tv Veterans Day Ceremony at Arlington Cemetery CSPAN November 12, 2018 1:34am-2:11am EST
>> let us pray, eternal god, you alone rule the destinies of nations. we come this veterans day to invoke your presence in this sacred garden on this 100th anniversary of the ending of world war i. we realize it is only through your hand that our country has remained free by your gift and dedication of our nation's veterans. thanks be to you oh lord for those whose lives paid for freedoms we now as a nation enjoy. we pray their examples influence daily actions in relation to others, that we will have a genuine respect for them but we can make decisions relieving the peace for all people may your divine grace be upon those who
did not return home and upon their families, who guide and direct an understanding of our duties to the country to one another. encourage and bring healing to those who are suffering from both visible and invisible wounds of war. god, we ask that you bless our nation's veterans and their families, protect all who wear our nation's uniform today. may we always hold them in our love and our prayers until your world is perfected in peace and all war ceases. oh god, remove evil acts of violence from our land. god bless america. god, give us all a joyous spirit
as we celebrate our nation's veterans. on this day, keep us ever faithful to thee and to human dignity, in your name, we pray. amen. >> now i would like to invite mr. lawrence romo, national commander of the american g.i. forum of the united states of america to lead us in our pledge of allegiance. mr. romo: 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. thank you.
>> please be seated. it is now my distinct privilege to introduce the members of the veterans day national committee. it is now my privilege to introduce the members of the national dignity. -- national day committee. the committee was formed by presidential order in 1954 to plan this annual observance in honor of america's veterans and to support veterans day observances route the nation. please hold your applause until i have introduced the special guest. if you are able, please span when your name is called. lawrence romo, national commander. american g.i. forum. frank kawalski.
joe parker. national president, blinded veterans association. dr. barry j schneider. national commander, jewish war veterans of the usa. william c meeks junior. national secretary, vietnam veterans of america. bj lawrence, commander-in-chief, veteran wars of the united states. robert washington senior, national president fully observed association. reedge reilly. sidney mcmahon, national commander, army and navy union incorporated. john ostrawski, executive director, non-commissioners office association. national commander, the american legion. douglas greenlaw, national commander, military order of the purple heart.
wendell webb, national commandant, marine corps league. william d wall, executive director military chaplains association. david zirflu, national president, paralyzed veterans of america. george malone, senior vice commander, legion of valor of the usa. john h hollywood, commander in chief, military order of the world wars. philip holinski, national president of the retired enlisted association. dennis nixon, national commander, disabled american veterans. dana atkins, president, military officers association. heather brigg, for chair of united states public health service.
michael r carton, president air force sergeants association. robert swan, national commander, polish legion of american veterans of the usa dr. paul cunningham, national president, korean war veterans association. the associated members of the veterans day national committee are located in the boxes to my left. i would like to ask the presidents and the national commanders that comprise our membership to stand and be recognized. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in recognizing our veterans national leadership with your applause. [applause] it is now my pleasure to introduce miss karen durham aguilera. executive director army national military cemeteries and
arlington national cemetery. ms. aguilera: leader pelosi, secretary of defense matus, secretary of affairs, secretary of the air force wilson, major general hollered, families of the fallen, visitors from across the world and all of you, good morning. and welcome to arlington national cemetery. what a glorious day. it is fitting that we are in the center of this most hallowed ground. a special welcome to mr. larry romo of the american g.i. forum, for being today's veteran service host for national veterans day observance. today as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the world war i armistice in 1918, how fortunate we all are to gather together today to pay tribute to this amazing anniversary. just a short walk from here, i
invite you to visit sections 17, 18, 19, or visit our welcome center where we memorialize world war i veterans and families laid to rest here at arlington national cemetery. their stories tell the history of our country through sacrifice of our citizens. that served our nation in its time of need and guaranteed our freedom and liberty. today, as for the past 154 years, our arlington national cemetery is honored to serve veterans and families in our nation's most sacred shrine. on behalf of myself, our superintendent, ms. kate kelly, and the dedicated men and women who served here, my privilege to welcome you today. we are a great people honoring service and sacrifice for our great nation. again, thank you and welcome to arlington national cemetery. [applause]
>> it is now my pleasure to introduce our veteran service organization host for 2018. mr. lawrence romo, national commander of the american g.i. forum of the united states. lawrence j romo, a graduate of northern montana college served 28 years in the air force. he was later nominated by president obama as a united states service director. a senate confirmed presidential appointee reporting directly to the president. commander romo was elected national commander in july of 2018. he leads a congressional chartered veterans service organization advocating for equal rights for veterans. please welcome him. mr. romo: secretary wilkie, my fellow veterans and families, good morning and happy veterans
day. my name is lawrence romo. it is truly indeed my honor and pleasure to represent the american g.i. forum. as the national commander in the sacred resting place, arlington national cemetery. the american g.i. forum is a congressionally chartered veterans service organization. representing active duty military, families, veterans for advocacy and civil rights, access to earn benefits, a care, and access to good education. today is the 100th anniversary of the end of world war i. let us remember the sacrifices of those veterans who fought in the war to end all wars. let us not forget the 400,000 men and women whose final resting place is here on these hollowed grounds. let us recognize the over 20
million veterans that live among us today. let us reflect on the fact that only 1% of the country serves in the military. let us remember that their service provides the very freedom that everyone in this great country enjoys, daily, without notice. my fellow veterans, we, the g.i. forum stand with you and salute you. i encourage each and everyone of you to continue to work together to ensure our military and veterans and military families are always taken care of and heard. i urge each of you, active military, and officials, to work in a bipartisan manner, to be ethical and transparent and accountable. to be a positive example to emulate for the greater good of this great nation, to be a
global leader for democracy and peace. may god bless our military, our veterans, our military families, citizens, and the united states of america. now, it gives me great pleasure to introduce the 10th secretary of veteran affairs, the honorable robert wilkie. mr. wilkie was confirmed by united states senate on july 23, 2018. he was sworn in july 30 of 2018. after already serving as the v.a. acting secretary before coming to the v.a., mr. wilkie was the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness. the principal advisor for executive secretary defense for management. he has over 20 years of experience and served james mattis. he served donald rumsfeld. before that, he was special assistant to the president for national security affairs and a senior director for of the national security council. for five years he was vice president for strategic programs
for one of the largest engineering firms in the world. he is an officer in the united states air force reserve and previously served as navy reserve. the office of naval intelligence. among his many awards and decorations, mr. wilkie is recipient of the defense of public service medal, the highest noncareer board for that department. ladies and gentlemen, mr. robert wilkie. [applause] mr. wilkie: thank you, colonel. to my colleagues in the cabinet, to my friend, elizabeth dole,
leader pelosi, veterans represented here on active and retired status, it is my pleasure on behalf of the president of the united states to welcome you to arlington. i have had the privilege in my life of seeing this military world from many angles. as a dependent, the son of a gravely wounded combat soldier, an officer, and a leader in the pentagon. i have spent a lifetime watching those who have borne the battles, and i have seen it through the eyes of my elementary school classmates, whose fathers did not come back from vietnam. it may seem a little strange for someone with my background that i am constantly contemplating the meaning of service and what it means to be a veteran. i think general eisenhower had it about right. a few months after he was
inaugurated, he gathered 40 korean war soldiers on the presidential yacht of williamsburg. some were horribly disfigured. others were missing limbs. eisenhower walked among them and asked them to stand at attention. those who could did. he said that your country can never compensate you for what you have given to your country. but you have a charge for me. you never put your uniform away. you live to remind your fellow citizens why they sleep soundly at night. this day reminds all americans that they sleep soundly at night because of the sacrifices of millions of ordinary men and women. today marks the 100th anniversary of the sadly named "war to end all wars." on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, men who lived and fought in trenches that scarred the face of europe emerged after four years of
fighting and for the first time, smelled the warm air of peace. 100 years ago, my great-grandfather left a small town law practice in the mississippi delta and the part-time law job at ole miss to join up with the army assembly in georgia. across from him was an infantry outfit. on its rolls was a reluctant soldier from tennessee. he would go on to become the greatest american hero of the war. in another part of georgia was my wife's grandfather, a teenager, and in his short life, he had never ventured beyond two or three counties in north and south carolina. by the time he was 18, he was marching up the champs elysee into the bloody cauldron of the argonne. william johnson was also there.
members of the legendary 369th infantry regiment from new york. their regiment spent 191 days on the front line. more than any other american regiment. they suffered 1500 casualties, more than any unit in the american force. their fighting was so ferocious that the kaiser himself gave the nickname "the harlem hellfighters." over 100 soldiers from 369 were awarded the -- de guerre and no regiment received more recommendations and honors than it did. a soldier who was a barber in peace time volunteered as a messenger to deliver an important order to another unit. just as he reached his destination, he was killed in a hail of german fire. a diary later found on his
bloodstained blouse contained the passage "america must win the war. therefore, i will work and save and sacrifice, i will endure, as if the whole struggle depended on me alone. a marine who had already earned two medals of honor, decided at the age of 44 that the corps had not had enough of him. he volunteered for france and he won three more combat medals. he crawled out under heavy enemy fire and rescued a half dozen wounded marines who were pinned down. then he single-handedly captured 13 german soldiers. then he took out a heavily fortified german machine gun nest with nothing more than a handful of grenades and a colt
45. shortly after that, a brigade of marines became pinned under heavy german artillery fire. suddenly, the lone figure jumped up onto the earthworks, clutched his rifle, and charged. the men of the brigade saw the act of bravery, went over the top and overwhelmed the german positions. on the 26th of june of 1918, colonel george marshall handed general pershing the following telegram. woods now entirely u.s. marine corps'. earlier this year, the president of the french republic presented to president trump a sapling, to be placed on the white house grounds. taken from bella wood. a place renamed by a grateful ally. the wood of brigade of marines. finally, there was a less celebrated warrior. a nearsighted farmer from jackson county, missouri, who cheated and lied to get into the field artillery because he could not stand the thought of his
friends and neighbors going to war and he not being there to support them. he would go on to become one of the greatest presidents in our history. so there they are. captain abrams summerville, my great-grandfather. sergeant alvin york, private, my wife's grandfather. robinson, william johnson. private martin. sergeant dan daly, and captain harry s truman. they are the testament to the ordinary citizens who performed extraordinary deeds in defense of this republic, from lexington
to afghanistan. all told, more than 41 million american men and women have served during times of war and almost 700,000 have given the last full measure. and if you ask any of them why they did it, they would tell you it was the right thing to do. this day is for them. it is for those who have served in all the lonely outposts in the military, at home, distant lands, who left families and loved ones and who overcame challenges that many of us would find unimaginable. when the towering figure of 20th century american literature, william faulkner, accepted the nobel prize for literature, he was ostensibly speaking to novelists and journalists, but i believe he was speaking to the heart of the soldier that he longed to be during the great war. he spoke of, and i quote, "a life's work spent in the agony and sweat of human spirit, not for glory, but to make out of the material of the human spirit something which was not there before.
he must teach himself, that the basest of all things is to be afraid, and teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room for anything but the old truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is doomed. and they are love and honor, pride and compassion, and sacrifice. until he relearns those things, he will write as though he stood and watched the end of man. but no matter what the soldier sees and no matter how terrible, it is he who declined to accept the end of man, a soldier who endorse." i will leave you with the prayer of general matthew, who tossed restlessly in his cot on the evening of june 6, 1944, as the 82nd airborne division and the 101st airborne division prepared to launch the liberation of
europe. the great man asked for the prayer that god gave to joshua. "i will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." in may 1986, as ronald reagan awarded general ridgway the presidential medal of freedom, he said of him, heroes come when they are needed. great men step forward when courage seems in short supply. this day is about great men and women whom we can never forsake. may god bless you, god bless all who have served this great republic. god continue to bless the united states of america. thank you all very much. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please
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