tv JFK Profile in Courage Award to Speaker Pelosi CSPAN May 30, 2019 4:39pm-5:20pm EDT
q&a, the memoir, everything happens for a reason. reflecting on being diagnosed with stage four: cancer at the age of 35. >> it's really gone, right? there is no pain in your stomach, right? then it is real. 's confidence in himself is that vehicle, and in the idea that because she didn't have pain in that moment that she is definitely healed. and his very dramatic approach to faith healing is one that i often found to be somewhat manipulative. >> q&a, sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span. pelosie speaker nancy received this year's profile encourage a word. caroline kennedy/berg, the
daughter of jackie -- the daughter of jfk, presented the award. this is just over 30 minutes. gentlemen, please welcome ambassador caroline kennedy, honorary president of the john f. kennedy library foundation. >> ♪ fly me to the moon >> good evening. i'm so glad it's not sweet caroline. thank you all for coming to celebrate with us. i know that every year, everyone here has some he things that the could be doing, so we really are honored and we take great pride tothe fact that you choose spin this evening with us. this year, given the fact that game of thrones is finishing, we are even more honor than usual.
i look forward to this night every year because i know that tomorrow, like all of you, i worry -- i will be more inspired to act with more courage and andassion in my own life with you all to renew our commitment to public service. this year is extra special, not only has the woman that we honor dedicated her life to the ideals my father lived by, but i have probably as big a crush on her as she had on president kennedy when she wore her prom dress to the oval office. the celebration would not be possible without the support of everyone in this room. butjust on this night, throughout the year. the work of the john f. kennedy library and foundation is a labor of love for our family, and all of you make it possible. i would especially like to thank
ryne kennedy for your outstanding generosity and leadership of this dinner and i would also like to salute that men and women of raytheon who have always supported the kennedy library and who i saw working daily to protect america as far away as japan and all around the world, so thank you. [applause] i want to thank ron sargent for his leadership of the foundation. we learned so much from your wise, quiet skill, and we are so grateful for your generosity and commitment. i want to thank the board of the foundation, especially my husband, who didn't realize he was marrying a library 33 years ago, but who has worked so hard and his vision has made a model for the national archive system in many important ways. [applause] thank you for supporting all of
and its ideas. , i'mwe gather each year reminded of the most important lesson my grandmother taught us, that politics is about family. people in politics couldn't do it without their families, and tonight, that is more true than ever. back longer than i've been alive. they have a shared set of values and believe in each person and using the political process to improve the lives of all americans. president kennedy would never have made it to the white house mayors the support of all over the country. our family would like to salute all the family members of public officials that are here tonight, especially the members of the pelosi family, starting with paul. but we are so happy to have all of you here supporting the honoree, and it makes it so much more fun. [applause]
to recognize the members of the profile in courage award committee. i cannot say they worked very hard this year because there was not much debate about who the winner should be. as we try to make sense of these divided times, the history here in this library can offer us a way forward, not by repeating what was done before, but by learning how america met past challenges and what qualities we need to overcome our own. my father believed that the most important is courage. the strength to do the right thing, no matter the cost. so many of you here, your parents and grandparents, stood with my father, with my uncle teddy as they pop for justice and peace in a more welcoming and inclusive america. now that work is more important than ever and is being done by a new generation.
i want to recognize all the members of congress who are working with the speaker to carry this work forward and ask you all to please stand and be recognized. i know she is so happy that you are all here. [applause] often, courage is not rewarded by some who preferred that politicians work to serve a narrow interests. that's what's so inspiring about tonight and what makes speaker believes he -- speaker pelosi the most consequential woman in american political history. i saw her inspire a nation of japanese women when she visited, just as she has inspired generations of americans, men and women. no one advocated a strongly for american workers, for human rights, peace and security, or
for california writes as she did when she came to tokyo. she has consistently acted in service of her highest principles in our most vulnerable citizens. she has suffered defeat, but she has never given up. thanks to her courage, we have health care for all americans. [applause] most diverse democratic ,ongress in american history and the strength to stand firm against the administration's assault on the rule of all -- the rule of law. now i would like to ask jack schlossberg to come up and present the award. jack has embraced the work of this library in this award. he worked harder than anyone to
make sure that stays relevant today. he contributes a unique perspective and insight and he contributes it loudly. i'm so grateful to him for bringing joy to the effort and i'm proud of him and all that he is becoming. so thank you, jack, for helping me out. ♪ >> i think we are all parties -- pretty surprised, a self included, to know that you watch game of thrones. i had no idea. i have the best mother in the entire world. everyone says that. everybody says that, but for me, it's actually true. me and myo much for sisters, for my dad, for the library and our whole family. i learned so much from watching her in japan where she brought
her intellect, humor, and curiosity to everything she did. she and my father worked very hard to make this a vibrant institution, and we owe them a round of applause. [applause] thank you for being here. this event is always really special for me, not only because it is always the last thing for me in summer vacation, but it's also a moment to draw wisdom from president kennedy, to carry on his legacy, to celebrate in our time what he most admired in his, and that is political courage. this is my six year serving on the committee and presenting that award. mayors,nor congressman, and governors. each made decisions to put the national interest above their own. they were all courageous, inspiring, and they were all men. [laughter] but tonight we honor the most important woman in american
political history. [applause] and a profile encourage if there ever was one. when we think of political courage, we often imagines someone standing up for what is right when no one else will, and who then suffers the consequences. defeated, run out of town, but with their integrity and their conscience intact, at least. that's one way to do it. but i like speaker pelosi's model better. 17 term congresswoman and twice elected speaker of the house of representatives, hers is a career of courage, spanning a decade of change and challenge, , all inng victory service to our country. for anyone who doesn't know her story well, let me briefly summarize. she wins, wins again, make sister, and then keeps winning.
-- makes history, and then keeps winning. after working in politics for a decade, she was first elected to the house in 1987. she has not lost a race since. in 2002, she became house minority leader, making her the highest ranking woman in congressional history at that point. in 2006, she became the first ever female speaker, a toddler she reclaimed earlier this year -- a title she reclaimed earlier this year. [applause] historicical successes , but they are not what makes her a profile encourage. instead, it's what she has done with it, the different she has made in people's lives. an example of leadership she has provided to all of us. she is responsible for major legislative achievements, chief among these is the affordable care act. there is a reason why presidents have tried and failed to do this
for 17 years. to borrow a phrase and make sure i'm on theme, it's not because it was easy, it's because it was really, really, really hard. speaker pelosi was critical in passing the bill, and i always heard that, but i did some research to find out what made that true. my fellow distinguished committee never, david axelrod, told me in no uncertain terms, he said there would be no affordable care act without nancy pelosi. period, end of story. when it looked like its passage in the house was hopeless, she quietly and brilliantly navigated a path to victory, painstakingly putting together one vote at a time. she knew which buttons to push and how to push them. that was another thing i have always heard about speaker pelosi, that she is the master boat getter. total control of everybody. she says jump, they say, how high?
i wanted to know how she does it, so i asked her colleagues in the house. they tell me she never, ever stops working. .he said she knows how to count the secret doesn't depend on some hidden technique. her secret is, she goes over and over and over the count herself. votes, shee not 218 starts over. when that happened during the health care fight, she told her staff, give me the list, and leave me alone. and not just on health care. in 2008 she committed to president bush that she would peliver the votes for the tar bailout. she told her caucus the following. the american people sent us here to do a job for them, and that's what we must do. we will vote today, and i don't want to hear how you cannot support this field because you may lose your seat in congress. that is not why we percent here. ultimately, as congressman
kennedy, my cousin, told me, she believes political power is not to have and to hold, it's to be used, because government can make lives better. [applause] so doing her job and not just keeping it, and demanding the same of others, that is what makes her a profile encourage. if that all were not enough, we have watched this year as speaker pelosi summoned the courage to protect the fundamental character and promise of our government when others attacked them openly, abandon them quietly, or violate them deliberately. she is steadfast in her commitment to procedure, in her defense of the constitution and inserting the proper role of the legislative branch. she has met cynicism with optimism. she has met mudslinging with respect and substance, and infighting with her values and platform. her discipline, focus, and
>> i just said to these youngsters, i don't see any reason to make a speech right now. all those beautiful things, and i accept the compliments on behalf of all my colleagues in the house of representatives who made all of our accomplishments possible with their courage. but acknowledging those -- i must first pay tribute to the president who inspired this award. when we think back across the best and hardest passages of the past more than half century, we not only remember the singular presence of john f. kennedy, but we can see as if it were only yesterday how the patriotism, brilliance, self-deprecating wit symbolized grace he truly did captivate and inspire this country and the world. lifee renewed our public in the very definition of
america itself. our presence now, here this evening, in this ceremony this celebrates andy honors him. but i too am honored with this award is something i accept with the full and humble heart. so thank you, jack, and ambassador kennedy. jack, you not only share your grandfather's name, but his spirit and commitment to public service at its best as a noble profession. i love what your mother had to say about you. it makes us also proud to see you. caroline, how proud your mother , with the would be dignity with which you represent the united states in japan. to witness that glorious day when the people tokyo flooded the streets to witness you, to by -- nottravel
carriage.hat is it -- travel by carriage to present your credentials to the emperor of japan. to witness america's best complement to japan. [applause] thank you ed and rose, for being your own manifestation of excellence in everything that you do. you, ron sargent, for being such an important leader of the foundation and for regaling us this evening with the goals of the foundation, but also the participation of so many in your important work. that is an applause line. [applause]
speaker pelosi: there you go. and to tom kennedy for your leadership and for welcoming us to this extraordinary place, let me express but also thank you for helping us honor our oath to protect and defend the constitution of the united states. thank you for your extraordinary leadership. [applause] and let me express my abiding gratitude to the courage award committee. i think they really did a good job. [laughter] speaker pelosi: i am in my new mode of not being a modest woman in politics. i'm happy about it. [applause] speaker pelosi: and i want to extend my congratulations to alice r kramer for being selected as the 2019 profile in courage essay contest winner. a beautiful essay.
he wrote about one of the first six women as she was in the chair of veteran affairs committee. celebrating with those in my family who are my foundation in my heart. my husband, paul, of 55 years. [applause] speaker pelosi: our children, nancy, karen, christine, jaclyn, paul, and alexandra. our grandchildren, madeline, alexander, paul, and thomas. our other grandchildren, busy with studies and exams but here in spirit. liam, sean, ryan. also, our sons who are here. -- sons-in-law here. also like family to me senator chris dodd. friends long before any of us were in congress. i am honored that they are here with us tonight.
[applause] speaker pelosi: i am pleased to be joined by so many members of our official family in congress. from massachusetts, ryland, connecticut, texas, california, maryland. i include former members of congress, i'm including the secretary of state john kerry. and including congressman joe kennedy, who eloquently enacts, in his generation, the kennedy commitments to be a voice for the voiceless. the kennedy family has given so much to america's history and america's's future.
we remain in all of the courage -- in all of the courage -- awe of the courage that is the kennedy constant. there courage to accept the best -- the tests that have descended upon them and the courage of faith and hope. caroline, i specially remain inspired by the courage of your grandmother, your mother, jaclyn, especially on this day, and by your courage, madam ambassador. [applause] speaker pelosi: i pride the distinction of being associated with a past recipient, for over three decades who was wrecked -- recognized as embodying the most admirable of human virtues of courage. many have been honored from the congress of the united states,
but some of us are courage up close and personal, and among those honored was our friend billy jack. a proud deficit hawk who was recognized for his courage to speak out publicly against the war in iraq. before him came the peacemakers of northern ireland. john human george mitchell. , themonth while in ireland head of our delegation, on the 21st anniversary of the friday accord -- [applause] speaker pelosi: i was privileged to address parliament, the irish parliament, where we invoke the cash where i at that time invoked the words president kennedy spoke in that very chamber in the summer of 1963. this is what he said. the supreme reality of our time is our indivisibility as children of god and our common
vulnerability on this planet. just think how wise those words are and what appropriate guidance they are at this time. let me repeat them. he said the supreme reality of our time is our indivisibility as children of god and our common vulnerability on this planet. an imperative for us to do the right thing. i want to express my gratitude in personal terms as to what this means to me. when i was a girl in catholic school, the irish nuns from sing theuld always praises of the kennedy family. that was a long time ago. in grade school, it was they who
assigned profiles in courage, which had such an impact in me and on my generation. in high school, i had the privilege to meet senator kennedy when he came to baltimore. my father was the mayor and i got to sit at the head table. everyone there was dazzled by his brilliance. in college, i attended the inauguration. on that day, heard an electrifying call to public service. that did i suspect then later as house democratic leader i would participate in the ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of his inauguration voicering his reverberated through the rotunda of the capital with that beautiful inaugural address. never did i expect that as speaker of the house, i would be given this profile in courage award. profile in courage. courage. courage is in the dna of america. courage and the optimism of hope that go with it, which are the
shaping experiences, the shaping spirits of the american experience. president kennedy had the courage, optimism, and hope, when he pledged to america we would land on the moon before the decade was out. imagine the courage. when president kennedy challenged america to go to the moon in his speech, he spoke words that today are a constant inspiration. my colleagues will recognize them. like the first page of all of our innovation initiatives. he said the vows of this nation can only be fulfilled if we in the nation are first. and therefore, we intend to be first. in short, our leadership in science and industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligation to ourselves and to others, all require that we make this effort. today, the words are the preamble to our innovation
agenda and our constant motivation to address the urgency of the climate crisis. which is the challenge of our day. president kennedy knew that america's's success in that venture would take us well beyond the moon. it was to solve problems here on earth as well. courage is in the dna of america. it was in the dna of our founders. it was manifested when they declared independence premised on equality, which was the first time any nation had done that before. when they declare and wage and won a war in the power that -- on the greatest naval power that existed at the time. when they declared not only a new nation but a new order for what they inscribed in the great seal of the united states forever. optimism, hope, courage.
imagine the audacity of their vision and their trust. it was not arrogance but courage that launched this historic experiment in democracy, the united states of america. america has always been a place of courage, from immigrants who crossed the seas to take a chance, many knowing they would never see their homes again. to the pioneers who crossed the continent. that saga has its scars, but without their courage, we would not be america from sea signing sheet. --the heroes that protect sea to shining sea. to the heroes that protect our country, the first responders and caregivers. to my father, who blazed the trail is one of the first italian americans in congress,
the first catholic mayor of baltimore, who would one day be sworn into the kennedy administration by the president himself in the oval office. to my colleagues -- and that's just an example. that's just an example. to my colleagues in the congress who had the courage to elect me the first woman speaker of the house. [applause] i do not like it when people say i'm highest ranking woman this or that. because i thought by now we would certainly have a female president. -- a woman president. hopefully, that will be in the near future. however, it did take courage for my colleagues to elect me speaker. when i became speaker the first time, a massachusetts democrat,
father ryan spoke to members at a mass the day before my swearing-in at my alma mater, now trinity university in washington. my roommates are here. he reminded us of our responsibility to the children -- so now maybe we have the women -- have a woman speaker, may be the focus will be on the children. urging us never to forget jesus's personal of of children. he said as i look around this church, i see many people with conviction and commitment to their ideals. but what is important is the courage to act upon those ideals. in my public life, i have seen leaders who understood that their duty was not to do it was easy, but what was right. especially when my colleagues had the courage to support the affordable care act. the health care reform senator kennedy called the cause of our
lives. when he left us, the press came to me and said, i guess it is over for you and the affordable care act. i said not at all. senator kennedy said over and over, this is the cause of our lives, the challenge of our generation, and we will not let this opportunity pass. they said it does not look possible. how do you intend to do it? i said we're going to do it and we will not let any obstacle stand in our way. so we go up to the gate. the gate is locked. we push open the gate. if we don't push open the gate, we leapfrog over it or polevault over it. if that does not work, we will parachute in. but we are not letting anything stand in the way of passing affordable health care for all americans. [applause]
speaker pelosi: so when we did, they came in and said, which one did you do? and i said, actually, we only pushed open the gate. we were able to do that because of the courage of my colleagues in the congress of the united states. most of the reason i'm receiving this award is because of passing the affordable care act with all of my democratic colleagues in the senate. -- in the house of representatives and in the senate. it was not just us. so many of you were there with us helping to push open the gate. at the grassroots level, the mobilization of children with pre-existing conditions, the nuns, just so many health care providers. so many people standing with us in pushing open the gate.
a real demonstration of what president lincoln said, public sentiment is everything. with it, you can accomplish almost anything and without it, practically nothing. well, the public was with us pushing that gate open. which made a big difference in the economic well-being of american working families. so they were all profiles in courage. they were all profiles in courage. [applause] speaker pelosi: in their name and the name of all who hold fast to an ideal in the midst of a storm, i accept this award. i do so with a word about what we face in these unprecedented years. in the darkest hours of the american revolution, thomas
payne wrote that times have found us. founders in the revolution, they found lincoln at the time of the civil war, they found other times in world war ii. they found leaders in our country. we don't place ourselves in those categories of founders or linkedin, but we do recognize , but we dof lincoln recognize the urgency of now in terms of what the challenge is to the constitution of the united states. so the times have found us to strengthen america. it is not about politics. it is about patriotism. [applause] how fitting it is that this award takes the form of a stunning lantern. symbolizing the fire that lights the world. you recognize those words. thank you for this award, which
i will proudly display the speaker's office of the v united -- the united states as a shining symbol of our obligation to meet the challenges of the times that have found us. thank you. god bless the memory of president kennedy and the family he loved. may we heed his words that here on earth, god's work must truly be our own. thank you so much for this honor. god bless you, god bless america. thank you so much. [applause] ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] announcer: watch commencement speeches all week on c-span.
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