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tv   Veterans Day Service at Arlington National Cemetery  CSPAN  November 11, 2017 8:06pm-9:05pm EST

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>> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome -- [applause] armyecutive director national military cemeteries. [applause] >> mr. thomas stevens, korean war veterans association, united states of america.
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the honorable david j. shulkin, secretary of veterans affairs. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> ladies and gentlemen, the vice president of the united states. ♪ ♪
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing for the procession of our nation's of our veterans service organizations. as we march on the colors, the united states air force band the national emblem march. render a hand salute. ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪
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>> please remain standing for the prayer for all veterans by chaplain mccoy, sr., director chaplain service national center.
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>> let us pray. nations andof veterans, you are so awesome in ways.y we invite your presence in this where many ofrden our veterans and families have gathered and many of our nation's heroes rest. we give you thanks on this veterans day for the courage, alltion, and sacrifice those who have worn our nation's militaryand offered service for this country that we such freedoms. god, we ask that you bless our nation's veterans, encourage and bring healing to those who are suffering from both visible and war.ible wounds of
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god, hold safely in your hands all military members, veterans, their families, and all who live in this great nation. god, remove evil acts from our grant us peace at home and abroad. give to us grateful hearts and a united will to honor our veterans. may we always hold them in our until yourr prayers world is perfected in peace and cease.s god, give us all a joyous spirit we honor our nation's veterans. be evident innce the celebration of their service. of god, who challenged us to care, amen.
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>> now, i would like to invite stevens, national president, korean war veterans association, to lead us in our pledge of allegiance. >> i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. be seated. it is now my distinct privilege to introduce the members of the national committee. the committee was formed by
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presidential order in 1954 to plan this annual observance in honor of america's veterans and support veterans day observances throughout the nation. applause untilr i've introduced these special guests. able, please stand when your name is called. thomas stevenson, national president korean war veterans association. g.i.nal commander american forum. commander catholic war veterans of the usa. parker, national president association.ans john rowan president vietnam of america. therans of foreign wars of
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united states. nationaltarky president, fleet reserve .ssociation national president paralyzed america.of marion polk national commander veterans, amvets. navynal commander army and union. director noncommissionedded officers association. national commander of the legion. national commander military purple heart. wendell webb, national corps league.ine smith, executive director military chaplains association. jerry walden, national commander
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usa.n of valor of the david gibson, commander-in-chief worldry order of the wars. john adams, national president enlistedtired association. washington, d.c. agent, congressional medal of honor usa.ty of the gary augustine, executive americandisabled veterans. dana atkins president military officers association of america. president air force sergeants association. board chair commissioned officers association of the states public health service. national commander polish liege usa.erican veterans not with us today is paul
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warner, national commander from jewish war veterans as they theot attend cemetery on shabbat. they will celebrate veterans day andhe vietnam wall world war ii memorial. the associate members of the committee are located in the to my left. i would like to ask the presidents and national that compromise our associate membership to stand and be recognized. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in recognizing our veterans national leadership applause. [applause] is now my pleasure to introduce our veterans service for 2017.on host the korean war veterans association of the usa. the korean war veterans
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association of the united states of america or kwva is honored to host organization for the 2017 veterans day commemoration at arlington national cemetery. kwva is incorporated as a nonprofit corporation that meets the requirements for a veterans service organization under section 501-c-19 of the internal revenue code of 1986 and that is ed under the laws of the state of new york. the kwva mission is to defend nation, care for veterans, perpetuate their legacy, missing and fallen, maintain their memorial, and free korea. if you have ever honorably served in korea as a member of the u.s. armed forces from september 3rd, 1945, to the present, or served outside of
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1950, toe 25th, january 31st, 1955, you for membership. the korean war veterans is represented today by their national president. ladies and gentlemen, please mr. thomas stevens. [applause] presidentou, vice pence, secretary shulkin, distinguished guests and my veterans and their families. good morning and happy veterans day. tom stevens, i'm the national president of the korean war veterans association of the states of america. the korean war veterans association has the distinct honor and privilege of coheat index thi this year's national commemorations here d.c.shington,
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often referred to as the forgotten war, the korean war june 25th, 1950, when some 75,000 soldiers from the north korean people's army the 38t 38th parallel, the boundary between soviet-backed democratic people's republic of korea to pro-westernd the south.c of korea to the the korean peninsula is still divided today. today, i would like to pay special tribute to all who have served on the korean peninsula, the start of the war to the present. dedication tond ensure the stability and freedom of korea will be remembered for years to come. and thank you for your service to our country and to korea.ublic of on this veterans day and all
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we pause tohen remember there are essential and indeed the young for all the rest of us, as well. appreciate the blessings of freedom, recognize the power and virtue of sacrifice and respect who gave everything on behalf of the common good. day reminds us of what we can achieve when we pull as one nation respecting each other with all differences, but coming together. we can fight any battle and face any challenge. may god bless the united states of america and all of the american heroes we honor today and may god bless also those who still stand at the ready and may he give us the wisdom to do what right for tomorrow. thank you, we're honored to be service veteran organization. thank you very much.
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[applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please the honorable david j. shulkin, secretary of veterans affairs. [applause] >> it's great to see all of you on this wonderful veterans day. mr. vice president, mrs. pence, medal of honor recipient brian thacker, secretary shulkin, mattis -- [reading names] the representatives of our veterans service organizations, assembled our armedmembers of forces, v.a. colleagues, other
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distinguished guests, ladies and leftemen, i don't think i anybody out. the department of veteran missions: two main to honor the dead and care for the living in accordance with promise made by president abraham lincoln in his inond inaugural address 1865. we at v.a. keep that promise 365 year. in this past year we've made great progress to also keeping trump's promise to veterans, strengthening our ability to provide timely, high-quality care and benefits while also improving outcomes for veterans. but twice a year, we invite the nation to join us in keeping lincoln's promise by honoring the dead on memorial day and honoring the living on veterans day. there was a time when more americans understood the importance of honoring the living. many more americans had the military.th in the 1950s, nearly half of
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45%, had either served in the military or had an immediate family member who had military.the today, that number is just 16%. invited one veteran from each of our recent major conflicts to be here today to why we honor veterans. 40, isto my left in box jessica halton of kalamazoo, michigan. jessica, would you stand? great. [applause] jess ran out of money for college so she enlisted in the in 2010, trained as an aircraft mechanic, she served e2c hawkeye squadron out japan, completing three six-month cruises with the georgen aboard the uss washington. and then after four years on active duty she used the g.i. bachelor'sish her degree and earn a master's
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degree in national security finish inich she will may. congratulations, jess and thank you for your service. [applause] in box 40, jeff roper. joseph would you stand? [applause] jeff was born in fayetteville, inth carolina, raised richmond, virginia. jeff was a sergeant in the gulf the second of the infantry, 101st airborne division. he was encamped in saudi arabia an antitank round peppered shrapnel.k with thankfully, jeff was ought seriously injured and was able his unit.with he retired from the army in 2006 service, and of now, he works in my office at the department of veterans affairs. representingay both gulf war veterans and v.a.
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employees. one third of whom are veterans. thank you, jeff. [applause] next down here in front is tom from newtown, a booby trap sent him flying through the air. he spent the tet offensive in the hospital. after vietnam, he served nine years in the marine corps reserves before switching services and joining the national guard as a medic. he is retired now. tom credits the vet center in silver spring, maryland for saving his life. he showed up one day at his with an but the center staff brought him back from the brink. you and the other veterans, welcome home. [applause]
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next, inbox 40 in the back is bill scott of marlowe, oklahoma. would you stand? ok. coming up, there. great. true to his roots, as a proud member of the chickasaw nation, he fudged his worth a to enlist in the national guard when he was just 16. when the korean war broke out, he could have used his young age to get out of going. he deployed to korea in 1951. despite his age, bill was made a squad leader and promoted to staff sergeant. he served nine months in combat before returning home to go back to high school for his senior year. g.i. bill to the go to college and he has had a very good life ever since. he has been a patient in the v.a. in two states, he has purchased two homes using v.a. loans and he lives in one of
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of 52ow with his wife years. congratulations to both of you. [applause] is carmellso inbox 40 wetzel. who grew up on a farm in west virginia. nice to see you. [applause] drafted in 1942 and devoid to france with the 26 one monthivision, after d-day. first, he drove a truck for the red ball express, an analyst fromy that moved supplies the english channel to patton's third army. he also saw a combat with a heavy weapons company until 1944 when a midst of fierce fighting he was captured by the germans. he spent the rest of the war as a view -- as a pow. breakfast was a cup of tea. lunch was two rutabagas. men.caped with two other
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for 15mained at large days before they were recaptured. not shot because several americans who had escaped before them had been shot. after the war, he went back to driving a truck. for two years, in his spare came -- time, and without pay, he built apartments in baltimore for other veterans returning home from the work. amazing stories and is hardly a veteran alive that does not have one. [applause] our guest speaker today also has a story to tell. not of his own service, but of his family's. the vice president's father, second lieutenant edward j pants, also served in the 45th infantry division in korea not long after bill, our teenage
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chickasaw started. ed tends was awarded the bronze star for his actions in combat. near pork chop hill. in 1983, the vice president's older brother, first lieutenant greg pence also served with the third battalion, third marine regiment in beirut, lebanon just before the infamous derricks .ombings -- barracks bombings now, currently serving is the vice president's son, marine first lieutenant michael pence go is now in flight school. record quite a service for one family. what it tells me is that when it comes to caring, the men and women who have served our country, the vice president is a man we know will always do the right thing. myies and gentlemen, it is
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great personal pleasure and professional honor to present to you, the vice president of the united states, mike pence. [applause] vice president pence: general mcconville and admiral michael, to the director, the distinguished members of congress and all of our honored guests, but most of all, to the men and women of the armed forces of the united states of
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america and to all of our veterans who have worn the nation,of this great happy veterans day. [applause] there is a day in the spring when we remember those who served and did not come home. day, is theeterans day when all across america in gatherings large and small, we pause to remember those who served and did come home. thenearly a century since guns of the first world war fell silent, and the 11th at or of the 11th day of the 11th month, the american people have observed this day, first as armistice day and now as veterans day. and i thank you all who are here
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and all that are gathered around this nation for continuing this great tradition. our heroes, near and far, i bring veterans day readings from a great champion for the men and women that have worn the uniform of our armed services, the 45th president of the united states of america, president donald trump. [applause] at this very moment, our president is halfway around the world, that i know his heart is here. in this hallowed place. and at every veterans day service across the country. president trump asked us to be here at this national veterans day ceremony to, in his words, honor all americans who served in the army, navy, air force, marines and coast guard in times
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of war and peace and to pay due respect, due respect to those americans who have passed the torch of liberty from one generation to the next. for they surely have. and so i say to each and one of you veterans gathered here and all of those that might be looking on, we are grateful for your service. we are grateful for your sacrifice. and i will make you a promise. just as you fought for us, we will always fight for you. [applause] the bible tells us if you owe debts, pay debts. owes thoser nation who have worn the uniform is a debt that we will never be able to fully repaid. nation's birth,
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our best and bravest have stepped forward to protect us. the unbroken record of their service stretches back into the midst of american history. from bunker hill, bella would, san juan hill to saipan from the coral reef to kandahar. nearly 50 million men and women the dawned -- have donned uniform. and nearly 20 million still walk among us today. and as we speak a new generation of american veterans is being forged. as i look out today, it is a humbling sight. i see heroes from korea, vietnam, iraq and afghanistan, and many more who have watched in times of peace. yesterday our president
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commemorated the 50th anniversary of the vietnam war and met with some of the heroes who fought that war on the very soil where they fought. the president said yesterday, we salute our brave vietnam veterans and recall the sacrifices they made for our freedom and our nation's strength. some 9 million americans served in those jungles and more than 58,000 fell in defense of freedom, their names now enshrined on a black granite wall not far from here. so to all our vietnam veterans who are gathered here, in the midst of this 50th anniversary, i say thank you and welcome home. [applause] i'm told one of those veterans has come to this ceremony almost every year, and is almost always introduced, as he was today.
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but it don't think his story has ever been told, and i hope he won't mind too much of a tell it today. 36 years ago this march, a first lieutenant in the united states army, first battalion 97th artillery, awoke at dawn to a massive north vietnamese attack on a hilltop outpost. he and his brothers were outnumbered. it took minutes for the enemy to break through defenses in the fighting quickly came -- the fighting quickly became hand to hand. history records in that moment that that young first lieutenant rallied his brothers to stand their ground. he ordered air and artillery strikes from a dangerously-exposed position, for four straight hours. as the situation worsened, he personally directed the
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withdrawal and provided cover fire and to ensure his brother'' safety and to inflict maximum damage on the enemy he called in and artillery strike on his own position. wounded and unable to escape himself, he managed to escape detection for eight long days until he was rescued when american forces retook the outpost. for his conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty he received, of course, the medal of honor. would you join me today in thanking a true american hero? medal of honor recipient first lieutenant brian thacker. [applause]
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our nation owes a debt to our veterans, and it is it a debt we can't fully repay. but on this veterans day, we rededicate ourselves to accomplishing just that. since the outset of this administration president trump has foxed tirelessly to fulfill the words of our 16th president, to care for him who shed in the -- who shall have borne the battle. working with secretary shulkin we have made the department of veterans affairs or efficient, effective and accountable. let me be clear. veterans benefits are not entitlements. they aren't. -- they are earned. they are the ongoing compensation for services rendered in the uniform of the united states of america. [applause]
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under president donald trump keeping the promises we have made to the men and women who have served in our armed forces. this president has already expanded the veteran's choice program by more than $2 billion, to give our heroes access to real-time, high-quality health care. and because not all wounds of war are visible, we have improved veterans' access to mental health services and given greater access to telemedicine for our veterans. president trump has signed the v.a. accountability and whistleblower protection act to ensure our veterans receive the highest level of service, and this pattern that this president has taken steps to end the pattern of mistreatment at the v.a. we have suspended more than 1500 employees for negligent behavior. as the president has said, we
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will not rest until all america's veterans receive the care they so richly deserve. [applause] beyond health care, president trump has signed legislation to expand the post-9/11 g.i. bell -- g.i. bill. i am glad to report that veteran unemployment has fallen by nearly 40% since president trump was elected. it is lower today than at any point since the year 2000 and we are just getting started. [applause] today our veterans continue to serve our nation and careers -- in careers ranging from business to education, from law enforcement to public service.
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and it seems wherever they go, their lives are characterized by that same sense of duty and the courage and selflessness forged during their years in our armed forces. earlier this week i heard the remarkable story of one such veteran, and i thought i'd share it with you today. on wednesday, karen and i traveled to sutherland springs, texas, to meet the families of the victims in the worst attack on a place of worship in american history. at brooke army medical center, we stood at the bedside of a retired u.s. marine corps gunnery sergeant named juan macias. we spoke to his family as he lay before us recovering from his injuries. but it was from another member
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of the church that we learned of that veteran's extraordinary courage last sunday. julie workman, a registered nurse, was also wounded in the first baptist church that day. but no sooner had the attacker left, then she began to treat the wounded. seeing what lay before her, though, julie told me she was momentarily overcome. and that is when gunny stepped in. despite having five bullet wounds she told me that gunny looked her in the eye and said you were born for this, keep your wits about you, do your job. she said that is all she needed to hear. heroism outlives the uniform and her actions and his courage
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undoubtedly saved lives that day. that's an american veteran. [applause] on this veterans day we honor those who served with tributes and promises kept, but as our veterans understand better than most we also ought or their -- we also honor their service by ensuring that the men and women serving in our armed services today have the resources and support they need to defend this nation on this day. our veterans will be glad to know president trump has already taken decisive action to make the strongest military in the history of the world, stronger still. this president has already signed the largest increase in military spending in nearly a decade and before this year is out, we will enact the largest investment in our national defense since the days of ronald. reagan.
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and under president donald trump i will make you a promise. we are going to rebuild our military. we will restore the arsenal democracy and give our soldiers sailors, airmen, and marines and the resourcesn and training they need to accomplish their mission and come home safe. that is our promise to all of you. as i close let me say, again, how deeply humbling it is for me to stand before so many heroes. for you see, as secretary shulkin told you, i am the son
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of a soldier and i'm the proud father of a united states marine but my life never took me into the uniform of the united states. i've never experienced the cost of war on the battlefield or had to endure the hardship of time away from home and family that can come with service, even in peacetime. but i have seen enough to know the burden that our veterans bear is oftentimes a burden that lives far beyond your time in uniform. 64 years ago, my dad served in combat in korea. second lieutenant edward j pence was in the u.s. army, 45th infantry. he fought in the battle of old baldy and pork chop hill and he earned a bronze star for his courage under fire. the truth is, i learned most of that after i grew up because dad
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never talked about the war, and that medal stayed in his dresser drawer. a few years after he died i was visiting a cousin that he grew up with, on the streets of chicago and he told me that the war had changed my dad. when i asked him how, he said, before the war your dad was the most happy-go-lucky guy i had ever met. but he said after he came back, he was different. and then he said words i will never forget. he said, and i quote, "i don't think your dad ever got over the guilt of coming home." "i don't think your dad ever got
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over the guilt of coming home." in those words, in an instant, i understood every unfinished sentence, every faraway look on my father's face whenever the war came up. if you talked about it at all, he talked about the guys he served with, guys that didn't get to come home to marry their sweethearts, raise a house full of kids, live their dreams and see their children's children. that's when i understood the quiet cost of freedom. and the burdens so many of our veterans bear in their hearts.
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so to all of our veterans looking on, know this. we are with you. you do not carry that burden alone. as a nation, we stand ready to help you shoulder that load with the compassion, support and prayers of the american people. you were there for us. now, we are here for you. president trump said this morning, in his words, america's veterans are this country's greatest national treasure. he said you're the best role models for our younger citizens, a constant reminder of all that is good, decent and brave. and to you, i say, no truer
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words were spoken. this is the land of the free because it is still the home of the brave and you, our veterans, are our brave. [applause] you stepped forward, you counted our lives more important than yours, and we thank god who, as the psalmist says, trade your hands for war but also brought you home safe. to your loved ones, and a grateful nation. in his proclamation for this veterans day president trump called upon every american to recognize the fortitude and sacrifice of our veterans. let me, let me add one challenge, especially to my fellow countrymen who did not
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serve in the armed forces of the united states. before this day is out, at home or at work, on a street corner or over a backyard fence, whether they came home in the last week or in the last century, find a veteran, extend your hand, and say those words and they never asked to hear but deserve to hear, every day. to my fellow americans, i say, find a veteran today and say, "thank you for your service." thank them for their courage. thank them for your freedom. and thank them for doing their part to preserve this last, best hope of earth, for ourselves and
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our posterity. to our veterans, on behalf of the president of the united states and a grateful nation, i say thank you for your service. may god bless you and your families. may god bless all those who, this day, where the uniform and stand ready. and may god continue to bless the united states of america. [applause]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please rise and join the united states air force band in singing, "god bless america." ♪ ["god bless america" being sung]
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[applause] >> ladies and gentlemen please remain standing as we retire the colors. retire the colors. ♪
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>> this concludes the 2017 national veterans day observance. please be seated for the departure of the vice president of the united states and the official party. thank you for joining us today as we celebrate and honor all who served. ♪
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>> earlier in the day, the vice president took part in an effort to clean the war memorial on the mall. the remake -- the names of those who died in the war. --ning the cleaning was the was karen pence.

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