tv Michelle Obama and Laura Bush Discuss Role and Legacy of First Ladies CSPAN October 9, 2016 8:00pm-8:56pm EDT
[inaudible conversations] you are watching american history tv. twitter for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. next, former first lady laura onh joins michelle obama stage at the national archives to discuss veterans. they reflect on how they help the military community and why their work is important. bob woodruff moderates the discussion. this is about 50 minutes.
they very much wanted to talk about first lady's and the military and their own particular programs that they have promoted very wonderfully over the years and they want to do together because they like doing that, which is so heartening. from them, we are going to hear from a member of the military. captain reynolds family and wased from guyana raised in the tradition of dedication to service, public instilled that in him
from the time of his birth and he took it to heart at west point. served in korea and twice in iraq and on his second was thent in iraq, he chief of rick on a son's. six months -- chief of reconnaissance before being innded during cataract baghdad. , 26ame back to be treated surgeries. served int time, he roles as the deputy offer relations officer at the pentagon. military, he the has been incredibly accomplished.
how theshed a book on government can relate better to he younger generation and has been the captain of the american team in the invictus games where at both of our first ladies. he is a cyclist and track star despite having lost his leg. he is the father of four children while doing all of these other things and is on the boards of disabled sports usa, u.s. military and german sports, project.ositivity please welcome, captain reynolds. [applause]
bob: i will start by providing some personal history in my connection with the first ladies. i dedicated my life to service. as a way to repay the debt to the american dream but also preserve preserved to principles for the underserved. i started serving through church and scouting and the military. after a few years, i was wounded in combat.
what i have come to known as my was instantly ripped away. for it while, i thought, although i would make a , my abilityecovery to serve was over. that was naive thinking. reedgh visits at walter medical center to my hospital , i was continue in effect from a service and for inspiring them and the rest of the american people. i realize that my mission of serving had changed. to that end, i am thankful for the families of michelle obama and laura bush for allowing me to make that pivot. it is because of that motivation forve served on the board
veteran matters. furthermore, consulting for military health and veteran health. i did not know the breaths of service that could be done in civilian public. if there are three individuals who embody the gamut of what is possible, these three are it. familiesing successful to contributing to successful campaigns and ultimately utilizing the office of the first lady to bring to light the important matters of social change, the first ladies have done so much for the advancement of american culture. would say that parenting is our most important job and that rings true with the first ladies. we have seen the great job they have done raising their daughter is in the public eye. in the midst of this, they have been giving of their time.
upfact, the first lady gave mother's day to inspire 500 internationally wounded service members of the invictus games this year in orlando. at same event, not only were president bush -- also, jenna as a correspondent and journalist. we are waiting with bated breath to see how sasha and milia serve. cash also done the same thing through delivering firsthand accounts during operation iraqi freedom. know, bob service of combat journalism and did the further intoine, joining how we visit and continue to serve. not only had i been a benefactor thevents like -- and also invictus games, which bob has
been a part of that i have seen mysteries in researching their rounds of mental health and committee print injury that are organizations of the blood woodruff foundation has been able to inspire. these individuals public service is not only your personal cause that they worked tirelessly in in both their personal and professional lives and in philanthropic areas but it is also a family affair. they have all motivated how i raise my young family today as i'm sure they have done for the entire american and world population. redo, introduce first lady michelle obama, laura bush, and pop woodruff. [applause] >> thank you very much.
>> thank you, will. bob: what an honor it is to be here today. i have a chance -- first of all, i want to tell both you and my wife who is also my commander -- >> as it should be. bob: she wants to say thank you for what you're doing for the veterans out there. i want to mention, had the chance to and i had a chance to see president bush out at the invictus games where it was such a clear indication how absolute committed he is to this. certainly will reynolds who is an amazing person, who is out .there i think winning everything. and he had a chance to talk -- i had a chance to talk to president bush about what he's doing. president obama, too, of course. he's deeply committed to this. it's interesting. i just talked to mrs. obama backstage here that i had a chance to see him in laos and
one of the topics there, of course, was what he thought about vietnam and the war there and laos, of course. we have a lot of undetonated bombs that are still in the ground there. i asked him all of those veterans -- we looked at the time. he and i were born august, 1961. he's two weeks older than me. [laughter] bob: we asked about that was going on. we looked at wars so differently in the 1960's and 1970's because there were drafts and we were not attacked on our turf leading to that war. i said those veterans that did serve there in laos and vietnam, do you call them heroes? and he said, absolutely call them heroes. this is not something reserved just for the more recent wars, voluntary wars. you know, in my experience here, which as will said, one we never really expected, having been
wounded in the wars, we experienced a lot of not diminishing attention but now the wars came to an endish as i say, there's not as much attention that's being given to those that served in the country. i'd love to hear from you what it's like to be in the white house, to have that kind of power and influence on an issue that is extremely important? mrs. bush: well, i would say for one thing you worry. you worry in the white house when you know there are trips in harm's way and you think about them every single night when you get in bed. and there, where you're in the lap of luxury, really, beautiful house where your sheets are changed every single day. it really couldn't be more luxurious and you think about our troops laying out on the ground somewhere. so i would say the main thing about having troops in harm's way when you live there is that you worry about them all the time, every single day. mrs. obama: we've had the honor and the experience to visit our
wounded at walter reed and many military hospitals and that is a sobering experience. i mean, one of the things that barack and i talked about is when we first came into office the first term our visits would last for hours because there would be 25, 50, 75 folks that we'd be seeing going room to room. many with devastating injuries. and now today he just last week went to visit and he was there for 30 minutes because there are fewer of our men and women who are being injured in war. and that feels good. that's something a commander in chief thinks about before they pop off about going to war because when you've spent time
on a base and you know these men and women and you know their families, you don't just talk about war like there are no implications. it's serious business, and lives are changed forever. so i would hope that any commander in chief that would have the privilege of serving would understand that these are real lives and real families that are impacted. bob: when there is a story that does come out of somebody or maybe a large group, there's significant injuries in the war, is it long conversations that you have with the president, with your husband that night? mrs. bush: after visiting at
walter reed, yeah, sure, whatever. we'd talk about them and think about those families and many cases the families were there with them around them. there's one injured warrior that i know of who now we still see who had such a severe head injury. we didn't think we'd ever see him again, that that would be it. he's one of the warriors that george has painted and he painted him with this scar on his head but with his little child on his lap because what a lot of warriors will say is that their families are what saw them through. one couple that george painted, the -- painted him, a portrait of him but he painted his wife with him because this man said his wife was always there, always with him and he had also suffered a head injury where he needed the help that she could get him.
he's doing great now, but george didn't just do his portrait by himself but painted her in it because he credited her with his recovery. mrs. obama: meeting our service members, spending time on military bases fundamentally changes who you are as a civilian. and i know that was true for me because when we -- my first -- i was like most americans. i had limited connection to the military community and it wasn't until barack's campaign in 2008 that i started meeting military spouses and hearing their voices, voices that you don't hear in regular conversation. we talked about all the challenges that working mothers had, you know, financial worries, worrying about raising your kids but with these women mostly, there were the worries of multiple deployments, understanding that these families are moving their kids every two years in service of their country, worrying about
whether there are adequate special ed programs in the schools they're moving to. and doing all of this with a grace and a pride that would -- that blew me away and that's one of the reasons why i am such an advocate for this community. i wish every american had an opportunity to sit down, to go to a base, to meet with families, to meet with service members, to sit down with our veterans because we would think differently about our challenges as individuals. let me tell you, it makes me inspired to work harder because i think as laura said, here we are sitting in the white house. we have no reason to complain when we have 1% of our country serving and sacrificing for the rights and freedoms for the rest of us. so that has been a profound opportunity for me and one of the reasons why i will always champion these men and women and their families as long as i can breathe. bob: you know, it's interesting -- i'd like to children -- talk about children, too, because you both had a chance to have your
kids live with you there in the white house and both of you during times of war. you know, i should mention also real quickly, i didn't hear the full introduction but will reynolds also has four kids and he's gone through what he's gone and it gives you a certain amount of different perspective on things if you do have a child who's in the midst of something significant. i would say most times moving, emotional, maybe even difficult but during these times for both of you, what was it like when you had kids there when this was happening and knowing very well that the commander in chief was the one ultimately responsible for this and probably you're the first ones they turn to? mrs. bush: well, barbara and jenna were freshmen in congress when we moved to the white house so they didn't live there. they've been there, of course, so much -- bob: they were invited to come. [laughter] mrs. bush: there were there as
7-year-olds when their grandparents were there. they had knew the white house like we did because they visited so often. when i wrote my book and wrote my schedule, after 9/11, the weekend after 9/11 barbara and jenna came home to the white house and i knew she wanted to be with their dad and wanted to be with us. they felt great insecurity off at the university of texas and university of yale after the attacks and they wanted to be there with him. and then i noticed that a few -- a month and a half after that our childhood friends from midland, texas, came and i knew that those boys, you know, men that we knew as boys, wanted to be with george. that they just wanted to be there with him. and i think that is really -- no one talked about war. you know, that wasn't a
conversation. the conversation was, we just want to be with you. and i think that's really important. i think that's the way the children are too. they don't want to -- you don't want them to be worried about decisions their father makes. you know, you want them to just feel the security and love that every parent want their children -- mrs. obama: you just want home to be home and you want that for the president because they need that refuge with all they handle during the course of the day. you want them to come up on that elevator, come onto the second floor to the residence they can breathe. they don't need kids hammering them with, dad, why didn't you do this? sometimes malia and sasha will do that. but every now and then at dinner it's like, what were you thinking? [laughter] mrs. obama: but for the most part home is home and that helps keep kids normal.
i wanted my kids decent and kind especially if we were living on the south side of chicago and it takes work to keep white house life normal for the kids. mrs. bush: when is it normal? mrs. obama: it's not normal. mrs. bush: and you have a slumber party with 30. mrs. obama: yeah, just ignore the guys with the guns. i remember one parent-teacher conference when barack went and there were swat guys on top of the roof of the school. malia was like, dad, really? really? do they really have to be up there? and it's like, yeah, honey, they do. let's just keep walking. just keep going. just keep going. bob: they got to put up with that even after they leave. there's going to be security. mrs. obama: well, it's different for -- mrs. bush: it's a different level. mrs. obama: we don't want to
talk about it too much but it's not the same as what it will be for the president -- the former president and former first lady. they're all singing, hey, we're out of here. we get to ditch our agents pretty soon but it's a different level of security. bob: i'm really helping my four kids get back to normal when i leave abc news. [laughter] bob: after i was hit, though, i had to tell my little kids, ok. i'm a new rule. i am not going to cover wars anymore. now, i'm in asia reporting. i can at least do stories about conflict. conflict's not war. you know, we spoke about the -- both of you have accomplished so much. military service initiative, of course. which was yours, mrs. bush. of course, joining forces that you worked on as well. both of you have worked
together, i think, better than most. i mean, i think somebody said you should tell your -- the husbands to behave themselves. compared to the others. but what have you accomplished more or less than you expected in terms of what you're doing for those veterans? when i talk about veterans, i'm not just talking about those wounded in the war. about 25% are considered to have been wounded. the rest have gone out with transitions when they come back. some to a new civilian world. but what have you done for them that's the most important and is it more than you expected? or less? mrs. bush: well, i think in general, there's just a feeling that people support the military. and that it starts at the top. and it's very different, as you said, from vietnam when vietnam -- my generation when they came home from war and were spit upon. and that's not the way it is now. and i think that's really great.
i think i hope our returning veterans really feel the gratefulness and the support of the american public. and i know that -- and you know this too, bob, the thousands of veteran support groups, little mom and pop groups that have sprung up all over the united states because people do want to support our returning vets. and the other thing we should look at is what an asset they are. there have been 2 1/2 million post-9/11 vets and i think another million will be transitioning out in the next year or so. think of the asset that is for our country. these people who chose to serve, who volunteered to serve and now they want to come home and it's up to us, the rest of us to figure out how we can help them keep serving in our community and make a life for themselves that they're happy with and deal
with the trauma that a lot of them have, the trauma of war. mrs. obama: the thing i've been most pleased about with joining forces is it's really been a call to partnership with all sectors -- corporate sector, with our safe communities, with our schools, our educators, our medical community. and what we have seen when you ask, peep step up without -- people step up without hesitation. that's the power of our platforms is a lot of times if laura or i ask for help, people are very receptive. the business community has created millions of jobs for our veterans and our military spouses because of an ask that we made. millions of jobs. helping them get the training, to be able to retain those jobs and to advance within those jobs and the same is true for
military spouses as well. we've been pleased with our local leaders who have answered the call to end veterans homelessness which was part of our call with joining forces. the notion we have even one single veteran living on the streets should be, you know, just considered a travesty to all of us. well, there are many mayors, some governors, some states who have essentially eliminated veterans homelessness because they've answered that call. hollywood community has stepped up. we work closely with writers and producers who've helped develop plot lines that involve our military families, our military community because part of integrating those stories into everyday life helps to normalize these men and women and their families and familiarize the
rest of the civilian community with those issues in sort of a nonpreachy way. so i've just been pleased -- bob: you've done your entertaining as well. i think it was two days ago you were on "ellen degeneres." mrs. obama: we weren't talking about veterans. i don't know what she's been doing. bob: what's the purpose of that? you've been on television shows. mrs. obama: when you make an appearance -- you make things fun. you get people to laugh and you can get people to listen. bob: that's mandatory with her, yes. mrs. obama: and most americans they respond dimple when there's a little humor. people feel you're making yourself vulnerable and feel less like the first lady and more like a neighbor, a friend. but what we were able to do on her show is highlight a number of initiatives, including the work we've been doing with
healthy eating and the work that steph curry has been doing. we had bradley cooper on to highlight "22 kill." bradley cooper has been great around military health for our veterans and service members. bradley's kind of cute and he's a little distracting but if you stop and listen to what he said on "ellen," you know, he was promoting the importance of ensuring that the suicide rates among our military members is reduced. in order to do something about it, you have to know that it's a problem. so people are watching "ellen." they're not always watching the nightly news -- sorry. bob: except abc. mrs. obama: of course. we have to reach people where they are. bob: i know we've seen this before.
nobody wants to talk all seriously all the time for those that have been hit. humor is a great one. my wife tells me i have rocks in my head. mrs. obama: you've had those before. i just -- i'm just speaking for her. bob: you spoke to her, did you? that is correct. of course, i use my -- when she asks me to clean the garage i say, what is a carage. that works extremely well. you know, so much has been done to -- i know in our experience that early when the wars began, well more than a decade ago, is we concentrated on those that come back recovering, to get out of the hospital and get the best treatment that they can but also the next step was to figure out a way to let them get back into their civilian world when they returned to their community and
then, of course, the next one was jobs. i think the number -- this may be right -- i think the rate of unemployment within the -- with the veterans now is lower than the civilian numbers, the rate for unemployment. mrs. bush: that's good news. [applause] bob: the other one, mrs. bush, this is one of your concentrations too. i think most of the attention was largely to those that were visibly wounded. and now we have to realize there's a lot that are invisible. why are you pursuing that as one of your major concentrations? mrs. bush: that's one of the most long-lasting effects of being in trauma like that. and so one of the things that george has done with both the bike rides and the golf is a lot of people recover from those invisible wounds if they're
playing a sport. they can do it with a sport. so those are the two things he's done. of course, that's the whole idea behind invictus and that is a reason. when i moved back to texas with a group that i grew up with, we founded a conservation group called texan by nature. and we just hosted a conference on monday at houston methodist hospital in houston about the benefits of being outside for mental health and one of the people that spoke was a colonel who suffered from p.t.s. about how being outside just even being able to see green. there's research, not a lot on research that proves it but they say that if you just go outside some. and one of the researchers that talked, talked about this problem that a lot of people have where they ruminate over
the problem. you called it rumination and you spend things going through your mind and it's even bad for your brain because you produce a lot of cortisol and that's where p.t.s. can be, where you go through your mind the trauma and you see your best friend being shot over and over and over. and to be able to get out of that, to be able to go outside and get out of it or use a sport or some other way to get out of it is very helpful with posttraumatic stress. the other thing that george has tried to do is take the disorder, the d out of the p.t.s. it's an injury. it's not a disorder. and if people are -- if they're diagnosed with the disorder then they think it hurts them, they won't be able to get a job if you have a disorder but you can improve from an injury. mrs. obama: and that's the work we need to do around mental
health and how the military can be so helpful because mental health affects all americans. one in five americans is dealing with some kind of mental health diagnosis. and the challenge that we have face is there is still a stigma. so people are not -- they don't feel good about identifying and getting the help that they need. sometimes it's viewed as a weakness. and when you think about that -- it's ludicrous. like laura said, it's an illness. could you ever imagine claiming that a cancer patient seeking chemotherapy was somehow being weak or someone with a heart disease you tell them toughen up? but that's where mental health is and our military can play a big role in changing the conversation around mental health for the entire country. because we know these men and women are heroes. we know that they're brave. we understand what's happened and if they can be brave enough
to step up and get the help they need, perhaps that will help some kid in some community who's depressed and maybe thinking about suicide. maybe the research that is happening for our veterans and wounded warriors can be translated -- exactly. can help everybody. and that's one of the reasons with joining forces we've been working with something called the campaign change direction and the goal there is to help the rest of the nation understand the five signs that they need to look out for when somebody has mental health, sort of like c.p.r. training or training for a defibrillator. yes, that thing. but everyone should be aware. employers, teachers, educators so that when you see the signs, you know how to identify them and you can find the resources
to get that person the help they need. this is true for many military spouses as well. it's not just the service members. i mean, the stresses of being a caregiver, the stresses of being that spouse that is dealing with four kids while their spouse is deployed, i mean, we have to make sure that these individuals feel like they can reach out when they need help and they're not drowning all alone. so this is one of the many ways that the work we do with the military community can be translated into positive impacts for the rest of the society. bob: you know, i was going to ask you right before you said about p.t.s. versus posttraumatic stress disorder. there was a movement. there was a stigma. when you talk about employment and just getting back to your world is that that was one that people didn't understand and they were not going to the hire somebody with one they could not identify. that has changed over time. the stigma has dropped. mrs. bush: and people suffering
in any way needs to reach out for the veteran as well as the family and veterans are slow to say i need help. they are tough. they pride themselves on it. and they don't want to jeopardize their chances of getting a job by saying i need help. so i think there are a lot of ways. i've seen some ads actually on television about talking. one man told george about seeing his best friend shot next to him. and he said he couldn't get it out of his mind. then he wrote him a letter afterwards and he said, you know, i never told anyone that. and george said, you waited until you told your former commander in chief and you haven't told anyone else? because those are things people need to be able to talk about. they need to have somebody that listens to them and they can talk about and tell it because that's how you slowly get over
it. bob: you know, you mentioned identify -- identification. anyway, i want to talk about spouses. you mentioned spouses again and children because that's another one that so many times we have heard this, especially early on in our world of the wounded and just all that transactually, the ones that don't get any attention or credit is the spouses, whether it's a man or a woman, a husband or a wife. those that served are the ones that get all of the attention. that's changing over time. and a lot of it is what you two are doing. mrs. obama: we had so much fun working with military spouses. you talk about highly skilled service members, i mean, military spouses, they are smart. they're resilient. they are multitaskers. amazing to the t. they are great spokespeople. they are great managers. they're great leaders but many
of them have had their careers disrupted because they're supporting a spouse. you know, when you're moving every two years, how do you keep up with your job? one of the issues we worked on with joining forces is military spousal licensing. so you manage that you have a job that requires any kind of license, you know, even an aesthetician or social worker, you name it, if you move to another base in another state, there was no reciprocity. many spouses have to go through hours of retraining and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get recertified just to work in their profession. bob r.s.c. nurses? mrs. obama: any job with a license there was no reciprocity. with the start of joining forces that was a key issue and we put a call out to all of the governors. we had one of the meeting with a governors conference and was like, hey, come on people.
you can do this. it was one of the things where a lot of the governors didn't .lot of the governors didn't realize their states didn't have reciprocity. they just hadn't thought about it. so slowly we started to see state legislature -- this is one of these -- this is like a no-brainer, nonpartisan issue. this is a win-win, just get it done. well, from the start to now we now finally have all 50 states who have military spousal licensing reciprocity. [applause] mrs. obama: going on. but we would have never known that had we not had the conversations with these men and women. to hear their challenges, to see what they were going through, to find out what kind of things we could do on the ground. i mean, what would change their lives? and this is just one of them. to talk about the military kids, i mean, the challenges of moving a kid, you know, finding the right programs. if you got a great special ed
program that your kid's in and you're moving to another base, you don't know if that school has that same program. so the level of advocacy and research and skill to be a military spouse to keep your kid on track, if any parent out here -- you just think about your kid and what it takes to get them from kindergarten to 12th great sanely in one school, the average military kid attends seven, eight, nine, 10 schools in their entire primary and secondary school education. and these kids are still graduating on time. they are still at the top of their class. they are still amazing but there's a parent at home that's doing a lot of heavy lifting to make that happen. a lot of advocating. one of jill's initiative -- jill biden -- a blue star mom in her own right -- is working with the education community on a range of these issues as well. so there's so much that we need
to know about the challenges that military families face. they are holding up this country just as much as the men and women who are serving on those front lines. and they're just as proud and just as reticent to complain or ask for help. bob: so that's why your president won a second term, so you didn't have to move the kids? mrs. obama: the reason he won, he wanted to make sure that his teenage girls had agents throughout high school. [laughter] mrs. obama: men with guns. that was a great motivator. bob: my kids -- i have four kids. my wife and i moved to 10 different cities in our -- my son, by the time he was 11 it was his eighth city and i wasn't even in the military. so at least i had -- mrs. obama: was the rocks in your head thing. bob: how many times are you going to say that? ok. it's true. the other thing that's
interesting to talk about first ladies and the history to see cokie talk about and the great historians talk about this is if you compare to what you're doing now as first ladies compared to what the first ladies did before, it's interesting to see some in history went to the war zones and worked and dealt with those that came back. physically with the blood. but the number of hours that you put into it, if you compared them, what do you think? is it just much more unending in terms of the participation by first ladies in all of this? mrs. bush: i think first ladies have been pretty active forever. mrs. obama: eleanor roosevelt, drop the mike on that one. mrs. bush: they used to think, they thought this about lady bird johnson. isn't that sweet that she likes flowers? the first lady likes flowers. and she was really one of the very first, you know,
conservationists that talked about using native plants. bob: so that takes us to the next step. i know you're always doing this well after you left. what are you going to do when you go? what's going to be your priority in terms of all the work? you've done everything -- many, many initiatives even other than the veterans ones and i won't ask which one you'll concentrate the most. how much do you think you'll be involved in this as time goes by? do you think this will be the rest of your life for both of you? mrs. obama: absolutely. what else are we going to do? mrs. bush: the fact is, you really have a podium, really, always. people still listen to barbara bush, you think. i certainly do. [laughter] [applause] bob: do you obey her? mrs. bush: it's a really wonderful -- it's just great for us to be able to have the
opportunity to contribute to things and do things. keep working on what we're interested in. these are all issues that don't ever -- you don't say -- mrs. obama: done. finished. mrs. bush: you have to work on literacy forever. mrs. obama: i was going to say, to do this, you have to have a strong public service bone sort of built in you. and i know that's true for me. it's true for my husband. i mean, long before he ran for office we left corporate law and we were working with kids and mentoring. he was a community organizer. i worked for the city government. that's sort of what you do and you don't stop because there's always something to do so i can't imagine that i'll leave here and really kick my feet up and say, oh, good luck with that. mrs. bush: you'll do that a little bit.
mrs. obama: i'll do that a little bit. you're right. bob: what's going to be your hobby? president bush now taking painting on as one of his main things. i think we're going to get a book wednesday -- in march, sorry, i'd like to have it on wednesday but we'll have it then. did he do a great painting of you? mrs. bush: no. he was not successful in the painting of me. mrs. obama: oh, no. mrs. bush: but he has painted port rates of wounded warriors that he's gotten -- portraits of wounded warriors that he's gotten to know. he wrote their stories. bob: and he's donating all the profit. mrs. bush: to the military -- bob: to my foundation. joking about that. mrs. bush: there is life after the white house. no new sheets every day. mrs. obama: that's ok. bob: so then we're going to have
a brand new administration coming very soon. you can't win any more terms. it's not roosevelt anymore. mrs. obama: that's fine. bob: your kids are going to have to move and do something. do you have some advice to the next first lady or first gentleman that comes into the white house about how to deal with initiatives, generally, but largely for operating out of the white house? i know there's a lot of remarkable organizations that are doing so much for the veterans. had a chance to go and they visit the white house and it changes their attitude a lot. but is there any specifically you'd tell to the next? mrs. obama: i would hope, as with previous administrations, that this next administration will prioritize our service members, our veterans and our families. it should be high on the list.
this is' something everyone can do to support this community but the commander in chief, the first family, the second family, the vice president, they have an obligation to set that tone. i think laura said that earlier. with this platform, you can raise the bar high enough on this issue. so i would hope that this is -- that this responsibility comes with the house and that every administration will try to top the next one in what they do for these men and women. whatever you call it. whether it's joining forces or you name it something else, but the work of making sure that this country never forgets the service and sacrifice, particularly when it comes to our gold star families, that we hold them in our hearts, that we don't just honor them with words but we do things that impact their lives. as much as laura and i have done, there's still so much work to be done. everything is not fixed. so there's plenty for the next administration to do. and i think -- i would urge all of our veterans organizations,
our blue star moms, our gold star families, everyone, to keep the pressure on the next administration, hold them accountable, ask the same important questions that you've asked of these presidencies to make sure that we never go back to the time of vietnam war where a veteran comes home and they're afraid to even identify as a service member. i'll never forget. when i realized we were having an impact was the time we went to a v.a. center and there was a gentleman, mr. black, who came up after a conversation about what was going on at the v.a. center we had highlighted and he said, you know, i have never been more proud to be a veteran than now. he said, i used to never tell anybody that i was a veteran because i never knew what their reaction would be. and he said, now every day i don't leave the house without something that identifies me as a veteran because i don't care where i am. people are going to stop me.
they thank me. they say, thank you for your service. we're so proud of you. he said, now i don't leave the house without something that identifies me as a veteran. and that just -- that warmed my heart and that's something we have to think about for all these men and women who are going to be transitioning. our women veterans. there will be more and more women veterans out there. you have to hold them up and let them know that we're grateful. so -- mrs. bush: and a lot of the vietnam vets will be going to the v.a. because of age. some may have brain injuries that were never really identified before. so we'll start to see a big -- i think a big number of vietnam vets now coming into the v.a. the hospitals. bob: and i think people just assume there's really no battles going on but we're going all over the world with more conflicts and more special ops and c.i.a. and underground kind
of operations. that's going to continue for a long time. hopefully we're not going to have another major war again. sometimes i say this is a little bit maybe too emotional about it, but i look back at the good thing of being blown up, if there's ever such a thing, it's so fulfilling to have a relationship with a group of americans that have served, have done so much partly because they volunteered. my own 25-year-old son and my 22-year-old daughter don't have to join of military unless they really want to. but how has that been for you? i know it's as well -- to some degree it's an obvious answer to it but have you ever cried much? mrs. obama: oh, god, yeah. i cry all the time. but it's more tears of pride.
i am moved by this community. moved deeply because when we talk about pride of country, when we talk about citizenship, when we talk about all the things we want. we want a strong defense. we want to beat back terrorism. all of this is resting on the shoulders of this one community. i said, 1% of the country that's stepping up to serve to protect the freedoms of us all. and we can't just talk strong defense if we're not taking care of these men and women. not just during their service but after. so, yeah, i do get emotional. i get emotional when i see a young man with all his limbs blown off at walter reed and i see a young family sitting there and i wonder what are they going to do. and then a few months later i see that young man with his prosthetics and next month i see
him walking and then next year you see them -- him competing in the invictus games. it clutches your heart in a way that you can't imagine. we've been able to follow those journeys to watch people go from traumatic injury to victory, and there is a strength and a power to that that you just can't, you know -- mrs. bush: and just a resilience also of people. and of america. our whole country, i think, it's very -- we're so lucky to live where we live. bob: which is another reason why it's so important for you to concentrate on the invisible wounds, too, because our medicine advancement -- actually working an hour for pbs, medicine, it's another thing about the wars one of the positive aspects of it is medical advancements. so now the civilian world of medicine. people say five years i was hit
i would not be here right now. it creates other invisible wounds that will last forever. it's going to mean even more. that's one thing you're going to concentrate on when you go which is remarkable. i want to thank both of you for what you're doing. i haven't sadly done the research how much previous first ladies have done for the veterans. i know that we have brand new wars. it was sort of after the cold war before but you have, again, you've done more than anybody expected and your influence has been remarkable. i just want to thank you personally and i think from everyone here for doing what you're doing. [applause] bob: so i think that means we can stand up. mrs. bush: thank you, michelle. mrs. obama: thank you, laura.
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [applause] as the nation in a new president, will america has its first foreign-born first lady or lily have a former first president asked for his
gentleman? learn more about presidential spouses, now available on paperback. "first ladies" gives a look at first ladies throughout american history. it features interviews with leading first lady historians. each chapter offers biographies of 45 presidential spouses. affairs. by public it is now available at your favorite bookseller. announcer: on the communicators, we are talking with professor of electrical and computer engineering at carnegie mellon about the developments of self driving cars. cadillac you see behind , we- the next generation
are focusing on using automotive enableogies, they will to deal with more scenarios on the roads and they should also be able to drive on roads they have never seen before. announcer: monday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. join us next week for the conclusion of the series on cars. next, former secretary of state madeleine albright receives the great american's award from the national museum of american history. she talks with david rubenstein about immigrating from czechoslovakia, working for jimmy carter, and her appointment as secretary of state. is one hour.