tv Veterans Day Service at Arlington National Cemetery CSPAN November 13, 2017 4:31am-5:30am EST
many of 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, devotion, and sacrifice all of those who have worn our nations uniforms and all those who have given military service for this country that we could enjoy such freedom. ask that you bless our nation's veterans. encourage and bring healing to those who are suffering from both physical -- visible and invisible wounds of war. god, hold safely in your hands veterans,ry members, their families, and all who live in this great nation. god, remove the evil acts from at midst and grant us peace home and abroad. give to us grateful hearts that
are united to honor our veterans. may we always hold our veterans and our love that our prayers, your world is perfected in peace and all wars cease. spiritve us all a joyous as we honor our nation's veterans. let your presence be evident in this celebration of their service. and the name of god who challenges us to care, amen. >> now, i would like to invite mr. thomas stevens, national president of the korean war veterans association to lead us in our pledge of allegiance. >> i pledge allegiance to the
flag of the united states of forica and to the republic which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. >> please be seated. it is now my distinct privilege to introduce the members of the veterans day national committee. the committee was formed by presidential order in 1954 to play on this national observance in honor of american veterans and support veterans throughout the nation. please hold your applause until we have introduced the special guests. if you are able, please stand when your name is called.
thomas stevens, president, -- national commander, american g.i. forum. national commander, catholic veteran of the usa , veteransresident association. ofsident, the it nonveterans america commander-in-chief, veterans of foreign wars of the united states starkey, national president, fleet reserve association national president, paralyzed veterans of america national commander, american -- amvets that's
national commander, army-navy union noncommissioned officers association national commander, american -- on, national commander, military order of the purple heart executive director, military chaplains association -- of thatmmander, usa national president, the retired enlisted association agent ton, d.c.,
executive director, disabled american veterans president, military officers association of america sergeants air force association board chair, commissioned officers association of the united states public health service national commander, polish legion of american veterans, usa not with us today as paul warner, national commander from the jewish war veterans. they do not attend a cemetery on the shabbat. they will celebrate thursday at the vietnam wall and the world war ii memorial. members of the committee are located to the box of my left.
i would like to ask the president sent national commanders that comprise our membership to stand and be recognized. ladies and gentlemen, please recognize our veterans national leadership with your applause. [applause] >> it is now my pleasure to introduce our veterans organization host for 2017. the korean war veteran association of the usa. the korean war veterans association of the united states of america is honored to serve as the host organization for the 2017 veterans day national commemoration at arlington national cemetery. v.a. is incorporated as a
nonprofit urbanization that meets the requirements under 510 c-19 of the internal revenue code of 1986 and that is organized under the laws of these data new york. the mission is to defend the nation, care for veterans, perpetuate their legacy, remember all missing and fallen, maintain their memorial and support of free korea. if you have ever honorably served in korea as a member of the u.s. armed forces from september 3, 1945, 2 deep resonant, or served outside of 1950-january 30 for955, you qualify membership. the korean war veterans association is represented today by their national president. please welcome mr. thomas stevens.
[applause] >> thank you. vice president pence, secretary shulkin, distinguished guests, my fellow veterans and their families. good morning and happy veterans day. my name is tom stevens. i'm the national president of the korean war veterans association of the united states of america. the korean war veterans association has the distinct honor and privilege of hosting years national veterans day commemorations here in washington, d c then referred to as forgotten war, the korean war began on june 25, 1950. some 75,000 soldiers from the north korean people's army went across the 38th parallel, the boundary between the soviet
and pro-western republic of korea to the south. the korean peninsula is still divided today. today i would like to pay special tribute to all who have served on the korean peninsula from the start of the war until the present. your service and dedication to ensure the stability and freedom of the republic of korea will be remembered for years to come. we honor and thank you for your service to our country and to the republic of korea. day and allrans such days, when we pause to remember, there are essential lessons for the young and also for the rest of us. appreciate the blessings of freedom. recognize the power and virtue of sacrifice. respect those who gave everything on behalf of the
common good. veterans day reminds us of what we can achieve when we pull together as one nation, respecting each other with all of our murray at differences but coming together, we can fight any battle and phase 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 to give us the wisdom to do what is right for tomorrow. we are honored to be the host veterans organization. thank you very much. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please the honorable david j shulkin, secretary, veterans affairs.
.> thank you it is great to see all of you on this wonderful veterans day. mr. vice president, mrs. pence, medal of honor recipient, secretary mnuchin, secretary mattis, secretary zinke e, acting secretary hagan, deputy bowman. secretary shanahan, general dunford, general salvo, former v.a. secretary jim peak. korean veterans association and representatives of our veterans service organizations. assembled veterans, v.a. colleagues, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. i do not think i've left anybody else. the department of army engineers of two missions, to honor the dead and care for the living. in accordance with a solemn promise made by abraham lincoln in his second inaugural address, we at the v.a. keep that promise
365 days a year. in this pastor, we've made great progress in also keeping president trump's promise to veterans, strengthening our ability to provide timely, high-quality care and that if outcomese improving and experiences for veterans. twice he year we invite the nation to join us in keeping lincoln's promise by honoring the dead on memorial dead 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 connections with the military. in the 1950's, nearly half of all americans, 45 percent, had either served in the military or had an immediate family member who did. today, that number is just 16%. so i have invited one veteran from each of our recent conflicts to be here today to remind us why.
to my left, inbox 40, is jessica of kalamazoo, michigan. great., would you stand? [applause] ran out of money for college so she enlisted in the navy in 2010, trained as an aircraft mechanic. she served with a squadron in , threes six-month cruises with the squadron above the uss george washington. then after four years on the dim duty, she used the g.i. bill to finish her bachelors to grand our day master's degree in national security policy which she will finish in may. congratulations, jess, and thank you for your service. [applause] >> next, inbox 40, jeff roper. jeff, would you stand? jeff was born in fayetteville,
north carolina, raised in virginia. he was a sergeant in the gulf war. he was the second of the 327 infantry, 101 air force division. he was in saudi arabia when in antitank round went through the camp. it struck the tent and exploded. it peppered his back with shrapnel. thankfully, jeff was not seriously injured and was able to remain with his unit. he retired from the army in 2006 of service.s now he works in my office at the department of veterans affairs. he is here representing both gulf war veterans and v.a. employees. thank you, jeff. next, down here in front is tom from newtown, pennsylvania. tom, where are you?
ok. tom and listed in the marines and 1966. two years later he was a rifleman in vietnam when a booby-trap sent him flying through the air. he spent the 1968 tet offensive in the hospital and the name. afterwards, he served nine years in the marine corps reserves before switching and joining the international air national guard as a medic. he is retired now after 27 years of active service. he edits the vet center in maryland for saving his life. he showed up there one day considering suicide, but a brought him back. tom, welcome home. in the back is bill of oklahoma. bill, would you stand? ok. coming up there. great.
true to his roots, as a proud member of the tickets on nation he fudged his birth date to enlist in the national guard when he was just 16-years-old. hen the korean war broke out could've used his young age to get out but he did not. he deployed with the 45th infantry division in 1951. despite his age, he was made a squad leader and promoted to step sergeant. he served nine months instead of going to high school for his senior year. then he used the g.i. bill to get college and he is adding a life ever since. he has been a patient at the office a two states. he is but to homes using v.a. home loans and he lives in one now with his wife, linda, of 50 years. congratulations to both of you. [applause] >> finally, also in box 40 is
carmel who grew up on a farm in west virginia. carmel, nice to see you. carmel was drafted in 1942 and deployed to france with the 26th infantry division one month after de-day. first he drove a truck. .n endless convoy later, he saw combat with the heavy weapons company until november 1, 1944, when amid fierce fighting he was captured by the germans. he spent the rest of the war at a style log as a uw. breakfast was a cup of tea, lunch was to rutabaga is, dinner was 1/6 of a love of bread. remained atnce and large for 15 days before being recaptured and were only not
shocked because several americans who are just escape before them had been shot. after the war, he went back to driving a truck but for two years without any pay he will apartments and baltimore for other veterans returning from the war. there is hardly a veteran alive who does not have an amazing story. today also haser a story to tell. not of his own service, but of his families. the vice president's father, second lieutenant edward j pence also served in the 53rd infantry division. not long after phil scott, our sergeant.ickasaw he was rewarded the bronze star for his actions as a rifle platoon leader near pork chop
hill. that is not all. in 1983, the vice president's older brother also served with the third battalion, third marine regiment, in beirut, lebanon, just before the infamous baruch bombings that killed 241 american servicemembers and 58 french paratroopers. now, currently serving, is the vice president's son who is now in flight school. that is quite a service record from one family. what it tells me is when it comes to caring for the men and women who have served our country ladies and gentlemen, it is my great personal pleasure and professional honor to present to you the vice president of the united states, mike pence. [applause]
[applause] pence: thank you, secretary. secretary mattis, secretary zinke e, all of the members of the cabinet, secretary wilson, general dunford, general silva, general mcconville, admiral michael, to the director regular era, the distinguished members of congress, and all are honored guest, but most of all, to the men and women of the armed forces of the united states of america and to all our veterans who have worn the uniform of , happyeat nation veterans day. [applause]
there is a day in the spring when we remember those who served and did not come home. day, is theeterans veterans day is the day when all across america -- 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 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 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, 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 commemorated the 50th anniversary of the vietnam war and met with some of the heroes yesterday, our president commemorated 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. 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 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] 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] 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 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. 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 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 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. 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 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 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 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. 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 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 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 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] >> ladies and gentlemen, please rise and join the united states
>> c-span's "washington journal" live every day. coming up this morning, reuters correspondent amanda becker discusses tax reform efforts on capitol hill. then alliance for manufacturing's scott paul and american-made movie producer talk about the state of american manufacturing. be sure to watch "washington journal" at 7:00 a.m. this announcer: president trump is it me philippine. before he departed vietnam, the president held a joint news conference with the psi