tv Veterans Day Ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial CSPAN December 29, 2017 8:27am-9:28am EST
[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. 2017] good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. i'm the ceo of the vietnam veterans memorial fund. i will be your master of ceremonies today. it is my pleasure to be the first to welcome you to the veterans day ceremony at the wall. before we begin the formal program, i would like to the gold starof family members we have with us
here today. fathers, wives, siblings, spouses, nieces, nephews, and sons and daughters in touch. all of those who experienced the loss of a loved one and know all too well of the sacrifices that our military families make. to those still waiting for the return of their loved ones who are listed as missing. thank you for joining us. [applause] i'd also like to take a moment to thank the wall volunteers, they are the folks you see in the yellow jackets and hats. of the vietnam veterans memorial fund for all they do year-round to honor veterans and reserve the memorial. they truly put everything they have into making the experience of every visitor at the wall as meaningful as it can be. [applause]
my last thank you today goes to our 35th anniversary commemoration sponsors. alan bucklew, william, ian did smith.r. and mrs. fred w land of the free foundation. the slater foundation, usaa, and wells fargo. thank you for helping us make today's ceremony and all we have done to mark the 35th anniversary of the wall possible. [applause] before we begin our program, we will pause to recognize our pows and mias to call your attention to our pow mia chair, which occupies a place of dignity and honor on our stage. let us always remember and never
forget their sacrifice. i'd like to start our program today with an invitation. please welcome our chaplain, major luis, who will lead us in the invitation. please join me in prayer. father, as we celebrate the 35th anniversary of this wall, let us remember those who have served. and those are that are here today, and those that are not. we pray for those that are here today that still carry the scars from service in vietnam. we ask in your precious and mighty name, amen. >> now i would like to introduce the joint armed forces color guard and the military district of washington for our presentation of colors.
the home of the brave. [applause] >> please remain standing while army lieutenant general chars lead -- charles leads us in the pledge of allegiance. my name is lieutenant general chuck petey on behalf of our acting secretary ryan mccarthy and general mark millie, our chief of staff, if i may add, my father and father-in-law, who are both vietnam veterans. i thank you for being here and for the privilege of leading you in our pledge of allegiance. if you would please your hand over your heart and join me. flagdge allegiance to the of the united states of america.
>> please be seated. the vietnam veterans memorial fund hosts a ceremony each year in partnership with the national parks service. like to welcome the secretary of the interior as our partner in today's secretary -- their money. veteran hehe, as a understands the importance of the sacrifices of those who serve our nation through military service. we are pleased to have him join us to read names listed on the wall. welcome secretary zinke. [applause]
happy veterans day. of us have a different experience about vietnam. my experience was growing up in a town called whitefish, montana. day, a parade would go by. my grandfather owned a chevrolet dealership and would bring me to the curb and give me a flag. i remember the veterans marching by. the time the veterans would march by the year and the war they fought. i remember the doughboys, they had their weapons shoulders. and they marched brilliantly. followed by the world war ii veterans. ofthe time, there was a lot world war ii veterans. you may call the world war ii veterans growing up in my lifetime with the ones that were
civic leaders in charge of lions club and the kiwanis club. there were the icons and the pillars of our community. war, my stepfather was a marine, semper fi. war, and in the korean they marched. i remember as a child looking at the vietnam veterans. marched, you're always a little differently. the war was a different war. us is ament behind different monument than all the other monuments in this great mall. if you can compare the monument to the world war ii monument, the glory, size, majestic of
that monument compared to the monument behind us lies low on the horizon. congressman, on the 50th anniversary of the war, one was toreatest honors give tens to the veterans that served in the vietnam war. the experience of the vietnam war was different than mine. me, ir in vietnam came to remember watching it every night. my parents with me. .atching the war when you came home, it was a different experience than what i experienced. a number of veterans that served that war always talk about coming into either san francisco , taking off the uniform,
throwing them in trash cans. that's a different experience than what i experienced. when it -- when i came home, adoration, thanks to troops. bands. a lot of the reason why i myeived what i did, and generation, is because you did not. i think as a nation we should be how we viewed your service, your dedication. the monument behind me, i think, is not picture be to victory or defeat. it's a tribute to remembrance. we should never run away from
the history of our country. we should learn. when i served in the seal teams 1985, most of my instructors were seals that had served in vietnam. teeth in ther jungles and the rivers. finerned a lot from those warriors. i have learned a lot from you, those that have fought. commitment, .edication, sacrifice and i thank you.
to tell a quick story, why i say semper fi. i say to every marine i see. i thought with general mattis in i canion -- in fallujah, to you every night knowing general matters as the military -- general mattis has the military. when i was in fallujah, i was in the front lines, i was a deputy commander spencer forces in iraq -- special forces in iraq. conway, what later became the comment on record, general mattis was the first marine division commander. i showed him on the frontline line what we are doing, going to save houses where the snipers were. our order -- laying out our order of battle.
this young sergeant next to me, bear in mind him the commander, this young sergeant grabs me by my collar and nearly throws me down. i get up, shake myself off, i'm red in the face. i go up to him, he says sir, they are shooting at you. before you marines, semper fi, thank you. -- for you marines, semper fi, thank you. iwant to express how grateful am to be your secretary, and how grateful our nation is for you magnificent vietnam veterans. ,or those family members today share in the understanding that we are a better nation for your service. with that, god bless you.
[applause] >> thank you secretary zinke. please welcome diane carlson evans, a vietnam veteran nurse and founder of the vietnam veterans memorial foundation. [applause] >> thank you. forre grateful to be here the 35th anniversary, because it means we are all survivors. we are here together. one year from today, we will celebrate another anniversary, the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the vietnam women's memorial, which stands behind you and designed by glenn a quaker. in thishe women memorial honors is with us today to share her story as an army nurse in vietnam. we are very proud of kate o'hare
palmer. she was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the army nurse corps in 1967 from seal beach, california at the ripe old age of 21. she served as an operating nerd -- operating room nurse at the ripe old age of 21, at the second surgical hospital. and the 312 evacuation hospital and 69.in 1968 she came home like most of us, wanting to get on with her life. have a family, and continue with her nursing career. there were bumps in the road, however, her commitment to her fellow veterans has always been there. her career in nursing has spanned 30 years. her story can be found in the book "office earners woman
upon returning home, she completed her bs degree in nutrition. the vietnam veterans of america national women's veterans chair for the past five years. she has worked as legislator and community members as a state and national level fighting for veterans rights and benefits. kate never gave up in her fight to care for veterans. the fvainues to sit on medical center women's health committee and works with various education committees at the high school and college level to enhance the knowledge of women veterans. please give kate o'hare a warm welcome. [applause] >> thank you, diane, for that
wonderful introduction. it's amazing to me, i've been coming here for years sitting out there with you all, now i'm up here to tell my story. i wanted to say that this is a special anniversary, the 35th, i was here for the 25th, this is amazing. last month, i opened up a fortune cookie, and it said you will be traveling and coming into a fortune. i traveled across from california to hear, and here is my fortune, my brothers and sisters, welcome home. share a short bit about my time as an army nurse in vietnam, my transition home, and the current needs of women veterans who have served in the military. my military service truly began in my home, because both my parents were in the army air corps during world war ii. . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . tom, was on in country veteran in 1965 and 66. i thought his pictures come home, he was in a hospital there and i wanted to help. i was a nursing student. it was that simple. upon graduation, i raised my right hand with three of my toends and we took the oath support and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies. i believed this, i am a constitutionalist. the war was permeating all of our lives and i didn't know how then my heart, my mind, and my soul would be tested. ofent to vietnam in june
1968, the day after robert kennedy was assassinated. inc.n two hours of hit july -- hitting july, i was in the hospital operating room scrub in. after three weeks, i began to wonder how i was going to make it. between the emergency and operating rooms i saw injuries and carnage that nobody could be prepared for. out ofough i trained 5000 bed l.a. county general hospital. i was grateful for the training that i received in the army before i went over. it helped me with my first tracheostomy to save a life. the teamwork of all the medics, nurses, and doctors that i was able to work with was hard to beat and will be forever remembered. we were a team. insupported the first cav
america now and marine divisions in ichor in 68. some of us were either dating, engaged, or married to men who were also serving in the military. not only were we caring for those in our hospital, we were worrying would we see our guy glitter?n a letter -- that evacuation hospital reserve unit came down to chulai and second surge was sent down to free core and we changed our mission to support big red one. i know there's a lot of you hear. 19 69, theng of long-range work on in patrol brought to as american soldiers who had been held as pows in cambodia. mutilated,everely some of the genitals cut off, and they were barely alive. one of them asked me to let them die, he didn't want to go home
like that. i just hugged him. my duties were never ending, my hands continued to work, but my compassion was being drained. and no one tearing, that wants, no one that is in a war ever wants war to continue. over thoseate took last few months in country. it was too much. coming home to travis air force base and bust into oakland people, we had protesters throw rotten vegetables on us. we were not prepared for that. i was buffered somewhat in the early 70's by being at fort stewart, georgia with my husband. and i worked at a local hospital while the south vietnamese soldiers were being trained to fly helicopters back in vietnam.
however, the war followed me home. on unexpected thing happened to an unexpected-- thing happened to me, i started having bad dreams. because i wasod an operating room nurse. they started into eating into my daytime life, i called them my day mares. after being in vietnam and being so strong, i felt so weak and scared, i didn't know what to do. it broke up my marriage, because i didn't want to tell my husband after being so strong that i was so scared and weak. those memories are relegated to a subconscious, and i returned to san francisco and finished college. one night while i was working at the v.a. san francisco, a patient came out of his room and said you were my masked angel, i recognize your blue
eyes and your voice. i will never forget when you said to me you are safe now, you will go home. it was stunning to me to meet somebody that was alive. we cry for all of these names, we cry for all of these men and women that died. but to meet somebody that made it back was the beginning of our healing. the dedication in 1993 of the women's memorial was an ecstatic day for us. we were back together and knowledge. the effort, energy, and support to get this project computed -- completed were herculean. on that day, we were greeted by our brothers. military records and were looking for their nurses, clerks, women they worked with in intelligence or aircraft maintenance. they were looking for the
american red cross workers who had flown into their lz. these thank you's and hugs that we got, and continue to get every time we come here, are so amazing to us. diane's message in circle of healing was truly begun. the spiritual component of healing was a weaving through us, and it was only the beginning of a long road for many of us. i am grateful to the vet center, because they really helped me. they gave us back our pride and honor in our service when we were feeling less than whole. during our vietnam era, 2% of the military were women, the cusp there was a cap on how many women can serve. now there's almost 15% women that serve. over 250,000 served during the vietnam era, but it's much more than that now. what i wanted to mention, because there's still many areas that need advancement.
we continue to help with that. exposureerience toxic related to cancers and ptsd like our fellow soldiers. vietnam veterans of america and other major veterans service organizations have worked tirelessly to help get that toxic exposure and research act passed last year, but that's only the beginning. you need to keep on everyone, so we get the benefits and the care that we deserve after toxic exposure. it's for our children and our grandchildren now. timely care is needed at the v.a. health care. stec and gynecological care should be standard in all the hospitals. it's a goal, but it hasn't been met yet. infertility in both women and men that serve in country or that in other areas today
have toxic exposure is something we need more work on. v.a. benefits need inclusion of comparable claims and adjudication for women veterans. suicide and homeless rates for women veterans are on the rise, and we need to look at that and help. military sexual trauma care is a sore point. in 2014, we had a bill passed that was supposed to help take care of that. it's not enough, we need to say no more ever again. [applause] the forever g.i. bill that just passed will be greatly used by our veterans that have been delayed entry back to school for either family, mental health, or medical reasons.
the majority of us veterans, all of us, we have gone home, served in our communities, been in places of leadership, and we continue to work with ourselves and others. we need to stand and work and live together always, because we are special. we are. thank you, i'm proud to be a veteran and welcome home. [applause] >> thank you, kate. it is now my pleasure to introduce maya lin. she was a student at yell, where she won the design competition for the memorial that thrust her into the national spotlight.
35 years, she has gone on to have a successful career as a designer and artist. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome myelin -- maya lin. >> thank you. i'm so deeply honored to be here today, veterans day. the day our country sets aside to honor our nations veterans. the design of the vietnam veterans memorial was always meant to do just that. remember and honor the veterans who served in the vietnam war. and remember those who did not come back. it's hard to believe it has been 35 years since this dedication. almost 37 years ago, i stood here for the first time, looking at this beautiful park. i have no idea what was to come over the next two years. as did here and had a simple impulse, to cut open the earth
and to polish the earth's open sides. to realize this design was not an easy journey. it was full of controversy and emotions on all sides. the walls does occasion, i was here. a that time, i was met by very angry, very emotional vietnam veteran on the eve of the dedication. as he raged at i was met by a very angry vietnam vet. by creating a space that would allow a returning veteran to remember that time and those
memories would be emotionally charged and at times painful it is only when we can honestly face that loss and that pain that we can begin to overcome it. that healing process that has become so much a part of the space was always at the heart of this design. i have been fortunate through the years to have received so many heartfelt thanks to help vert rans with ptsd who wrote how the fiechbl step was to bring veterans. it is to thank all of you for your service and sacrifice. it has been a deeply moving experience for me. it wasn't the easiest. i too was the average age of a vietnam service member.
i was 21 going on 22. my battle was nothing compared to what you endured. the small group of veterans to get congressional authorization to hold the computation and to weather a political fire storm to get it built. to jan scrugg's who idea it was to build the memorial. [ applause ] who was then aided by a group of
whom are here today and sadly for those who are not with us. they faug to help realize this design. to jay cater brown and so many commissioners who shepherded the project and to so many generals, veterans, gold star families and volunteers who all made this memorial a reality so it can stand and have the effect that it does on millions of visitors each year. it wasn't the easiest of designs to understand before it was built since it connects to you in a very personal and
psychological way. the walls would not be massive but instead thin and light so that the names alone become the object, that the walls would be polished so you see yourself reflected in the names and that it would be enough to offer you refuge, that it had always to be of human scale and as you descend the names rise up to meet you. and of utmost importance that you would be able to find your time on the wall and connect with your fallen colleagues. i was inat the present titently
creating yet to have you seen together as a whole, as a family and to see yourself reflected in both the washington monument and the lincoln memorial so that you and your service could become a part of the very fabric of our country so that you become an honored and storied part of our nation's history. i cannot imagine pla ywhat you endured overseas only to come home and not be welcomed home by the country that asked you to serve. i believe so strongly that the politics of that war had been so devicive that this memorial had to rise above that, that this could not let the politics of the war color your service, your sacrifice and your loss. we must never forget the heroism
>> i know every one of us would like to offer our personal thanks. she has to leave quickly and take a flight to london. we can all use the loudness of our applaud to let her know how much her design, this memorial means to all of us. [ applause ] it is my honor to introduce our keynote speaker, vietnam ve veteran, chairman of our 35th anniversary committee, chuck hagel.
>> jim, thank you. thank you to all of our veterans that are here. thank you for your service. thank you for being here. thank you for sharing a special day. we are not just vietnam veterans but our active duty men and women. again, your presence and your words reflect as well as anyone can what this memorial means, what it has month and it will continue to mean to future generations. thank you once again.
i want to add my personal thanks to the group she mentioned starting with jan scruggs. so many people that were part of working through the difficulty of getting this memorial built at a difficult time. you mentioned some members of congress and there are two specific individuals that i have had the pleasure of not just serving with but getting to know over the years, but two united states senators without whose support i don't think this would have been built. these two individuals really made it happen. [ applause ]
this was built to honor all of the men and women who served in a confusing and unpopular war in a very distant land. they would always remember that wars have serious and lasting consequences. i said in my remarks at the ground breaking 35 years ago, there is no glory there war, only suffering. but with all of the suffering vietnam veterans endured and saw they also witnessed uncommon courage and compassion. there was heroism all around. mostly it was that they did the job their country asked them to do. their commitment to each other and their individual common
decency and belief in their country sustained him. nearly 3 million american men and women returned home not asking for favors or special recognition. they department wallow in self-pity or respect they did not receive. they rebuilt their lives, understanding better than most that the price they paid included a large measure of injustice. not all succeeded. many still struggle from that experience in that far awayla. i looked at photos of my brother and my father in the south pacific during world war ii. as i looked at those pictured i
wondered what a 21-year-old were thinking in 1944. wars are foughtly human beings. machines don't fight wars. people fight wars. men and women fight wars. those that survivor wars are either imbittered or inspired to help make a better war. like all vetterans war gives on clarity. it helps you see what is really important in life. all vietnam veterans should be proud of that hard-earned cha clarity and their service.
prospered. vett veterans responded well, strengthening the foundations of a special country with special people. their recognition came far too late. look around you now. it is here today. i have always believed that the greatest responsibility of leaders is to leave their institutions and those they lead better than they found them, to serve as role models. i have always heard from our service mmen and women today th they looked to the vietnam vetter ra veterans. vietnam veterans did serve as role models and are now the senior states men of the veteran community, justice and world war ii and korean war veterans
before them. reminding me that it was the vietnam vetter raerans memorial lead the way for the next two war memorials to be built on these sacred groundsov of linco. as i listen to them a theme emerged clearly that captured his life, humility, dignity and quiet leadership, hallmarks of ve veteransover every war. vietnam veterans were no different. to our vietnam vetteran, celebrate your day of recognition. you have earned it.
the fallen. while the wreath layers get into position i would like to share a few highlights of what has been a busy year for the vietnam veteran memorial fund. recently the effort to put a face to every name on the wall passed a major milestone. of the 58,318 photos we have been seeking less than 4,500 are left to meet our goal. [ applause ] if you have foe photphotos of a the wall make sure they are part of our wall of faces. we conducted 412 vietnam veterans honor roll which honors
those that later died as a result of their service. as we do each year we inducted them the saturday of father's day weekend. we do it right over here overlooking the wall. in march we commemorated the ground breaking for construction of the wall 35 years ago. we were lucky enough to have remembrances from the president and founder jan scruggs. for memorial day jan was our master of ceremonies. we released public service
announcements [ applause ] thap tha thanks to all of them for supporting our efforts. and we are ending our anniversary commemoration this week with the reading of the names, hearing from the only enlisted vietnam veteran ever to serve, chuck hagel. with all of our speakers we maintained the commitment the wall was built on. never forget. i will now read the names of the organizations as they lay their wreaths today. i would can you to please stand if you're able. while the wreaths are being laid you will hear bag piper playing amazing grace for the 19th year. today's ceremony will close with the playing of taps by daniel
calvary division association, sons and daughters in touch, 5th battalion 7th calvary association, 25th infantry division, military order of the purple heart, verizon veterans advisory board, national dusters, quads and search lights association, vietnam veterans of america, 8:00 to 9:00 ptsd class washington, association of
66 in southwestern missouri. >> john brown comes back to the territory and he begins a series of raids into western missouri during which his men will liberate enslaved people from missouri and help them escape to freedom. they will kill a number of slave holders. so the lemgend really grows as part of this struggle that people locally understand is really the beginning of the civil war. >> then sunday january 7th on american history tv we visit the national sporting arms museum. >> he was a very very avid
hunter. first thing he did was organize and go on a large hunting safari to africa. this has the presidential seal engraved on the breach and roosevelt was famous for the bull moose party and there is a bull moose engraved on the side plate of this gun. >> this is january 6th and 7th and on american history tv on cspan3. working as we explore america. >> our vietnam war coverage continues. next a conversation with historians and leann on the legacy of the vietnam war. this is an hour and a half.