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Soon: Trump to Speak at Arlington National Cemetery; Trump Speaks at Arlington National Cemetery. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired May 28, 2018 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:30:00] MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: You don't get wrapped up in it, but it centers you. I think that's the most important thing.

(CROSSTALK)

LT. COL. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Erica, if I can reinforce what Spider just said, too. There's a great story from World War II. When Spider mentioned the phrase, you're given the responsibility as a commander or as a leader, a sergeant, to lead other men and women in combat, and it is a weighty responsibility, it weighs heavily on you. There's a great story about General Lucian Truscott. After World War II, he was dedicating the cemetery, the military cemetery in Italy. And when he stood up to speak at the dais, instead of speaking to the crowd, he turned his back on the crowd and addressed the tombstones of the soldiers who had fought under him and apologized for anything that he might have done that affected their lives and caused their death. That's something that weighs heavily on anyone that has to go to combat and lead others in combat. That's part of the thing that is associated with the Go Silent campaign, especially for leaders, that have had that responsibility of taking men and women into combat.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: A powerful reminder.

Gentlemen, stay with us.

We are waiting for the program to begin there at Arlington. A quick break and then we're back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:35:33] UNIDENTIFIED CHAPLAIN: -- as we realize the price that is paid to have and maintain our freedom. We also remember the families and friends of those who have given their lives in service to our nation. We pray that they will be comforted and reassured that the sacrifice of their loved ones is not in vain, and they are not forgotten. Lord, as always, we ask that you will continue to give our wisdom to our commander-in-chief, his administration, our elected officials, our diplomats and military leaders as they promote peace throughout our country and around the world. Bless and be with our brave men and women deployed into harm's way. We ask that you continue to bless them with strength and courage to be successful. And we ask that they will come home soon. We thank you, God, for our country and our way of life. And we ask that you will continue to bless America. We ask these things not of ourselves, but in accordance to your will, and the promise of peace through your holy name as the prince of peace. Amen.

ANNOUNCER: Please join the U.S. Navy band and chorus in singing our national anthem.

(SINGING)

(APPLAUSE)

ANNOUNCER: Please be seated.

Ladies and gentlemen, General Dunford.

GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Ladies and gentlemen, once again, welcome to this morning's ceremony.

Mr. President, Secretary Mattis, distinguished guests and, most importantly, to the Gold Star families with us this morning, it is an honor to join you in solemn remembrance.

Today, we pause to remember the more than one million Americans who gave their last full measure so we could live in freedom and raise our children in peace. On this Memorial Day, we also mark the 100th anniversary of World War I. In that war to end all wars, Americans deployed to Europe and promised that they would not come back until it is over, over there. That phrase captures the spirit of every American who has responded to the nation's call by simply stating, here I am, send me. It is that selfless service that we associate with the memory of our fallen sons and daughters, moms and dads, brothers, sisters, and friends. Today, we honor their service in the enormity of their sacrifice. Today, we also reflect on a sacrifice of the families they left behind and for whom every day is Memorial Day. But most importantly, today, we remember how they lived their lives. Those we honor represent the very best of our nation. They shared a commitment to something greater than themselves. And they were people who understood what we have in this country is worth fighting for. And though their lives were cut short, they lived long enough to touch our lives and to make a difference.

Ladies and gentlemen, as we gather to reflect and remember the fallen, let us also strengthen our own commitment to serve our nation, our communities, and the values for which we stand. If we do that, those who are taken from us prematurely will be able to look down and know that their lives had meaning, and they will know that we truly do remember.

On behalf of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen that are still in uniform, thank you once again for being here and thank you for remembering.

(APPLAUSE)

[11:40:22] Ladies and gentlemen, now the United States Navy band perform, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

(SINGING)

(APPLAUSE)

[11:45:15] ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, Secretary Mattis.

Ladies and gentlemen, Secretary Mattis.

(APPLAUSE)

GEN. JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Mr. President, Gold Star families, Americans and allies, General Dunford, a country worth fighting for, indeed.

I believe Robert Lewis Stevenson best captured the spirit of today when he wrote, "Under the wide and starry sky, dig the grave and let me lie. Glad did I live and gladly die, and I laid me down with a will. This be the verse you grave for me, here in lies where I long to be. Home is the sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter home from the hill."

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my privilege and honor to introduce our commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

(CHEERING)

(APPLAUSE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, everyone. Thank you very much. What an honor.

Secretary Mattis, and I love you, too.

(LAUGHTER)

General Dunford, Joint Chiefs, members of the armed forces, members of the cabinet, members of Congress, and distinguished guests, thank you for joining us on this solemn day of remembrance.

We are gathered here on the sacred soil of Arlington National Cemetery to honor the lives and deeds of America's greatest heroes, the men and women who laid down their lives for our freedom. Today, we pay tribute to their service, we mourn alongside their families, and we strive to be worthy of their sacrifice.

The heroes who rest in these hallowed fields, in cemeteries, battlefields and burials grounds near and far are drawn from the full tapestry of American life. They came from every generation, from towering cities and wind-swept prairies, from privilege and from poverty. They were generals, and privates, captains and corporals of every race, color and of every creed. But they were all brothers and sisters in arms. And they were all united then as they are united now forever by their undying love of our great country.

(APPLAUSE) TRUMP: Theirs was a love more deep and more pure than most will ever know. It was a love that willed them up mountains, through deserts, across oceans, and into enemy camps and unknown dangers. They marched into hell so that America could know the blessings of peace. They died so that freedom could live.

America's legacy of service is exemplified by a World War II veteran who joins us today, Senator Bob Dole.

(CHEERING)

(APPLAUSE)

[11:50:25] TRUMP: Earlier this year, I was fortunate to present a very special award to Bob, the Congressional Gold Medal.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Bob, thank you for honoring us with your presence, and thank you for your lifetime of service to our nation.

Today, we remember your fallen comrades who never returned home from that great struggle for freedom.

We are also proud to be in the company of another American hero, Navy Veteran Ray Chavez.

(APPLAUSE)

(CHEERING)

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: At 106 years of age --

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And he was in the Oval Office two days ago, and he doesn't look a day over 60.

(LAUGHTER)

He is the oldest-living survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: What a guy.

And, Ray, you are truly an inspiration to all who are here today and all of our great country.

Thank you, Ray, for being with us. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Thank you. Most importantly, we're joined today by the families of American

heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. We cannot imagine the depth of emotion that this day brings each year, the grief renewed, the memories relived, those last beautiful moments together, cherished and always remembered. And you also feel that incredible pride, a pride shared by one really and truly grateful nation.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: To every parent who weeps for a child, to every child who mourns for a parent, and to every husband or wife whose heart has been torn in two, today we ask God to comfort your pain, to ease your sorrow, and to wipe away your tears. This is a very special day. And today, our whole country thanks you, embraces you, and pledges to you, we will never forget our heroes.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Joining us today is the family of Marine Lieutenant Colonel David Greene, who rests here at Arlington.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: David grew up in Upstate New York dreaming of attending the United States Naval Academy. In 1982, that dream came true. Soon, another dream came true when Dave met his eternal soulmate, Sarah (ph), who is here with their two beautiful children, Jenna and Wesley.

(APPLAUSE)

[11:55:31] TRUMP: He's looking down on you right now. You know that, right? He's looking down on you, and he's so proud and happy.

After 10 years of service as a Marine helicopter pilot, Dave left active duty to spend more time with the people who truly filled his heart. Those are the people just met. But Sarah (ph) knew the man she married. She knew he couldn't live without serving. Couldn't do it. So she suggested he join the services in the form of Reserves, and that's what he did. In January 2004, Dave deployed to Iraq. That summer, just a few weeks before he was scheduled to return home, he was called in to provide air support for ground troops who were in very serious danger. They were in very serious trouble. He immediately raced to the scene. As he covered his troops, he was shot by ground fire, giving up his life for his comrades and for his country. Lieutenant Colonel Greene remains one of the highest-ranking Marines to have been killed in Iraq since 2003. But for him, it was never about rank or title. Like all of his fellow warriors, it was only about duty. He served to defend our flag and our freedom. And now his son, Wesley, who is a senior at Liberty University, plans to follow in his father's footsteps and join the military.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Wesley, I just want to congratulate you and your entire family. Great, great family.

Thank you very much. And thank you for being here with us. Thank you very much. Beautiful.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Going to love the military. Those are incredible people.

We're also honored to have with us today the family of Army Captain Mark Stubenhofer, and his wife, Hattie, and their children, Lauren, Justin, and Hope.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Thank you for being with us. Thank you very much. Such an honor.

Mark grew up not far from here in Springfield, Virginia. Every year, he visited these grounds and hoped to someday serve here as a member of that very, very famous Old Guard. In 2004, Mark deployed to Iraq for the second time. While he was there, Patty went into labor with their third child, and Mark was with her by phone when their beautiful baby girl was born. Together, they named her Hope. Just a few months later, Mark was on a mission near Baghdad when he was tragically slain by a sniper's bullet. Today, Hope is 13 years old. Although she never had the chance to meet her great father, she can feel his love wrapped around her every single day. And when Patty puts her children to bed and kisses them good night, she can see Mark's legacy beaming back at her through their bright and glowing eyes.

Thank you so much.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Really beautiful. Thank you. You know that, right?