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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 11, 2013 8:00pm-9:01pm EST

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president obama marks veterans day at the tom of the unknowns. and our series of first >> president obama marked veterans day a wreath at the tomb of the unknown in arlington national cemetery. mr. obama spoke about ending the war in afghanistan. paid honor to richard overton. this is just under an hour. [bells]
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♪ [national anthem]
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♪ [taps]
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america the beautiful
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♪ >> ladies and gentlemen,please welcome major general jeffrey buchanan, commanding general, united states army. [applause] mr. patrick hallinan, national cemeteries director. [applause] mr. harold fritz, national president for the congressional
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medal honor society for the united states of america. [applause] and the honorable eric k. shinseki, secretary of veterans affairs. [applause] ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states. [applause] ♪ [ hail to the chief ] ♪
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ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing, please place your hand over your heart, or render the salute. ♪
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please remain standing for the prayer for all veterans. delivered by the department of chaplainaffairs service. >> let us pray. oh god, i am an american veteran, and ever with your grace and your strength to guide me, i have sacrificed for you and country. and you have made my heritage long, and proud. for i shivered that cold winter in valley forge, and spilled my blood, i am an american veteran. i came to france in the war to end all wars, i am an american
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veteran. i was there on that day of infamy, stormed the beaches of normandy, and i scaled the cliffs. i met battle on island after island, and i raised the flag. i am an american veteran. i was there with macarthur in korea, and in the jungles of vietnam. i was there in desert storm, iraq, and today, in the mountains of afghanistan, and i remain ready to pledge my all, for i am my brothers' and sisters' keeper. i am an american veteran, and humbly i beseech thee to hearken to my prayer, and make haste to establish justice, freedom, and peace among men and women and nations.
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for this we humbly pray, amen. >> now i would like to invite mr. harold fritz to lead us in our pledge of allegiance. >> i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. >> please be seated. it is now my distinct privilege to introduce the members of the veterans day national committee. the committee was formed by presidential order in 1954, to hold an annual observance
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throughout the nation. please stand when i call your name. harold fritz, president, national congressional medal honor society. norbert ryan junior. korean war veteran associations. the national commander of the g.i. forms. national commander of the jewish war veterans of the usa. national commander of the exprisoners of war. national president of the
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vietnam veterans of america. commander in chief of the foreign wars of the united states. national president, blinded veterans association. national commander, army and navy union of the usa. national commander, non- commissioned officers association. national vice commander of the american legion. senior vice commander, military order of the purple heart. national president of the
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reserve association. national commandant, marine corps league. national president, paralyzed veterans of america. national commander, legion of valor, of the usa. commander in chief, military order of the world wars. cochairman of the board, national association of fallen services. the retired and enlisted association. i would like to ask the president and national commanders to stand and be
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recognized. please join me in recognizing our veterans and national leadership with your applause. [applause] it is now my pleasure to introduce our veterans organization host, the congressional medal of honor society. it was established in 1946, and was limited to the recipients of the medal of valor, the nation's highest award for gallantry in combat. today there are 78 living recipients of the medal of honor. the society is represented today by their national president, harold fritz. he was awarded the medal of honor for displaying extraordinary courage and selflessness while serving as a platoon leader in the united states army in the republic of
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vietnam in 1969. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome mr. harold fritz. [applause] >> president obama, vice president biden, secretary hagel, secretary shinseki, fellow veterans, and guests. as president of the congressional medal of honor society, representing 78 of our nations'recipients, it is my privilege to represent all of those who have sacrificed in the name of freedom.
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together, we have made a difference, it is because of the continued efforts of our veterans, combined with the support of our people, that the foundation of our countries' resolve continues to be rocksolid, and allow the nations around the world to enjoy freedom. they have displayed unquestionable bravery while serving this nation. within the breast of each of these patriots swells a level of peace and compassion for their fellow man. we cannot maintain peace without a viable deterrent to war. all americans must stand united for our men and women in
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uniform. let us stand proudly, and never forget the sacrifice of those who have served, those standing amongst us, and those who have fallen in the line of duty. let us constantly be reminded of the importance of this very precious commodity we call freedom, and the very high price we must pay to maintain it. the men and women it remembers. thank you, and best wishes to each and every one of you. to the veterans among us, thank you for your service and sacrifice, to the families of the veterans, thank you for your everlasting support, may the sacrifices of your departed loved ones never be forgotten. we salute you for your ultimate sacrifice and gift of freedom to us.
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god bless america. [applause] >> thank you mr. fritz. please welcome the honorable mr. eric k. shinseki. [applause] >> mr. president, welcome. thank you and the first lady, and the vice president for your leadership and unwavering support for the veterans and their families. veterans day is about celebrating and honoring our veterans who have given so much of the rest of us. on those occasions when people ask me about values, i often
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point them to va's budgets, and suggest that veterans day is not just a one-day-a-year event. it should be every day, every year. they get it. that is what is reflected in those annual budget requests for the va. a commitment of every day, of every year for our veterans. medal of honor recipient harold fritz, we thank you. welcome to our other veterans service and military service
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organizations, who are important to our mission. welcome especially to all of our veterans, their families, and our gold star families, our survivors, who are gathered here today. it is wonderful to see all of you. democratic leader nancy pelosi, other distinct members of the congress, secretary chuck hagel, vice chairman, other members of our defense leadership, colleagues, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. 237 years ago, the leaders of this great nation penned the magnificent words that would become in time both vision and conscious for a fledgling democracy. you have all heard them. we hold these truths self- evident, that all men are
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created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. in the centuries since these often quoted words became the bedrock of our society, each generation has done its part to pass a strong and free america to the next generation. last month president obama awarded the medal of honor for gallantry above and beyond the call of duty. during six hours of intense combat, the captain did
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everything expected of leaders, and then more. keeping his ambushed unit fighting effectively, directing all available fire as he evacuated the wounded, and repeatedly risking his personal safety to retrieve wounded soldiers, fallen comrades. determination, decisiveness, personal toughness, calm under fire, a willingness to risk it all for others. he would tell you there are many more heroes from that day. the president understands what the recipients of the medal of honor mean to america.
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he values the service and sacrifice of all of the veterans to our nation. that is why he has provided such strong personal leadership and unwavering support for this department, and for veterans. with the help of congress, the va's budgets have increased. we have seen the increase of resources by 50%, and this is what we bring to the mission. we have enrolled 2 million more veterans for va healthcare. veterans could not ask for a stronger advocate than our president. ladies and gentlemen, it is my great personal and professional honor to present to you our commander-in-chief, the
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president of the united states of america, barack obama. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. please be seated. good morning, everyone. thank you secretary shinseki, for your lifetime of service to our nation. to vice president biden, and secretary hagel, major general buchanan, most of all to our outstanding veterans service organizations, our men and women in uniform, and to the proud veterans and family members joining us in this sacred place, michelle and i are incredibly honored to be with you today
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again. to the gold star families, and the brothers and sisters in arms who walked the paths of these hallowed grounds and cemeteries around the world, we join you as you remember your loved ones who wore america's uniform. here in arlington, we have ensured that you can bring the medals of your loved ones to the final resting place. we honor the troops who have rendered the highest service one can render this nation. those who fought for our freedom, and stood for our security. with solemn remembrance in veterans halls, and parades throughout america, we join as
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one people to honor a debt we can never fully repay. across every generation, there are those that stand apart, they step up, they raise their hands, they take that oath, they put on the uniform and put their lives on the line. they do this so that the rest of us might live in a country and a world that is safer, freer, and more just. this is the gift they have given us, this is the debt that we owe them. they fought on the green in lexington so that we could make independence. they fought in gettysburg so that we could make whole a nation torn asunder. we have emerged the most prosperous nation in the history
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of the world. this year we mark the 60th anniversary of the fighting of the korean war, and we honor them who served. from the jungles of vietnam, to desert storm, they have answered america's call. since america was attacked on that clear september morning, millions more have assumed that mantle, defining one of the greatest generations this country has ever produced. this generation, the 9/11 generation, has met every mission we have asked of them, and today we can say because of their heroic service, our homeland is safer.
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the soldier i met a few months ago, deployed to iraq twice, and survived not one but two -- excuse me, three separate ied explosions. when she was well enough, she deployed again, where she was often the only woman in our forward operating bases. she proudly wears the combat action badge, and today she is committed to helping other wounded warriors recover from the trials of war. helping the troops, she said, is what i am all about. my fellow americans, that is what we should be all about. our work is more urgent than
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ever, because this chapter of war is coming to an end. soon one of the first marines to arrive in afghanistan 12 years ago will lead his marines as they become one of the last major groups of marines deployed in this war. over the coming months more of our troops will come home. this winter our troop levels in afghanistan will be down to 34,000, and the transition to afghan-led security will be almost complete. the longest war in history will end. [applause] as is true after every conflict, there is a risk that the devoted service of our veterans would not stay in the forefront of our minds, that we would turn to
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other things. part of the reason we are here today is to pledge that we will never forget the profound sacrifices made in our name. today, we are reminded of our sacred obligations. even though this time of war is coming to a close, our time of service to our newest veterans has only just begun. think about it, our troops wear the uniform for only a short time, but they wear the title of veterans for the rest of their lives. as a nation, we make sure we have the best led, best trained, best equipped military in the world. we need to make sure we have as much passion for the best care, the best respected veterans in the world.
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[applause] so when we talk about fulfilling our promises to our veterans, we do not just mean for a few years. we mean now, tomorrow, and forever. not just for generations past, but for this generation of veterans and all who will follow. that is why as commander-in- chief, i will keep making sure we are providing unprecedented support for veterans. [applause] even as we make difficult fiscal choices as a nation, we will keep making vital investment in our veterans. we will keep improving veterans health care, so they can stay strong. we want to make sure that the veterans not covered by the va
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can acquire affordable health insurance. we will keep at the backlog, so that you can get what you have earned when you need it. [applause] we are going to keep helping our newest veterans and their families pursue their education, under the post-9/11 g.i. bill. we just welcomed our one millionth student veteran, and we are waiting for all of those who will come next. we'll keep demanding that the rights and dignity of every veteran is upheld, including pushing forward disability treaties, so that disabled veterans enjoy the same opportunities as everyone else. [applause] and, with the help of michelle and joe biden joining forces, we will keep fighting to get every
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veteran the chance to pursue the american dream, a fair shot at the jobs and opportunity you need to help us regrow here at home. start companies, serve your communities, and serve your fellow veterans. that is our promise, to be there, to support you when you come home. as a nation we will strive to be worthy of the sacrifices you have made. that is what we owe all of our veterans. that is what we owe veterans like richard, who served in the army in world war ii. he was there -- [applause]
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i want you to know something about him, he was there at pearl harbor when the battleships were still smoldering, he was there at okinawa, he was there at iwo jima. he headed home to a nation utterly divided by race, and his service on the battlefield was not matched by the respect that he deserved at home, but he held his head high.
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he carried on with honor and dignity, he built a house with his own two hands, he went back to work in the furniture business, and in time he served as a courier in the texas state capitol where he worked for four governors and made more friends than most of us do in a lifetime. today he still lives in the house he built so many years ago, and every sunday he drives one of the nice ladies in his neighborhood to church. [applause] this is the life of one american veteran, living proud and strong in the land that he helped keep free. earlier this year, the great folks at honor flight austin brought him to washington and he paid his respects at the world war ii memorial. then he paid his respects at the
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martin luther king jr. memorial, and as he sat under that statute, he wept and the others around him wept too. they bore witness to the day in this nation he thought would never come. this american veteran is 107 years old. and we are honored that he is here with us today. let's ask richard to stand again, because he can stand. [applause]
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this is how we will be judged. not just by how will we care for our troops in battle, but how we treat them when they come home, and by the america we build together. what we do with the security and peace they helped to grant us. they played their part in the american story. today our message to all of those who have ever worn the uniform of this nation is this, we will stand by your side whether you're seven days out, or you're 70 years out. here in america we take care of our own. the sacrifice has been made in our name, for this nation that we love, and we commit ourselves to standing by these veterans and their families for as long
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as we are blessed to walk this earth. god bless you all, god bless our veterans, and god bless this united states of america. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please stand and join the united states air force band in singing god bless america. god bless america, land that i
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love. stand beside her, and guide her, through the night, with the light from above. from the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam. god bless america, my home sweet home. god bless america, my home sweet home. god bless america, land that i
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love. stand beside her, and guide her, through the night with the light from above. from the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, white with foam. god bless america, my home sweet home. god bless america, my home sweet home. [applause]
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>> ladies and gentlemen please remain standing as we retire the colors. retire the colors. ♪
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>> this concludes the national veterans observance. please be seated for the departure of the president of the united states. thank you for honoring all of those who served.
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[applause] ♪
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>> on the next washington journal, the role of u.s. intelligence monitoring drones from other countries.
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guy taylor, washington times state department correspondent. then paul right of new york university on a set of --tractors including the washington journal live every morning starting at 7:00 eastern on c-span. moderating a discussion on the 2014 midterm election. event at thes museum in washington dc starting at 8:30 a.m. eastern on c-span two. tuesday, the atlantic council looks at the future of nato and -- liveeal with coverage at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span three.
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next year on c-span, our first ladies series features jacqueline kennedy. that is followed by president obama honoring veterans at the tomb of the unknown. ♪ >> i think every first lady should do something in this tradition to help the thing that she cares about. i just think that everything in the white house should be the best. the entertainment that is given here. children are the same the world over and so is our feeling for children. world, it is good in the there is quite enough to divide people, so we should cherish the language and the emotion that unites us.