. in addition to the picnics and celebrations, and this weekend all across the country, buglers will sound taps to remind us of the day that this commemorates.
soldiers from the third u.s. infantry brigade will place a small american flag at the head stone of more than a quarter million graves. headstones that bear names of every ethnic origin that mark the final resting places of professional soldiers, conscripts, rich and poor, christian, jew, islam, believers and nonbelievers, dark skin and white, city dwellers and people from small towns and rural communities, teachers and machinists, day laborers and presidents. families in every place in america -- [inaudible]
[shouting and jeering] [applause] >> jerk. [applause] my friends, families in every place in america have a relative or ancestor buried there. besides their common humanity, only one thing for certain connects each of these men and women intered in arlington and veterans resting in all our cemeteries and fields around the world. they love our country and risk everything to defend it. at gettysburg, iwo jima,
midway, case on, can the hearth and felicia, all of these battles, all of these tests of courage and character that made a legend of the combat veterans devotion to duty in every community in america, a lesson in courage and patriotism that helps instruct those who defend the country today in their duties. it instructs those of us who will not have the privilege and the burden of bearing arms for our country. our country does not attend on the heroism of every citizen. all of us should be worthy of the sacrifices made on our behalf. we have to love our freedom, not just for the private opportunities it provides, but for the goodness it makes possible. we have to love it as much, even if not as a heroically as
those who defend us. we must love them and have to argue about it and serve their interests in whichever way our abilities permit and are conscious requires. you know as well as i that the world we live-in is an uncertain one. it holds dangerous for us and everyone for whom freedom is a habit of the heart. man's inhumanity to man is an evil that will never be entirely extinct. no matter how long a piece in doors, it's always temporary. americans will always be asked again to bear burdens that only the brave can endure. that burden will be their honor as it once was ours. but it is a better world that
our fathers inherited and their fathers before them. a world purchase that great and terrible costs by sacrifices on killing grounds that are now green fields and quiet beaches and in peaceful corners of the world. we should be proud of what they did, proud and humble. humble in the knowledge that we enjoy our freedom because of the devotion of americans who sacrificed greatly to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. those americans for whom a duty, honor, their comrades and love of country were more dear to them that life itself. when the time came for them to answer their country's call and fight on a field they did not know, they came. on small islands, dense jungle
and mountain sides, in the air, on and below the water, they served the country that sent them there. in the fog of hard battles won and lost, they held high lantern of courage and face that eliminated the way home with honor. history does not remember all of them as individuals. we don't even know where they all rest. but we must not forget what they did. their honor is eternal and will live within our country for so long as she remains worthy of their sacrifice. there were family and friends to some, he rose to assault, who lived, fought, and died for the safety and future have a great and good nation. god bless them, and grant them a perpetual peace. thank you. [applause]
what an honor it is to be here with you today. to have you join in celebration of our nation's euros. thank you for your introduction. i'm not sure which hat that belongs to in terms of the branches of the service, but i don't think it is going to be adopted any time soon, but it's keeping your head out of the sun. senator mccain, a national treasure, thank you for being here and honoring our veterans. [applause] we are gathered in the memory of the greatest generation and of the great men and women of every generation to serve in our armed services. greatness in a people and i believe is measured by the extent to which they will give themselves to something bigger than themselves, the sacrifice for a cause of significance. when that sacrifice is self and for purposes and principles >
self, surpasses our greatest understanding, we have because that -- we call that heroic. we are a nation that has been formed and preserved by heroes. john mccain is one of them. [applause] he likes to joke he has the capacity to fly his aircraft into enemy missile. the truth is his heroism was climbing into that plane in the first place and going into harm's way and then come as a prisoner of war, being offered an opportunity to return home and turning it down, saying instead he would consent only if his colleagues and of those who are brought to the prison camp before him when come first. an american hero of courage, conviction, and character. [applause]
in this large audience, there are a number of heroes here today. we just heard from our veteran of the year and others, but there are others i would like to mention. not because they are the only heroes in the room, but because they represent a greatness of the american spirit and the veterans heart. one is donovan levitt, listed -- enlisted in 1953 and served in korea and vietnam. he risked his life to rush out and rescue and other soldiers. he received the purple heart and silver star for bravery. he says he doesn't understand why people call him a hero, but we do. would you please stand and be recognized? [applause] thank you.
thank you. capt. laughlin was flying the be 24 liberator, a model which we have right behind us. in april 1924 over europe, he was shot down in romania, taken prisoner. he was awarded the purple heart and a presidential unit citation. please stand and be recognized by your friends. [applause] jack richard evans, a seaman second class, was 17 years old when he was stationed on the uss tennessee on the day of the pearl harbor attacks. he was a lookout and and ash -- as he was looking at the
aircraft coming into the ship, he looked into the very eyes of the japanese pilot before he was wounded. he received a purple heart. he went on to become a navy pilot and reached the rank of captain and served in the second world war and korea and vietnam and retired after 33 years in the navy. please join me in recognizing captain jack evans. [applause] amazing. [applause] all those is served in our military or who are now serving in our military, will you please stand and be recognized. [applause] quite a group. back thank you.
-- thank you. if a person's greatness is measured by their willingness to greatness a nation's is also measured in the same way. some years ago, when i happen to be serving in my state of massachusetts, we had a visit from the then president of israel. he was taken to an apartment and a small group of us have lunch with him. someone in the group said to him what do you think about america's conflict in iraq? this was in the early stage of the conflict. he said before i answer all of that question, i have to put it in context. america, he said, is unique in history of the world. in the history of the world, when one nation has been successful in combat over another, they take land because it is a source of value on the
planet. one nation he said, in history, has been willing to lay down the lives of hundreds of thousands of sons and daughters and take no land in return. america is unique. america is exceptional in the history of the world. general colin powell and on to say the only land america has taken is enough land to bury our dead. i'm proud to be a citizen of the greatest nation in the history of the earth. [applause] our love of freedom, our love of our nation and our willingness to sacrifice for the greatness of this land continues today. sons and daughters and a family to sacrifice innumerable ways for this countries. at the end of my term serving as governor, was invited by the department of defense to go to
iraq and afghanistan to toward various sites there and see soldiers who were serving from my state. it was a privilege as we went from base to base, camp to camp, and i got to say hello to our soldiers. after awhile, i said i want to make a request. if you would like me to talk to your spouse when i get home and tell them how well you look, take out a piece of paper and write down their phone number and their name. you're not married, give me your parents' names and i will talk to them. by the time i left, had 63 pieces of paper in my pocket. i thought this is going to take a long time to make 63 calls. i got home the night before memorial day. the next morning as i woke up, i thought before the kids wake up and we have the day together, why don't i make three or four calls to get started on this long list i have. i started making the calls and after the second or third call,
the woman who answered the phone says hello, governor romney, i thought that might be calling a. i said what you mean? she said you called a couple of the spouses this morning and after you called, we e-mail our spouses in the theater and told us you call them the e-mail that their buddies and said to expect your call, so i expected you to be calling today. so i made 63 calls on memorial day. [applause] i was a little concerned, a little nervous because this was at a time when the conflict was not going quite so well. there were some in politics who said we had lost in iraq and we should just go home. some thought we should just throw in the towel. i knew as i called there might
be some who were inclined to ask me what we were doing there and when could their loved one come home and why were they serving in such danger. in 63 calls, most of which were answered by someone at home, not one person criticized or critique or challenged our mission. in every case, i would end the call by saying on behalf of the commonwealth of massachusetts and behalf of our great country, i want to express my appreciation to you for the sacrifice your family is making and your loved one is making in the service of his or her country. they would either wait until i was finished or interrupt me and say roughly these words -- no, it's an honor to be able to sacrifice for the nation which is the hope of the earth. we love this great land. [applause]
i wish i could tell you the world is a safe place today. it's not. iran is rushing to become a nuclear nation. as a national sponsor of terror around the world, the thought of fissile material in the hands of terrorists is unthinkable. pakistan is home to 100 nuclear weapons. china is on the road to becoming a military superpower. russia is rebuilding their military and is led by a man who believes the soviet union was a great as opposed to evil empire. hugo chavez is campaigning for power and mexico is under siege from the cartels and in the middle east, the arab spring has become an arab winter. the world is not safe. we have two courses we could follow. one is to fall europe and shrink our military smaller and smaller to pay for social needs.
they rely on the strength of america and hope for the best. we could follow that kind of course. there would be no one who would stand to protect us. the other is to preserve america has the strongest military in the world with no comparable power anywhere in the world. [applause] we choose that course in america not so that we win wars, but so we can prevent wars because a strong america is the best deterrent to war there has ever been invented. [applause] today, we honor those who served. we dedicate ourselves to strength and preserving the freedom for which they gave their lives and walked in harm's way.
as the greatest generation sees its life slowly fading, our duty is to take the torch they carried so gallantly and bravely which -- with such great sacrifice. is a torch of freedom and decency and hope and democracy. it is not america's torch, but it is america's duty and honor to hold it high enough so the entire world can see it's light. i love this great country. i love the people of america. i love those great men and women who serve in our armed forces today. god bless this nation, keep it strong and keep us true to the values and principles upon which it was founded. god bless america, and god bless you on this great day. thank you very much. [applause]
>> thank you for joining in on this memorial day event. continue supporting your veterans and the active military. thank you for your service. [applause] ♪ >> at this week on "the communicator's" the first in a series of interviews with cable executives and communications regulators. tonight, our discussions with the national communications and television association president and ceo, michael powell. then the chairman of time warner cable trade that's tonight at 8:00 eastern on c- span2. earlier this month, the combating terrorism center at west point release some of the documents seized during the navy seal team arrayed that resulted in the killing of a some of the modern one year ago. tomorrow, the lead author of the
report will speak at the new america foundation in washington d.c. watch new -- watch coverage on c-span beginning at 12:15 eastern. medal of honor recipients gathered at the reagan library to talk about their experiences. speaking to an audience of several hundred middle and high school students, veterans talked about the importance of community service. hosted by the annenberg presidential learning center and the congressional medal of honor foundation, this is one hour 15 minutes. >> for those of you i have not had the good fortune to meet, i am the director of the annenberg presidential learning center here at the ronald reagan presidential foundation. the video you have just seen is an introduction to the amazing work being done by the congressional medal of honor foundation. today, you will have the
opportunity to witness firsthand the power of this program. before we start our discussion, it's a tradition to honor our men and women in uniform by saying the pledge of allegiance and of the young men of boy scout troop 54 will lead us in that. please rise. >> i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands one nation, under god, indivisible with liberties and justice for all. >> thank you very much and please be seated. before i invite our special guest to the stage, i would like to the point out a few people we
have an audience who are here to suggest learning doesn't stop when the bell rings or when your diplomat inferred. we have in the audience today, roy and christina. he is the son of a medal of honor recipient. we have in the audience a corporal benjamin robert smith and his wife. he's a recipient of the victoria cross, which is the preeminent award for acts of bravery in wartime and australia's highest military honor. thank you for joining us all away from australia. [applause] from our partners at the congressional medal of honor foundation, we have a number of members and their board as well as family members that i want to recognize. [reading names] all of the family members of our
panelists who are here today, thank you for coming. [applause] from the office and the california state senator, we have ms. linda johnson. i would also like to recognize all the veterans and active duty military to have joined us today. please stand and be recognized for your service to our country. [applause] in remarks to the congressional medal of honor society in 1983, president ronald reagan said "freedom, we must always remember, is never more than one generation away from extinction. each generation must do whatever is necessary to preserve it and
passed on to the next, or it would be lost forever." i speak to our audience of students when i say i hope you recognize both parts of what president reagan said about freedom. each generation must do their part to preserve freedom. our speakers today represents some of america's best efforts to preserve freedom over the generations. but that's not enough. president reagan points out passing it on from one generation to the next. the team at the congressional medal of honor foundation has put together a remarkable curriculum which invites students to delve into the stories of medal of honor recipients and explore important concepts like courage, commit, sacrifice, patriotism, integrity, and citizenship. it's one of the finest examples i have seen of how we can best pass on our values from one generation to the next. when we talk about education today, much of the discussion
that happens in the media and politics in general revolves around tests. students in the audience know what i am talking about. from kindergarten onward, you have been tested continuously, some might say relentlessly, so much so that the word test itself causes a physical reaction that is not a positive one. your scores in literacy and math are used to evaluate what you have learned and how well your schools and teachers have done teaching it to you. yes spelling test, vocabulary tests, math tests, physical education tests. just when you think you have been tested enough, you spent a week or to filling in the bubbles on the state test exam. i was in the classroom for years that we called these high-stakes tests. but i want to let you in on a secret. the test you take a classroom are not the real high-stakes tests. the tests you take outside of the classroom, the test you can't really prepare for are the
real task. a real test is standing up to one of your friends if you think they're being a bully. a real test is being honest when it would be easier to lie. a real test is when you are on patrol in the french countryside and your platoon comes under heavy fire from german machine guns and mortars. sgt walter e. larsen was in that same position when he scrambled on to a mound of earth to draw the attention of the machine guns and other members of his platoon could flee to safety. a real test is when you are flying a medevac helicopter in thick jungle fog in close range enemy fire trying to rescue fellow soldiers. in january of 1968, major general patrick brady flew in these conditions and despite the 400 blow holes found in helicopters flew that day, he was able to rescue more than 50 men. a real test is when infantry
commander closes the landings and to any further operations because of the intensity of heavy fire, but you know american forces are in desperate need of ammunition and aid. and these circumstances, colonel bruce crandall made flights delivering ammunition and evacuating wounded men. a real test is when despite not having slept for 36 hours, you and your men are loaded into a landing craft, said down river to join and tense battle. colonel j. vargas, in this situation, managed to carry fellow marines through hundreds of yards of intense enemy fire to get them to a safe evacuation point. only after three days of battle did he allow himself to be treated for bullet and shrapnel into suffered. these are the tests and no amount of cramming can fully prepare you for. lucky for us, we have role models like our panelists today who are willing to pass on their lessons of bravery and sacrifice
panel today by asking you to reflect -- the name of the curriculum is called lessons of personal bravery and self sacrifice. i would like to start off by asking you to reflect on what that means a given your experience and then we will turn to our student audience for questions. if i could start here and then head to the left. >> my name is walter now was born and raised in the state of kansas. when world war two broke out in europe, i was going to a high- school. my grandfather who was actually a german born here in the united states, he told us we are going to have a war with germany or
something like this. in 1940, when i graduated from high school, my brother and i decided we wanted to join the army. he was 4 years older than i, so we went down to the fort in kansas and my life changed from the time i had to go home and get my mother's signature. she looked me in the i and my dad said he would sign it and my mom said with tears in her eyes, son, i wrote will only sign if you promise to be a christian soldier. i was shocked. i promised her i would do my very best and i remembered that from that time on, he made the impression on me that if i wasn't going to be a christian
soldier, i would dishonor. i took that with me all the way through my military career. i did not do anything unusual, and i did not do anything that would dishonor, and i did not want to dishonor god. that is aware lived my life and i had a terrific military career. i have five years in the military service and i had five landings and eight campaigns and i went all the way from casablanca and french morocco and landed in sicily and omaha beach in normandy. that is how i got started and my life has been changed ever since and it was the best thing that ever happened to me when she told me that. i can still remember as clear as
today those tears in her eyes were coming straight from heart. i lived my life and the best thing that happened to me in military service was when my brother got killed. -- the baddest thing that happened. i remember all of these soldiers and all of these years and i have been back several times. it is an honor to go back and respect the lives of these people. i saw some many people killed on d-day. i talk to schools all the time and i have to tell you one little thing. one little girl asked me how many people did i kill? i said i didn't kill any people. i said i wasn't trying to kill
people, i was trying to kill the enemy and they were trying to kill me. so i am probably here today because i did what i had to do and it did not make any special efforts. but i did learn a lot from my mother and that is what kept me straight and honest throughout military service. [applause] >> walt has me all choked up. my name is pat brady. i am universally known as the greatest helicopter pilot that ever lived. [laughter] you are privileged today to meet
the greatest and the second greatest of all of that is questionable. i have been a member of the battle of honor society for many years. i know i don't look that old. the greatest thing we have ever done in our society, and we have done a lot of things with young people and veterans, with every cause we thought was right and just, but the greatest thing we have ever done is this educational program you are here to learn about. they asked a guy if you had to do it all over again, would you do it differently? we can't. we have had our time and we are out of the arena. we can't live our lives over again. we can live our lives over again through young people. we have been there and you have never been where we have been. i had a boss of mind -- i really
screwed something that bad, and he said to me pat, don't feel bad. no one is a total loss. they can only serve as a bad example. [laughter] we are here as kind of a bad example. we want to steer the young people around the obstacles we face. you have all heard of the programs where golfers go out and teach things like honesty, integrity, essential elements of golf to young people through professional golf. our program goes out to teach patriotism, courage, sacrifice, what a true hero is and how to define a hero to the experiences of those of us who where the metal. that is what we are useful for and that is what we are dedicated to. this is a great thing we do.
we are happy to do it and i look forward to your questions. [applause] >> my name is bruce crandall. it always nice to get the microphone after pat. you might think half the people who got the medal of honor or helicopter pilots. that's not so. we had six total, i think during the war although we had some of the heaviest losses in combat. one of the privileges i had was commanding u.s. troops in combat. one of the greatest responsibilities i had was commanding troops in combat. last week, i spent five days at fort jackson, going through some of the training our troops to in basic training and i can hardly
walk now. i'm not fit for basic training anymore. 61 years ago, i graduated from high school and i was in the same situation as many of you. i was 5 foot 6 and weighed 143 pounds. i didn't know what i was going to do except i was going to play baseball. instead, i got drafted by the army in some of the yankees or the orioles. my batting average is three times my grade point. not too bad if you are graduating still. i ended up making a career out of the army. part of it was because i had been raised in a home that the service's one of the requirements. my father served in the navy, my
uncles had served in the navy, and my mother went to work in a shipyard as a welder. a great uncle came to live with us so he could help take care of us. my grandmother lived with us. we learn by example during the war what we owe to our country and how lucky we were to be in our country. the young people of today are probably the best generation we will ever have. some guy wrote an article about the second world war and said they were the greatest generation. so we always have the greatest generation. we are trying to pass on a legacy to you young folks so that you understand that courage is not a battlefield example. you all will have situations where you will be required to have courage, to say no when his
dog proper answer, when others of the angus come to stand up for what is right. you will learn teamwork and relationships in your school life and then your real life. hopefully ever have to sit on the battlefield. no one hates war more than zero warrior. we as a group feel that way -- no one hates war more than zero warrior. the average age of this group is my age, and i don't want to talk about that. [laughter] we have three young guys that came on and they dropped our average age by one year. that did not make me feel any younger. i am real supporter of the program, and i am willing to help in any way i can to see that it gets to our young people.
even in australia, i will be glad to know the teatime is ahead of time. thank you very much for having me here and it is a pleasure to be in the reagan library again. [applause] >> good morning. the first thing i will say it's to the teachers and all the employees that work in the schools around our nation, especially the state of california. thank you for everything you are doing with our young generation. i have been in your shoes. i love to teach, still do, and i know the hardship she were going through in making great citizens out of these people that are here today and throughout the state of california. to ben and emma, thank you very
much for being here, and the rest of the australian team, is always an honor to meet another warrior who has been highly decorated. it is an honor to be in your company. thank you very much. a guess i am a little different than some of the -- i am not a helicopter pilot. i was in the marine corps, and a company commander. i did save about seven of my marines by going back into the battle and going forward with those that were knocked down, including my battalion commander. but there is more to that story. it tied in with an golden keys that my brothers gave to me. on the that i was about to go in to the corps. a lot of what transpired in my particular situation is based on
those keys, and i am going to share them with you. hopefully some of you can put them in your pocket and maybe use a couple of them. i parents were immigrants could my mother was from italy and my dad was from spain. two of her sons were in world war ii. one fought on iwo jima and one fought in open now. --okinawa. the case they get me as i was departing one evening from a small town in northern arizona real very useful. it all came true. my mother, for example, already had three marines, one in korea and to in world warii --two in world war ii. when i came home, i was
devastated, having not been able to climb that ladder all the way up, but i had a wonderful father taught me, just look out for you went up the ladder. it was an honor, too. then i decided i wanted to go into the officers' corps and was in the marine corps. my mother had convinced my three brothers that you get in there, you sit down with him and tell him he is going to the navy. he is not going to be a marine. that evening, she took my brother and my dad and told him to go start the car, we are going for ride. his conversation did not last very long. my brother says, we have been told by mom to convention not to go in the marine corps like we did.
-- to convince you not to go in the marine corps like we did. my older brother and the los that if you don't, we are going to break your legs. [laughter] they were all highly decorated. they did not receive the highest awards, but they received quite a bit. the golden teased as they sat with that evening with me, i want to pass them on to the young people -- a golden keys. always said a good example. set your standards high. always take care of your fellow men. the third one was kind of tough. whatever you do, don't ever ask a marine or anyone you are leading to do anything, in peacetime or in combat, that you would not do. how does that relate to you? if you go back to the first one, setting in your standards and examples high. at this stage in life, you should be writing down some
objectives, but make them reachable objectives. be yourself. believe in yourself. believing your god, or whatever supreme being you believe in. always take care of each other. truly take care of each other. learn to do it now and make your friendships today, because friendship at your level right now will always be forever. like the rest of us, and still close to my high school and appears that i had when i was growing up. we still communicate. take care of each other. in my time, and then there's, we did not have drugs. how did not know what those work. the main thing was, you don't need it. the energy that you can create within your little hearts and your bodies and minds is within you right now. it is a god-given gift.
i will conclude by simply saying that enjoy life, it is truly a one time around. right now is when you want to establish yourself into what you want to be in the future, a great citizen, a great leader, a great future teacher, and educator, whatever dimension you want to get into. what promise me that you will take some of these golden keefe and used them. i transferred them from the core into my everyday life, and they work. they are very simple. set your example, set your standards high, take care of yourself, and never asked anybody to do something you would not do yourself. thank you. [applause]
>> now we are going to get some questions from students. many of the students in the audience have been studying your stories in going through some of this curriculum and learning quite a bit about the medal honoring what it means. some of the traits that are described in the curriculum. just as i know, in the audience we have bill and heather who worked -- who both work with the medal of honor foundation. we will start over here. go ahead. >> firstly, i wanted to thank the panel as well as the collective middle of honor recipients across the country for your undying service to our country. i am here zang from arcadia high school.
my question was, following your respective experiences in the field, how would your reintegration back into society? >> the question was, after your experiences in battle, what was it like to come back into society? >> i would like to answer that one, because i came back to california and became a city manager in northern california, and i like combat better. [laughter] [applause] i actually spent three years doing prop 13, so those of you who were alive and understand the problem. [applause]
leadership in the military or outside is the same. never leave from the back -- never believed it from the back. don't ever do things that you know -- that you don't know are the right thing to do. that goes from civilian life outside. >> like pat, i stayed in the years and continued on with leadership, taking care of the marines, commanding different commands from a company up to an infantry regiment of 5000 marines. but nothing changed as far as my views toward society. i was very proud of what the marines did, as well as all of us that fought in vietnam.
some people cry that we lost the war. i never lost the battle. i should not say i, we never lost the battle. the war was in our hands to win, but things happen with that we decided as a society, put so much pressure on the campaign. but it did not change my views as to live and the love of my country. i enjoyed teaching students. >> i stayed in the military after i came back, and i don't regret -- there may be a lesson in this, i don't know. i did not want to go in the military. when i came out of high school, i had an opportunity to play
football at several universities, but there was this foxy young chick, and she was going to university that did not have a football team, but they did have rotc, and it was mandatory. i hated it, every day. so i kind of put up with the military, and then one thing led to another and i ended up in vietnam's for a couple of years. my thing was, i was in berlin when they built a wall. i looked around at the leadership and the people i saw who were serving their country in uniform, something i did not want to do, and i box -- i was there with norman schwarzkopf. i looked at these guys, and we get off the train in berlin, germany. a guy meet me, takes me to an important -- takes me to an
apartment, there stood in the refrigerator and everything. the commander's wife the next day comes to see my wife, who was pregnant with our third child. wow, these people or something else. then they built the wall, we went through that kind of stress, shooting their own people off the wall. i just looked at the people around be in uniform and said there are some really wonderful leaders here. i would like to grow up and be like them. so i stayed after the time in the military and learned a great many lessons as far as courage, sacrifice, what a real hero is, those things that hopefully we'll talk about later on. so did i. it reduced audit not come back into society after the military, i stayed in. i got to serve with some of the greatest people i have ever been around anywhere. knowing what i know now, i probably would have left home when i found out my parents were
civilians. [laughter] but i love to be around military people. all young people ought to take a good, hard look at it. it will change your life. you will see leadership like you'll never see anywhere else. you are all part of the greatest generation. just take a look at it. it is a wonderful way to spend your life, even if you are only in for a couple of years. what the heck? you are still serving your country and you'll come out with great skill, discipline, and stuff like that. i did not have a problem coming back into society after combat, not one bit. say.ve got something to i am the lowest rank up here. i am not staff sgt. i was a second lieutenant when i
got my medal of honor. [applause] it was a battlefield commission, and on behalf of all the battlefield commission officers, i am a second lieutenant and the lowest ranking officer of here. that was for leadership. our love of the staff sergeant right because it was better than second lieutenant -- i loved the sat -- staff sgt rank it really is a higher rank and what i am. it is a very good thing to be a staff sergeant, so i am kind of happy about that.
i want you to know that these battlefield commissions did not come easy. you had to be a terrific leader in the battlefield to get a commission in the first infantry division. i found that out for sure. on december 9, was commissioned an officer. on december 16, on the day the battle of the bulge started, i became a second lieutenant in paris, france. so i did have some leadership training. [laughter] >> we are honored to be with you all. now that you have promoted yourself, you have to buy the first round of drinks tonight. [laughter] >> on the second lieutenants pay, that is going to be tough. >> my question is, were you traumatized by all of the
wounded soldiers your rescue? >> i had a real problem with blood and needles, especially the needles. whenever vaccinating me, i just hated that. the first time they took blood, i fainted. so i was very apprehensive about going into a combat situation where people were in the course of the day, into tours in vietnam i picked up over 5000 people. we saw the human body in every possible, horrible configuration that it could be in. i was really worried about how i would physically react to that. even today, if i look on television at an operation or a needle, i turn it all. in combat, in the environment,
it did not bother me. what bothered me is that people were hurt. that bothered me very much, but it did not physically bother me. i was so busy with what i was trying to do. there is nothing in the world greater than to save a human life. the teachers and the coaches do this also. they save their young lives. but to find your way through a bunch of obstacles -- with meat being the greatest helicopter pilot that ever lived, i could find a way in there that no one else could find. to get your hands on the person who is seriously hurt and put them in the hands of the positions that can really say there live. that was a thrill beyond anything in life that i can think of.
steak, lobster, sex -- can i say that? i don't care what it is. there is nothing in life to match saving human life. i guess that helped me overcome my incredible physical aversion to needles and blood. [applause] >> hyper who or what inspired you to join in -- who or what inspired you to join, knowing you might not come back? who or what inspired you to join the military? knowing that you might not come back from vietnam.
>> i got inspired by a letter that said greetings, you have been selected. [laughter] i suggest that if they ever start the draft again, they start the letters "saying readings, you have just been shafted by uncle sam." if i had a choice, i could have gotten out of going because i was in the national guard picks all i do is tell the draft board that. but i knew i had to start at some time. i weighed 143 pounds and was 5 ft. 6. i felt like a couple of years in the army playing ball would be good for me, so i went in the
army. the draft is the worst thing that ever happened to the military, in my judgment. it should not ever happen again. the draft did not give us bad people. it gave us some great people. a lot of them have college educations or partial educations. of what it did, gave a local judge in the share of the opportunity to tell our young hoods that they either go in the army or go to jail. all they did was change where they went to jail. today they are all volunteers and they are doing a wonderful job. we ought to keep the military strong enough to encourage people to stay in that join, and to make their families live good enough so that they will. if i had it to do all over again, i would have done the same thing, because i found a
career in the military very satisfying. i also found a career after i got out pretty satisfying, coming to arizona. [applause] >> i was wondering what was going through your mind when you committed your act of bravery. >> my troops, my marines, their safety, and concentrating on bringing artillery, aircraft, helicopters, gunships in through the zone to annihilate the enemy. they always came first. still do. but i believe that is the way it should be. i think my brothers gave me some
good advice about asking to do anything you would not do. i ended up taking machine gun misses and setting a couple of folks when my platoon got pinned down acrobatic. my troops were first in my life. >> that is the way it should be. [applause] >> i want to know how the war changed too emotionally. -- change you emotionally. >> bruce always says he was 140 pounds and tall. i was about your size when i joined the marine corps. emotionally, i think it was the strong belief in god that really gave me the foundation to be
strong and to accept life as it came, and probably the good advice my brothers gave me. they told me some ugly things before i went into combat, into the corps, i should say. it is not matter what we saw in vietnam. what amazes me is what the gentleman to our right, lieutenant walter ehlers. what they went through in world war ii is just unbelievable. you cannot describe it. yes, we did see a lot. we did fight against some good warriors against us, but it did not really bother me emotionally. there were times when i came home it is i think this is true of all of us. take some time to kind of wind
down. today a lot of our young troops are having difficulty with ptsd. the numerous deployment they are going on is just breathtaking. i think it is because we did the other thing and is because bruce and i, we did okay in baseball. he was an all-american and i was an honorable mention all- american in our day. i think playing sports and physical activity and studying and accepting failure is something that is hard to accept, but that was one of the bullets of wanted to give you. there were times when i slipped, like all of us. it did not change my life. i wanted to get better. that is how you should be. he should be one of the best
citizens of the state of california. how is that? [applause] >> my question is for any of you gentlemen. when you were saving men, if you think of them, or did you think of their families? >> i thought solely for my marines. as an example, there was one of my marines whose arm was just blown off, sitting by a tree. they were fighting as hand-to- hand. i promised i would go back and get him. how do i feel about that? i went back and found him. when i had him on my shoulder and i was running back to give psmen ", he "rny
skipper, i want my damn arm." so i went back and got his arm, and then we put him on the chopper. >> i never thought about it at the time, but when we saved a soldier's life, we were also saving a husband or a son, and also the grandchildren and great-grandchildren that would come from that one soldier's life that we saved. you don't think about that at the time, but that was something that i thought about later on. like any kind of life saving, it is just a wonderful thing to be able to do, but at the time that it is going on, you are so busy that the only emotion is really focused, concentration, to try
to get the guy out and get him to the hospital. later as i have reflected on the number of children and grandchildren and marriages and stuff like that that were involved in the lives that we saved over there. so that is a gratifying thing for me. >> thousands of missions that he flew in, he picked up not just one or two wounded warriors. i would say he saved 1000. >> one of the things that the vietnam war produced was medical evacuation from all of our cities and remote hospitals and stuff. that is one of the really positive things that came out of that work. we say blocks of life in the civilian community afterwards. when you are doing the job, you don't think about it. you never get to meet the people
you are carrying out and they don't get to meet you. if i could find out all the guys i carry on, i would charge them $5 apiece and then retired again. [laughter] but you treat the guys on the ground, they were my family. it actually develop a sense of ownership with them. you keep that for years afterwards. we will get together in another month or so, the group that was in that battle. it is great to do. we had each other on the back and then we talk about how old it looks. we developed a relationship that is important on the battlefield, but it does come
back to when you get back home and get to meet the families and realize there are that many grandchildren and running around. >> that is what i said earlier. now is the time to start taking care of each other. it is not that hard. i am not saying you have to love everybody completely, but now is the time to establish hot that camera robbery among yourselves and your classmates, and -- time to establish that camaraderie. >> sometimes you'll meet people in strange places that you actually rescued. in combat, we knew each other only by call signs. one day i am doing a demonstration at a teleconference that shows the
community around fort benning held that helicopters looking combat. this beautiful young thing -- beautiful young lady walked up to me and said, can i hug you? i said, you can hug me all day. so she did. shortly thereafter, her husband came behind her and he was limping. to make a long story short, it turned out that i was the pilot, and he recognized my call sign. i had picked him up in vietnam when he was wounded. another time i am going to the handball courts and somebody said, are you double nickel? i said yes. he said he did me a favor one time, what do you drink? i said scott. the next day he has a half gallon of johnnie walker black
scotch. we do tend to be people that you have rescued in combat, which is very rewarding. >> thank you for the question. [applause] >> we will take one more live question. i want to mention that we have an online audience that wanting of the web cast. >> walter ehlers, if you could go back to war, would you change anything? >> if i went back to the war, i
would be sure that all the soldiers had as much training as they could possibly get before they were put into a war. that is the most important thing. i did not get mike cuellar for being rambo or anything like that. i was only doing my job. i had two years of training before ever went to war, -- i did not get my medal of honor for being rambo. when i got my medal of honor, i was only doing my job. i went out and rescued a man who had gotten wounded after we let the rest of the squad returned to cover, safely back behind hedgerows there. it is something that you do naturally. you don't think about it, and i didn't know anything about getting a medal of honor until
december of 1944. i got it for the ninth and 10th of june as a staff sergeant, and everybody says what were you doing, and somebody said why don't you go back, what were you thinking? i said i was not thinking, i was just doing my job. had i been thinking, probably would not have gone back for it. things like that happen. i have to tell you that -- i am not telling you to be a christian or anything like this, but i am telling you what it does for you. for instance, i had a man and i ask him to go to church with me one morning. he said i am an atheist. i said you can be anything you want to be. so he did. he went to church. when he came out, he said i am
an atheist. again, i told him, you can be anything you want to be. the first battle we got into in africa, the tanks were coming down and they were shelling us. they told us to begin on the hill up there. keith is out there digging in on the hill. he said god, help me, god, help me. [laughter] after it was all over, i said, are you still an atheist? he said yes. i said, how come you are asking god to help you up there? >> he said, there wasn't anybody else to asked to help me. you hear these things, and i actually see them have been in combat. people really talking to their fate automatically, even though
they thought they have given it up. it is a hard thing to give up. and actually, what are we fighting for? we are fighting for our freedom. freedom of anybody's religion. if they want to be freed with it, they ought to believe. [applause] >> i would like to make one comment to him. that is not a decision you can change to mark critz once you make it, you go on for life. cannot change your decisions next week or the week after. >> i would just add a little vignette, when walter is talking about would you do it over again. there is another medal of honor
recipient named webster anderson, a great powerful soldier. he was in vietnam one night in the were overrun by the communist. the first wave took off both of his legs. he still fought on. the next attack, they threw a hand grenade into his position. webster, a hand grenade and when he was throwing it away, took off his arm. they were in the middle of a tropical storm, and i managed to get in and get webster and his wounded guys and get them to the hospital, where the save his life, but he lost both legs and he lost an arm. webster and i became very close. he thought i had saved his life. we would go and talk to students like this around the country. it would not sit. we had to prop him up. he had to fake legs and a fake arm and he had a cane on. we brought him up and kids would
ask questions. they called him mr. serjeant webster anderson. if you had to do over again, knowing what you know now, two legs and one arm, would you do it again? webster looked at him and said kidd, i only got one arm left, but my country can have it any time they want. to me, that was the definition of a true patriot. webster anderson, a great black soldier. [applause] >> leroy keith tree is in fort washington right now. ask him that question -- leroy petrie. ask him if he would do it again, and he said i would do it again next time left-handed. good attitude.
>> the question that comes from online, students have been submitting these are the last couple of weeks. what helps you to be strong, think clearly, and not to give up? in the situations you were in in battle, is there anything in your past or your training -- what was the that really helps you in that moment of intensity and danger that really helps you rise to the occasion? >> did you hear the question? >> i think it was training. in my case, i could never go home and embarrass my brothers. that was the big thing. i am going to go back to the love of troops. i really do. when you lead them into combat, and pat covered this, you better know what the hell you are doing. you better be carrying any
better be smart. the art of anticipation is a lost art, and american society today. learn how to anticipate. that was another key my brothers gave me. >> what inspired me to do what i did is that i had a lot of training in the military service. i was the leader with a lot and had not had any combat training before, went into normandy, and when we got into this situation in the hedgerows, we knocked out three machine-gun nests and then we knocked out a mortar position. the next day, i was the leader of my squad, and i knew it number-one thing was, i could smell the germans.
had a platoon leader who had just come over from fort benning georgia. he was a lieutenant. he tell me to go out and go into this town. my platoon leader tell me to take the squad out, and i started to lead the squad. he said sgt, we don't do it that way. he said, you send out two of your scouts, and i am going to follow them, and then you bring the squad behind them. i said, that is not the right way to do it. my squad was not that well trained. i said well, that is why i do
it. he said, this is a direct order. so they go out in germany. they got pinned down by at tank sitting in a little town out there across an alley. they saw these guys coming across the field so they started firing on them. they got into a hole in could not get out. so i got a bazooka and ended at the tank. hit the tank and some soft spot. i knew where to shoot at. he had never shot the bazooka before. so that was his first shot and it hit that soft spot and the germans came out of that tank like flies. pretty soon we went over and captured the tank.
we captured the tank and then i came back and said lieutenant, it is ok to come out now. and he did, and he apologized to me. he said i will never tell you how to run your squad again. [applause] >> the one thing that i learned in the military, and you learn this in life, too. we are not all born equal. we are just not. you look around you and you see people bigger, faster, smarter, stronger, they have better here than you have. -- better hair. we are simply not all born equal. but there is one way, and i
think this is the key to success in life and what we try to teach in our program, that we are all born equal. that is in terms of courage. each of us can have all the courage you want. you cannot use it up. it is the key to success in life. it produces great success from those among us who were not given credibility and did not have great opportunities in their life. to me, courage was a very important thing. where does it come from? what allows you to use courage on the battlefield or anywhere else? the answer is simply fade. i have never seen anything else to explain what people do in combat or in the classroom or anywhere else. i believe there is something to work dying for, something worth somewhere above and beyond the
person that you are that is more important than that particular moment. i can explain my faith. i would not do it for anyone else, but fate is the foundation of courage. courage is the key to success in life. i have said this before, and i have been almost get a bunch of times, but i was never afraid. they was a substitute for fear. it gave me -- face was a substitute for fear. allow me to do things that otherwise would not have been possible. faith is the source of everything and anything that i ever did in combat. [applause] >> pat is right. as i said earlier, believe in god or your supreme being or whoever you believe in. he is right.
i don't think a day goes by without communicating with the big guy to watch over me. i even asked him to help me on the golf course, but he has been letting me down. [laughter] >> jay had his family that he was afraid of. the marines gave him courage for that. one of the things i got asked the most was, didn't you have fear? i did have fear, but it was fear of making a bad decision that calls a blind man to die or some of the men not -- that caused one of my men to die or some of the men i was supporting. i was more afraid of making a bad decision. that is more important when you are doing those things, in my
judgment. we should have fear you are going to cause a problem for your troops. >> i have two bullets i fail to pass on to you. if you fall or you fail, it is not the end of the world. i was over in new mexico talking to some of the students. some of them had blown an algebra class. there's just no way that they could get through it, and they were ready to quit school. don't ever quit. get into some other general map or something. we are not all scientists. i was not worth a darn in math. when i started taking calculus and geometry, i said that's it. i've got to go into another field.
but don't ever be afraid, if you fall down and failed, get back up. don't be afraid, as pat put it very well, lean on your face. get back on your feet and keep going forward -- lien on your faith. if you make a mistake, admit. if you truly know that you made a mistake, don't ever hesitate to say i made a mistake. allied just get you deeper -- a lie just did you deeper into your inner soul [applause] . >> it pains me to do this, because i think that given the opportunity, we could see here for hours upon hours. but we are out of time.
so here is what we are going to do. i know that part of the program, the malick honor, is bringing recipients into classrooms viaskype or may be asking questions. those of you still have questions, have your teachers get in contact with me. we will get those questions answered. i don't want you to leave here feeling we have had a question has been unanswered. i apologize tremendously. i would also like to ask, at the beginning of the talk today, colonel vargas was mention the keys that he was given. in closing, i would ask that each of our panelists give us one key, giving your experience, your help -- carroll wisdom and courage, if you had just one key to pass on to our audience today as a final word, what would that be?
>> you heard me say earlier, believe in yourself and be yourself. it is very important to be yourself. i have seen great students trying to guess like those guys whose pants are nearly falling off. the yourself and believe in yourself. always believe in yourself. that is my advice. >> if i did not have faith, i would not have been able to do what i did. i left it in god's hands. i figured that i had to do this because it had to be done. i had no control over when i was going to die or anything like this. i was fighting to live. so i never worried about dying, but i was really scared all the time.
i was fighting to live. i was not fighting to die. and i put my faith in god, and somehow it worked, and i am still here today. and i still have my faith in god and in my children and in my grandchildren. i think they should know that the great courage in the best thing you can do in your lifetime is to have faith. i did not set out to be a hero or anything. i had no idea was ever going to get a medal of honor. i read about in the stars and stripes. that is how i found out i was getting a medal of honor. i said i was reporting back to duty. he said you were supposed to be back in the state's coming getting the medal of honor from the president. i said yes, i read about it in
the stars and stripes. that is how i found out about it. it is a great thing to have faith. >> it takes my friend a while to get his thoughts together, so i will go before him. the thing i would leave with all of you, and i want you to go to the program. faith, sacrifice, love in action. the key to happiness in life, and a hero cannot separate business from heroes. celebrities are not heroes. look around you and realize how blessed you are to be an american, how extraordinary it is.
the other thing i would ask you to do, and we are all part of this. america has no kings, no queens, no dukes and duchesses and all that stuff. but we do have a nobility in america. america's and ability is called veterans. those of us who are part of america's nobility are required to pass on to the younger people, in terms of being a bad example, a way around the obstacles that we faced in life. i was on the golf course with my friend at the other day and he brought out a tape major that measures how close you are to the tent -- brought out a tape measure. he said here is your life span, and here is where you are. so here is your life span, and you guys are right here.
it's not as well be further ahead when you get to where i am then you are today. be further ahead when you get here than you were when you were right here. that is the thing we try to do for this program that we have. we are living our lives over again through you, and trying to keep you from making the same stupid mistakes that we made as we struggled through our lives. you are so blessed to be an american, and that is very important. [applause] >> he referred to me as his son gary usually he says illegitimate son. the one thing i would tell each of you, if i was to only give
you one thing, is to have self- respect. respect yourself, and you will respect others. when you look in the mirror in the morning, be happy with what you see. it cannot change it much, but in our country we have lost a lot of civility, and i would like to see that come back. self-respect is the key to that, i think. those of you that are in school now, i would encourage all of you to go out and seek your education, no matter how long it takes. keep going to school. [applause] >> i have one last thing to say to you. you all live in the greatest country ever. this country has freed more people since world war ii than
any of all the other nations combined. this is an actual fact. you can look it up in the history books and you can find out that countries that we fought against or liberated became democracies. germany is a democracy. france is a democracy. italy is a democracy, freedom from fascism. japan is a democracy with freedom from imperialism. the biggest responsibility for their freedoms has been the united states of america. you can be so proud of your country. we hope you will continue to be proud of it because you will do the same things that we did. [applause]
>> although most of us in the audience will never be an exact science dirk dick circumstances that our panelists were, there will be challenging moments in your life, maybe even terrifying moments and things like your courage and integrity and commitment to your community are going to be tested. i want to say thank you to our panelists today for giving us a great example of how we should respond [applause] . -- of how we should respond. [applause] i am