tv Michelle Obama and Laura Bush Discuss Role and Legacy of First Ladies CSPAN October 15, 2016 11:15am-12:11pm EDT
power -- there is that. >> this weekend, we are featuring the history of peoria, illinois, together with our comcast cable partners. c-span.org/citie stour. you're watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3. >> up next on american history tv, former first lady laura bush joins first lady michelle obama onstage at the national archives to discuss the u.s. military and veterans. both women served in the white house during wartime and reflect on how they help the military community and why their work is important. woodruff moderated the discussion.
great streete the of hearing from laura bush and michelle obama, who are friends and have done several of these events together, and they very much wanted to do this one together, to talk about first andes and the military their own particular roles and that they have promoted very wonderfully over the years and they wanted to do it together, because they like doing that, which is so heartening in these troubled times. hear from them, we are going to hear from a member of the military, captain william b. reynolds iii. family movedlds' from guyana and raised him in a tradition of dedication to service, public service, and
instilled that in him from the time of his birth, and he took it to heart, went to west point, and then was served, first in korea and twice in iraq, and on the second deployment in iraq, he was the chief of reconnaissance in sniper deployment, in sniper deployment, and six months into that deployment he was nearly fatally wounded by an improvised explosive device. .e came back to be treated even during that time he served in a staff role at the pentagon as the deputy operations officer to the joint ied defeat organization. since leaving the military, he has been incredibly accomplished, publishing a book
"making it millennial," a study of how the government can relate better to the younger generation, and he has been the intain of the american team the invictus games, where he met both of our first ladies, who will soon be talking. and a trackist star, despite having lost a leg as a result of his injuries in iraq. is a father of her children, while doing all of these other things, and is on the board of disabled sports usa, u.s. military endurance sports and the positivity project. please welcome captain reynolds. [applause] captain reynolds: thank you.
thank you. thank you. and good morning. nearly the breath of history we have been showered with today to share with you, but i will start by providing a little personal history and my connection with the first ladies. a you heard from cokie, from young age i dedicated my life to service. i've made the dedication not only because i was a first-generation immigrant, to repay the american dream a family was able to live, but to also uphold those principles but he underserved. i started serving, first through church and scouting, and ultimately through the military. a few years into my professional military service, as you heard,
i was leading combat on a second appointment. what i had come to know as my identity with service was ripped away for me. although i was making a relatively successful recovery, my ability to serve was over. however, that was naïve thinking at the ripe age of 24. walter reed medical center at my hospital bed in 2004 and then 2005 by then bush,r obama, president and senator kerry, i was continually thank for my service and for inspiring them and the american people. it was then i realized i mission of serving a changed from the army infantry mission to inspiring the friendly's. to that end, i am thankful to to the families of first ladies michelle obama and laura bush to helping me make that pivot and change the way i serve. because of that motivation, i
for thee on the board character outreach and development for youth. i never knew the breath of -- the breadth of service that could be done through the corporate sector and the community at large. if there are three individuals who embody the full gamut of what is possible, these three individuals i'm introducing our it. from raising successful families to contributing to successful campaigns and ultimately utilizing the office of the first lady to bring to light important matters of social change, the first ladies have done so much for the preservation and advancement of american culture. most parents in the room with a parenting is our most important job and i know that rings true with the first ladies. we have seen firsthand the great job they have done in raising their daughters in the public eye and also to serve. and in the midst of all this,
they have been very giving up their time. in fact, the first lady gave up her mother's day to inspire the 500 injured service members of the invictus games this year down in orlando, which we were all grateful for. at that very same event were not only former president bush and former first lady mrs. bush in attendance, but also jenna bush and her first role as a correspondent and journalist. we are all waiting with bated breath to see how sasha and malia serve. operation iraqi freedom educated my -- the american people on my former identification with service. and as we know, bob's service into the way mine did. not only have i been a benefactor of the bob woodward foundation and the invictus games, which bob has been a part
of, but i have seen the strides in research and the rounds of mental health and germanic brain injury that organizations like the bob woodruff foundation have been able to -- o-matic brain injury that organizations like the bob woodruff foundation have been able to inspire. it is a family affair. without further ado, i introduce bush, first lady laura mrs. obama, and bob woodruff. [applause]
>> thank you, well. bob: what an honor it is to be here today. first of all, i want to tell both of you that my wife -- who is also my commander -- >> as it should be. also wanted me to say hello to you. i also had a chance to see president bush at the invictus games, where it was such a clear indication of how absolutely committed he is -- reynolds is out there, i think winning everything, and i had a chance to talk to president bush about what he is doing. president obama, of course, too. he is deeply committed to this. it's interesting. i just talked to mrs. obama backstage. i had a chance to see him in
the topicsne of there was what he thought of vietnam and the war there, and laos, we have a lot of on detonated bombs still the ground. i asked him -- all of those veterans. he and i were born august, 19 61, so, he is two weeks older than me. we ask about that, and we looked at war so differently back in the 1960's and 1970's because there were drafts and certainly, we were not attacked on our turf. but those veterans who did serve vietnam, ios and said, do you call them heroes? he said absolutely. this is not something reserved for the more recent wars, the voluntary wars. you know, my experience here, as will say, one we never expected, having been wounded in the wars,
we experienced a lot of -- not diminishing attention, but now that the wars came to an end-ish, as they say, there is not much attention being given to those who served in the country. and i would love to hear from you what it is like to be in the white house, to have that kind of power and influence on an issue that is extremely important? i would say for sure one thing is worry. you worry in the white house when you know there are troops in harms way and you think about them every single night when you get in bed. and there you are in the lap of luxury, really -- beautiful house where your sheets are changed every single day. it really could not be more getrious, and you could not embed without thinking that your troops are lying on the ground somewhere.
the main thing about having troops in harms way is you worry about them all the time, every single day. honor and: we had the the experience to visit our winded at walter reed and many military hospitals, and that is a sobering experience. i mean, one of the things barack and i have talked about is when we first came into office, our first term, our visits would last for hours because there goingbe 2550, 75 folks room to room, many with devastating injuries. and now just last week. he 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. in that feels good. i mean, that is something a commander-in-chief things about before they pop off about going
to war. when you have spent time on a base and you know these minute women and you know their families, you don't just talk about war like there are no implications. it is serious business. and lives are changed forever. i would hope any commander in chief that would have the privilege of serving would understand these are real lives and real families that are impacted. bob: there is a story that comes out of somebody -- maybe a large group -- that comes out of injuries in the war, long conversations that you have with your husband, with the president at night? mrs. bush: after visiting walter reed, yes. we would think about this families, and in many cases, the
families were there with them around them. there is one injured warrior i know we still see that had such , we did notd injury think we would ever see him again. and he is one of the warriors george has painted. and he painted him with this car with his little child on -- with this scar, with his little child on his lap. what a lot of lawyers -- warriors will say is their families saw them through. one family george painted, he painted 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 he was getting. he is doing great now. but george did not just do his portrait by himself, but painted
her. he credited 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.
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 ther 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? 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 radio that are invisible -- 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. 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 kumhotherapy was somehow being weak or you -- 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 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. 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 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. [applause] 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.
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. [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 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. 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. 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.
once there, you will the calendar for this term, a list of all current justices. you can watch oral arguments that we have aired in c-span appearances by supreme court justices. tonight on lectures and history. -- ors on the cold where immigration policy. a realistic understanding of the nation. much inument didn't do 1952. what empowersome truman and other residents is refugees beenbout
extraordinarily useful, they are in the nation's interest. you can see this in the ways in which they define refugees as not just political refugees, but his anti-communist who are allies. we have an obligation to let them in. tonight on c-span three american history tv. >> next, former secretary of state madeleine albright receives the rate americans award. she talks with david rubenstein about emigrating from czechoslovakia, working for jimmy carter, her time at the united nations, and her appointment to secretary of state by president con