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tv   Washington Journal Open Phones  CSPAN  November 11, 2021 10:03am-10:49am EST

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c-span2 and find a full schedule in your program guide or watch online anytime at book tv.org -- booktv.org. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. provided by television companies and more, including charter. >> broadband is a force for empowerment. that is why charter spent millions empowering opportunity in communities began small. charter is connecting us. >> charter communications supports c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. we begin this morning with the veterans affairs secretary speaking at the press club in washington about issues facing
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u.s. veterans. here he talked about what the biden administration is committed to do for our nation's veterans. [video clip] >> with a military family in the white house, our priority could not be hired for this administration, nor could it be closer to president widen or dr. biden's heart. dr. biden told me to fight for our vets. that is what we are doing. this administration and congress are doing the same, delivering for our vets with the american rescue plan which allocated dollars to care for vets during the pandemic. the proposed reconciliation package which has $5 billion to help vets thrive in the future. the save lives act which helps not just vaccinator that split spouses and caregivers -- helps not just vaccinate vets but
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spouses and caregivers. it will allow vets and spouses to get flu shots at the ba. -- at the ada. -- at the v.a. there is so much more where that came from. the bottom line is every part of this administration is focused on fighting for veterans. we will move heaven and earth to get veterans timely access to their resources. a major part is making sure veterans have the best experience wherever they access v.a. benefits. at home, in the community, or at the v.a. expanding telehealth and supporting caregivers. let me say this clearly on
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caregivers, car givers -- caregivers are not an afterthought. they are a top priority. that's why i appointed the senior advisor for caregivers. it is why the program of comprehensive assistance has enrolled more than 30,000 unique caregivers and veterans in the last year alone. it is why this tober -- this october we will cover all generations of caregivers. for vets getting care in the community, we built networks that have the right providers in the right location to meet their needs no matter where they live. we are finally paying our bills on time. host: the veterans affairs secretary earlier this week at the national press club. you are looking at a live shot of the tomb of the unknown soldier at the arlington national cemetery in washington, d.c., marking the 100th
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anniversary of the tomb of the unknown soldier. this was opened up for the first time in nearly 100 years over the past two days for the public to pay their respects. here is a local reporter who captured the moment over the past day of the folks walking by the tomb of the unknown soldier and can walk up to it for the first time in nearly 100 years. this was a watch and -- this was a once in a century lifetime experience. we are talking with veterans and family members this morning on this veterans day, 2021. your thoughts on the war in this country, those who have served and those who have fallen. according to the pew research center, there are a total of 19 million u.s. military veterans in this country. 89% are male.
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11% are female. according to usa today, looking at the veterans and the v.a. system, 9 million are enrolled. 170 plus medical centers across the country and 1000 outpatient offices. we want to hear from all of you. allen in brooklyn, what are your thoughts? caller: i feel privileged to talk on the topic although i am not a veteran myself. first, it has been 50 years since the end of the draft when i was in college. i had a lottery number and it was between getting a lottery number and hearing there are no longer calling people up that i realized this system was only going to call on people who were volunteers. in the 50 years since then, it seems a mistake that they
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allowed the public to become polarized not just between left and right but between those who serve in the military and those who don't. the majority of people, including those in congress, never get the feeling of loyalty to country first that came from service in the military in world war ii that utilized -- that unified the country. if i were looking back at myself and country, i would say instead of urging them to enter the draft which was politically convenient, they should have replaced it with mandatory national service for those who do not want to serve and did not get a conscientious objector. host: did you say you had a lottery number, you were waiting? caller: i had a number given to me in august and i wrote a changes objector essay in the fall of 1971.
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before that was reviewed, i found out they were no longer taking people first at my number and then i learned they were halting taking up people altogether. in a period of a few years, they went from the lottery to stopping any volunteers. host: do you remember when you found out that news? what was your reaction? caller: it was next because on one hand i was relieved. on the other hand, i felt my conscientious objector essay which was about spring agent orange on vietnam was something i felt like at merit. on the other hand, i think it was a mistake because we have congress that is -- we have a
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congress that thinks they are patriots because they are loyal to their party. a lot of people are upper income and never have to give a thought towards volunteering. many of those never get the sense of what it means to serve a country even if they don't want to shoot a gun. we should go back to something like a choice between a draft or some sort of mandatory, self scheduled visa or peace corps. host: did you have friends who also had a lottery number but were called up? caller: in my cohort in the middle of college, i don't remember anyone serving who was drafted. i think they would be covered by the undergraduate exemption.
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after they graduated, if they did not have a further exemption for being in the marital status or being in the ministry, then they would be drafted. at the time, it seemed unusual because vietnam was so unpopular. vietnam skewed the whole value system about national service and identity in a way that continues to have negative ripple effects today. host: i am to leave it there. ed in raleigh, north carolina. when did you serve? caller: thank you for taking my call. i did volunteer draft in 1969. i volunteered to be drafted. i entered service on january 13, 1969. i served in vietnam and was
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wounded on september 3. host: how were you wounded? caller: it is a long and drawn out thing. it was actually friendly fire. we were in a situation where we were between -- being transferred from one part of the country to another. we had a three-day standdown where we resupplied our weapons. they had a uso show for us. there was some fighting going on between black and white shoulders -- like and white soldiers and grenades were thrown. that is when i was wounded. host: were you sent home? caller: i went to japan for three months and eventually came back to the u.s.
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but i am calling to talk about what we're are doing our veterans today. the first thing we need to look at his ptsd. i have a rating from the v.a. of 100% permanently disabled for ptsd. we have yet to figure out what war does to the human brain. we are seeing is now, the way we send our soldiers back to work and back to war. one soldier can serve four to five deployments in a war zone and then they come back to this country and all they have known is war. they come back to this country and seek out jobs and are hired in jobs, like police officer, where they face violence every
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day. yet they are not treated for ptsd. we cannot keep sending them to war. host: how did you get that rating? what is the process for that? caller: i started applying for disability with the v.a. in 1971. i was awarded my first award in 1971. throughout the years, i continued to apply. the late 1990's is when i decided to start seeking out ptsd and help from the v.a. probably 1971 to the late 1990's, i had no contact with the v.a. i had no trust for the da -- for the v.a. it was through a veteran i met, he helped me apply for ptsd.
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i did not think i had ptsd. it was not not until i applied and started seek it out that i realized i did in fact have ptsd. it is applying and keeping applying. you get turned down when you apply you have to reapply. it is a long, drawn out process to get that rating. host: i want to show our viewers what the secretary of veterans affairs had to say what he talked about efforts to provide more suicide prevention efforts and mental health efforts. [video clip] there is no more -- >> there is no more important effort than preventing a veteran suicide. one dying by suicide is one too many. mental health services are critical for suicide prevention so keeping them going during the pandemic has been our primary focus. fortunately, veterans have
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adapted to telehealth sessions, attending 5.6 million sessions this year. more than doubling last year. we have also ramped up our legal means safety efforts, putting time and space between a veterans in crisis and their firearms bypass and more than 9500 gun locks and launching an awareness campaign for veterans and their families that has garnered over 1.7 billion impressions. we have reached out to every veteran in our network to remind them that their service matters and we are there for there -- we are there for them. whether they want to talk to a therapist or call our crisis line, text us, visit one of our
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vet centers or access any mental health services at va.gov, we are standing by and here to help today and every day. because, mental health care is health care. as the secretary of defense has said, mental health is health and veterans' health is their top parity. host: don in ohio, good morning to you. what are your reflections this veterans day? caller: i was one, my number did not come up with months later it was done. you look back and it is hard to understand how all these people on both sides could be killed
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and we never declared war on them. that i will never understand. with what is going on today and biden leaving those behind come the people would turn over in their graves to see what they died for. the money we have fear giving to other countries and borrowed it and paying interest on it rather than helping the people that are homeless, the veterans stuff. they never talked about it in congress, giving it away and keeping it at home. they always want to talk about to got to have it. host: ken in canton, ohio. when did you serve? caller: 1970 to 1972. in the lottery, my number came up and i got drafted right away and went to vietnam.
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host: where in vietnam aware you? caller: i was in cam ranh bay. host: how long were you there? caller: i was there for almost a year and a half. host: what are your memories? caller: not good. i just had one question. i voted for donald trump but all i heard is that he did not serve. to my memory, bill clinton, jimmy carter, barack obama, chuck schumer, none of them served either. nobody ever mentions that. host: here's what lawmakers are saying. mitch mcconnell, the leader for republicans in the senate, " i am grateful for the service of our veterans, including the 300,000 euros who call kentucky
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home. happy veterans day. -- happy veterans day." and from brendan boyle, "i will not stopping for veterans with investment in health care and critical v.a. infrastructure." kate ranger, texas congresswoman, "we honor the men and women who sacrificed for the freedom of our great country." greg pence, the brother of the former vice president, "on our veterans day, the nation has a special opportunity to pay tribute to our american heroes who have served in the u.s. armed forces." "this is the 117th congress, 91 total veterans in the 117th
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congress. 74 in the house and 28 are democrats, 63 are republicans." we will go to sydney end alexandria, indiana. what are your thoughts on veterans day? caller: i want to talk about the va hospital. the va hospital has been destroyed under mr. trump's privatizing at the v.a.. i have been to the v.a. hospital twice in the emergency room and operated on. now, we no longer have an emergency room. if i have skin cancer on my face or ear, now i have to drive 120 miles one way. why don't y'all start investigating how the v.a. is collapsing because of this
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outsourcing money to private doctors? you cannot go to any doctor you want, only certain doctors will take you. we have been told we have to wait six months to get any appointment to see these people because the v.a. no longer hardly has any doctors in central louisiana. my doctor announced that he is no longer going to be there. nobody is talking about it. everyone is saying how great the v.a. is. i used to praise the v.a. now it is a mess. host: malcolm in louisiana, a veteran. good morning to you. caller: good morning. i am a vietnam era navy corpsman
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. and it is corpsman, not like co rpse man like barack obama said. i did not go to vietnam. but i was a corpse and -- but i was a corpsman. both of our sons were in the military and navy for both of the gulf wars. the guy that said jimmy carter did not serve, even though i did not like him as a president, he did go to annapolis. he was a navy officer. host: in the navy, what were your responsibility to? caller: i took care of sick people. host: how long were you in the
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navy? caller: 1970 to 1975. host: what are your reflections on this veterans day? caller: i worked with a lot of really great people, i made some really great friends. as far as this administration, the guy keeps talking about how wonderful it is what biden wants to do. if biden and anyone in his administration was to do something, they are completely ignorant. that is how i feel about the entire administration. host: terry in florida. we will go to you next. caller: thank you very much. our country has been so divided lately. coming back to vietnam, it was very divided and, too. i was an antiwar protester going
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to college in the early 70's. i forgot to register for selective service which meant i was eligible for the draft. my number was 26. i had some anxiety and was debating about going to canada. i was not going to go into the military because i felt morally horrified by what we were doing in vietnam. i also held that the people fighting that war were complicit. now, as in the older person, i realize they were not complicit. they were buying the lies of the u.s. government. there were veterans that came
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out of that war with such damage from agent orange and the military refused to acknowledge it for decades. that is all i want to say. i want to apologize to the veterans i held complicit. i believe they were awful brave. thank you for allowing me to express my thoughts. host: as we told you, yesterday march the 100th anniversary of the tomb of the unknown soldier. the national cemetery tweeting out this picture. "100 years ago today, -- carried the tomb of the unknown soldier. it was cold and raining and officials spread sand on the gangway so those carrying the
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casket would not slip. vips stood at attention, waiting the return of the unknown soldier. the bell rang at eight bells, traditional salute to the following. on this day in 1921, the anonymous doughboy, the name given to the anonymous entry for men -- anonymous infantrymen -- was led to the tomb of the unknown in arlington national cemetery. there the soldier was laid to rest on november 11, 1921, three years after world war i ended in 1918. arlington national cemetery also tweeting out this photo. "the casket lay in state in the u.s. capital rotunda from
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overnights to 11th. government leaders honored his arrival on the never -- on november 9. on november 10, or the 90,000 members of the public paid their respects to the unknown." in a rare opportunity, the government has been able to set foot on the plaza of the unknown soldier and pay tribute. it has not been open for nearly 100 years. members of the public were able to lay flowers down over the last two days. ron in california, a veteran. when did you serve? caller: i was working on the space industry in cape kennedy, florida, july 20, 1967 when i was drafted. i was working as a space vehicle test mechanic on the second
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stage of the apollo rocket. i went to basic training and then to new jersey for a few weeks and then to fort knox for truck driver's school and then onward until i was stationed in germany for the second armored calvary. i was a citizen soldier. i served from july 20, 1967, to july 20, 1969. i have a couple of comments about this whole process of being drafted and going into the army. i can tell you one thing, there has been ptsd since the earliest first shot was fired -- when
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washington was the general. going to war is something you don't understand unless you have done it. for anyone who has not been there, there is only one person that probably understands as much and that is a parent. a parent of a soldier understands the dangers. when you raise your hand and say i do, that means you put your life in the hands of the u.s. government or any government until you are separated. i don't think people get that. you could die in a truck accident, you could die in any number of ways and your life is not your own. you do not have a choice. you have to follow the rules or be incarcerated. the bottom line is we have a lot of soldiers, every soldier that has gone to war in our lifetime,
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suffered from ptsd. i know that sounds odd, but it is true. when i came back from the army after two years of service, i was the 72 bravo which is a medications operator -- a communications operator. i was there when the russians were going to attack us from czechoslovakia. none of that stuff ever comes out. that is just a minor thing compared to all the things that happened during the war. when you were in a war zone, we were obviously threatened constantly. we never supported the war in vietnam, we knew it was political and stupid.
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in order to be a person who resides in this country, you have to respond when the nation calls you. one thing i have to mention before i forget is that joe biden's son died of a brain tumor probably caused by something that happened to him while he was stationed overseas. every mother and father of children in this country understands it. my mom said i did not raise you to go over there. your mission is to go over there and come back safe. i applied every single person that has served our country, every person who has raised their hand and done their duty for their country. those are the real heroes. it is not people that have to
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kill other people to billy -- people to be a hero. you do your service and come back safe. that is what it is all about. host: i have to leave it there. david in georgia, your turn. caller: morning. i have a comment. ma'am? host: yes, we are listening. caller: i have two friends, both went to vietnam. one of them was working for me. i have a cousin who is still -- [indiscernible]
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he said they are around the corner and i'm not going to go around there. he had not changed and nobody seemed to care. he looked real bad. he had no place to stay. [indiscernible] somebody needs to check on these people who have done their duty. host: john in augustine,
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georgia. when did you serve? caller: i am enjoying the talk and the facts coming out about veterans. i got drafted in 1971. my dad was social security director for the state of mississippi and my mother hated me and wanted to see me to go to vietnam, probably today -- probably to die. she made sure i had a low draft number because she knew a lot of people, including the foreign arms chairman in mississippi. several things i want to say to people and i want america to this into this. in the state of georgia alone -- my dad's brother was the union president of the v.a. hospital in augusta, georgia for almost 50 years.
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i worked closely with the veterans organization -- georgia veterans organization, that i found out from a john mckenzie and the director of the operation in atlanta that there are over 575 -- over 575,000 unpaid and uneducated, medically worked on stacks of files just in the office of veterans administration in atlanta. here is another thing, you don't know this, we got drafted for $70 a month. -- $72 a month. that is not the dollar was worth more crap.
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no it wasn't. $72 a month is nothing. america took texas out. i was getting $63 a month. what i want to see rick allen do , i said do you know how many veterans claims there are in atlanta? 567,000. he goes, that many for the country? i said no just for the state of georgia. senator ted cruz, how many unpaid veteran claims are in your state? how about mitch mcconnell? how about lindsey graham? i was at west point military academy and doctors were
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molesting women in the operating room and i expose them. allen hunt of the wall street journal was my brother-in-law at the wall street journal and he turned his back on me. my wife's sister came to my house -- host: i'm going to leave it there so we can get in more voices. david, you were a veteran as well. caller: yes, i served january 1967 to january 1969. i served in vietnam. i was infantry. the longest year of my life. when i got drafted, i did not think much about that, i just thought it must be my turn.
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i thought it was your duty to stand up for your country. i did not question the motives of the war. let me make this one quick story. i saw a book by given more ennis -- by david moranis and it was about in the operation i was in. that was quite an experience and i am still digesting a lot of that. that was an interesting story he wrote. host: what you mean you are digesting a lot of that? caller: when you look at the motives in wars -- i got lucky. i never got hurt. i saw a lot of guys get hurt and
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die. in the town i lived in, there were probably eight or nine or 10 guys i knew personally that died over there. you just think about what i saw there, the weight they had to live, those people, and how we live here, i was glad to get back. i was never bitter. i just thought it is your turn and then you come back to the greatest country in the world and you did your duty. they say they never lost the battle over there, but we lost that one. i wonder to this day about the people i met over there, things that i did. that is basically it. host: thank you for calling in. i want to share from the society
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of the honor guard, this tweet is sent out, "in honor of the centennial of the tomb of the unknown soldier, bob martin, president of the american rose society has written a poem called in arlington. it is a captivating poem brought to you by gary sinise." [video clip] >> it has been over 100 years since the first unknown soldier was back and. in arlington. it has stood as a symbol to the world of the honor america bestows on people who serve in all branches of the military. our love for those servicemen and servicewomen have been captured in the words of a poem written by bob martin entitled "in arlington" which recognizes
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their service and our love and honor for our fallen heroes. ♪ >> in arlington, white roses grow. headstones mock them, row on row. the honored dead, and in the sky, the mourning doves in seven sly to grieve the known who lie below. we are the dead, the ones you know. we lived, felt dawn, the sunsetted go -- in the sunset go.
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loved and were loved and now we lie in arlington. while in the tomb of marble below arrests the unknown. fresh soil below, in honored lori there he lies. do not break faith with those who died, our roses bloom as falling snow in arlington. ♪ host: "in arlington," a poem
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written as we mark veterans day 2021 and mark the 100th anniversary of the tomb of the unknown soldier at arlington cemetery in washington, d.c. we are getting your thoughts, your reflections on veterans day 2021, the issues surrounding our war and our nation's veterans. audrey in alabama, your turn. caller: good morning. u.s. army 1984 and discharged in 1995. i served in desert shield and desert storm. i am a disabled veteran, ptsd. i appreciate the tribute to the
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ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the country. host: what did you do exactly? what were your responsibilities when you served? caller: when i first served, i was a dental
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i had to write a letter to a boy's family. he was 19 years old. he was going to lose his arm but we could not tell him he was going to lose his arm. i appreciate you recognizing veterans today. we are not bad, we are not dangerous. the only time i had to call the crisis line was during the pandemic.
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i've called and discussed it with your mental people before about my son who got to settle during the pandemic. he graduated 2020. but i got good news. i have been calling and calling about v.a. extending its health insurance, and crickets from the doctor. and i call the district office for my congressman here. he has got a great job with good benefits now. i am so proud of him and he is so happy. he is so happy. but the nightmares never go away. the things i saw never go away. i appreciated the one who called and was talking about the patients and stuff. it is your fellow servicemembers.

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