tv Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony CSPAN December 25, 2013 10:00am-11:01am EST
different. they changed over time. some people think it was a good thing as some a bad thing. there are really important issues that people fight about and fight about with legitimate disagreement. >> today, on c-span, current and former heads of faith-based operations on the separation of church and state feature. , july 1,great war 1916. and, follow bob hope as he travels across the pacific for tour of southeast asia, including stops in vietnam. >> in the first and second world wars am a native american code talkers used tribal languages to send messages.
a ceremony was held awarding 33 tribes the congressional gold medal. we will hear from members of congress and the military in this hour-long event. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> ladies and gentlemen, the speaker of the house of representatives, john boehner. >> good morning, ladies and gentlemen. all come to the state capital. be joined byd to those that made this day possible including dan boren from oklahoma. [applause] fortunate to have in leaders two outstanding
, two native americans of tom cole and mark woolen -- mark mullen. we need to immortalize men who were in no way, meeting for the first -- in a way meeting for the first time. during the second world war, he was a member of the 195th field artillery battalion. one day in 1944, he was walking through an orchard in southern france and heard one of his brother and singing under a tree. dialogue and the put them to work on opposite ends of the radio. that coincidence brought these men onto the stage of history and alongside the elite band
that we call code talkers. i asking all of you to join me in welcoming him here and thanking him for his service. [applause] edmund and his brothers were at normandy. they were on hiroshima. they mobilized the simplest weapon, language, to thwart the fiercest enemy that free people ever known, and they made a difference. after serving with honor, they did the honorable thing, they
kept their service a secret, even to those that they loved. so, these wives and daughters and sons aching to give back to those who gave up so much for them dedicated much of their own truth,o unfurl in the not for gain or glory, but just so people would know it is the story that is important, one of them said. hereof these families are today, and join me in applauding their perseverance. [applause] because of them, the deeds that might have well been relegated to legend will now live on in memory. wentroes that for too long unrecognized, they will not be given our highest resignation -- designation.
it has been the custom of this congress to award gold medals in honor of great acts and great contributions. the first recipient was a general by the name of george washington in 1776. many names were put forward, but few receive the approval of both houses and the signature of the president of the united states. 4544, wersuant to hr for recognize 33 tribes dedication, valor, and for sharing what may be the toughest code, what it takes to be the bravest of the brave. they say every metal tells a story, but by adding these men to such lofty ranks, we also mean to add their story. one worth pondering today, one worth retelling every day. thank you all for being here.
♪ >> what so proudly we hail at the twilight's last gleaming whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight watched ramparts we and so gallantly streaming the rockets red glare the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
remain standing as the chaplain of the united states senate gives the indication. crocs let us pray. let us pray.> oh, god, our refuge and fortress, we put our trust in you. thank you for this congressional gold medal ceremony that provides long, overdue to native american code talkers of the first and second world war. , that youyou empowered these wind-talkers
from many native american tribes to creatively use their native, -- native town to save the lives of countless thousands who would have perished on distant battlefields. lord, while sacrificing on freedoms theyor and their families were often heroesat home, they were , proved in liberating strife who, more than self, their country loved, and mercy more than life. as we celebrate their patriotism, skill, creativity, that maidenccuracy victory in combat possible in
spite of daunting odds, challenge us, oh god, to invest our lives in causes worthy of our last full measure of devotion. ,e pray in your great name amen. >> please be seated. ladies, united states representative from the fourth district of oklahoma, the honorable tom cole. [applause] [applause] >> as a native american, and as a grandson of a career naval officer, the son of a career united states air force noncommissioned officer, and the nephew and namesake of an uncle
that fought and served honorably in japanese prison camps in the philippines on the main island of japan, it is an honor of me to share this moment with each and every one of you. in the long history of american arms, no one has fought against an alliance -- in alliance with and for the united states of america like native americans, and that is true to this day. native americans still enlisted a higher level than any other race or ethnicity in this blessed land and they do so proudly with a determination to defend it. [applause] among the most famous of those warriors are the navajo code talkers of world war ii, but in all, 33 different tribes
contributed, pen from my home state of oklahoma, and three from my district. , they won lives battles, and they did so by giving the united states a advantage,lefield secure communication. all of the first code talkers were americans, but many were .ot american citizens that did not come until 1924. the code talkers of world war ii were often barred from full participation in american life, that they still served with pride, patriotism, honor, and sacrifice. i am proud that congress is recognizing that unique service. i appreciate my friend dan boren's role in that, and by honoring these code talkers, we honor all native american warriors past, present, and future.
good luck. god bless. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, united states representative from the third district of wisconsin, the honorable ron kind. [applause] >> good morning. colleagues, established guests, 33 tribes that are the recipients of the congressional gold medal today, and most important to our native american veterans and our code talkers, those that were able to make the trip, and those who are unfortunately still at home, we welcome you. we'll you a debt of gratitude that could never be repaid, and on behalf of a grateful nation we thank you for your service and sacrifice. just a couple of weeks ago in this capital we dedicated the bust of prime minister winston churchill, and during the second
world war, prime minister churchill was fond of saying that at time of war the truth is so precious that it must always be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies, but in the case of our code talkers, that was not necessary. you spoke the truth, but in the words of your native language, and it worked perfectly. deciphered, decoded. you did it with the next ring degree of accuracy and speed. as edmund knows, in the first 48 hours of the battle of you which -- youer 800 battlefield would jima, over 800 battlefield communications were given with 100% accuracy rate typically in less than 30 seconds, when it would take a typical machine of the time close to a half hours to decode messages. it was a remarkable accomplishment that lead to a
--cker and to that conflict and to that conflict and saved many lives on both sides. heroes, butd home without a heroes welcome. the code was so effective that our military cap that classified in secret until 1968, and even then, it took many more years before the recognition started to take place of what our native american veterans and our code talkers in particular did during that time. that a remarkable legacy they share, and a remarkable story that needs to be preserved. that is why i am here to make one last request from a grateful american to our native veterans in attendance, and throughout the country, and to our code talkers here and at home, we're asking you to share your stories and make it part of the veterans history project.
it was legislation i help to advance with the help of many colleagues with the intent to preserve an important part of american history, our veterans stories, and what it was like for them to serve our nation, so that future generations will never forget the service and sacrifice that came before them. today, the veterans history project is housed at the library of congress. we have collected close to 90,000 veterans stories from across the nation during this time. they say it is the world's largest oral history collection, but many more stories are yet to be told. i hope we will be able to follow up with you, edmund, to see if you would be willing to share your story. colonel bob patrick, who heads wille history project, follow-up with our native american veterans and tribes here in attendance to see if we can get more to participate and share these vital stories. i hope many of you will consider doing so.
again, on behalf of a grateful nation, we say thank you for your grateful service, may god bless you and your families, all of our veterans and soldiers, wherever they might be serving us throughout the globe today, and may god continue to bless these united states of america. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, united states senator from the state of south dakota, the honorable tim johnson. [applause] >> good morning, and welcome. here todaynor to be as we celebrate the military service of the native american
code talkers. i worked for over a decade to honor the code talkers with the congressional gold medal. it is gratifying that this day is finally here. real work, though, began 95 years ago, when native americans from south dakota and across the country (homes and joined the military effort -- left their homes and join the military at a timeworld war i when many native americans were not yet american citizens, but assuredaliantly for homeland. native code talkers were used extensively in the european and pacific theaters during world war ii. the use of native languages was a fundamental tactic that saved
untold numbers of lives and help to win both wars. i have had the opportunity to visit with several of the code talkers and learn their personal stories. i always walk into those meetings inspired by the dedication to our nation. these men did not seek the limelight, and in fact, there is a tremendous impact to our military that was kept from the public for half of a century. question their contributions were unparalleled, and have had a lasting impact on history. most of the native code talkers have passed away, but we will never forget their heroic actions and are forever grateful for their military service.
the livescelebrate and contributions to our country , with their families and friends who are with us today. congratulations to all of you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, united states senator from the state of oklahoma, the honorable james in alf -- the honorable james inhofe. [applause] heard first from congressman tom cole who is our native american art of congressional delegation. i recall hearing from him before he was in congress and at that time i was in the house, and introduced us to this best-kept
secret of world war ii and world war i, the code talkers. i look around and i see a lot of people who were very active other than those on the program today, but on the program today we have made mention of dan boren. he is here. watkins is one of the initial individuals who reminded us of this best-kept secret. decades after world war ii, people did not know anything about the contributions we started introducing resolutions and it was not until 2008 that we were successful. i want to mention that the ofaker talked about edmund the seminole nation, one of our fellow oklahomans. those of us have been fortunate, those in oklahoma, involved in
this meeting today, and one of the reasons is oklahoma has the largest population of native and second only to california, and they cheat because they have more people. nonetheless, it became evident to us as to the contributions prayer, the opening reverend talked about the lives that were saved. we cannot quantify that but we know they were out there. because of the secretive nature of the code talkers contribution, you cannot say how many, but we know many, many lives were saved by these american heroes. we pay tribute to today, we love you, it will always respect you and remember you. [applause] gentlemen, the united states army band and chorus. ♪
ooray for the flag of the free banner forevera remember the day the claim as they march marchy their they live forever ♪ [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the democratic leader of the united states house of representatives, the honorable nancy pelosi. [applause] [speaking native american language]
>> good morning. it is an honor to be here with our speaker, to be here with our , with american brother ron kind, with the distinguished senator johnson, and senator inhofe, and we in california take great pride in having the largest number of native americans. and of course, with the admiral that we will hear from later. in 1941, a young member of a tribe, charles, joined the u.s. of hisne of 17 members tribe, he was recruited to speak their language in service to our country in world war ii. even in a nation that has long denied him his basic rights that long refused his people
citizenship, that long neglected the challenges facing native americans, charles volunteered. generation, his fellow code talkers and service members, he signed up to protect and defend our communities and shared homeland. that is the oath of office that we all take to protect and , and the code talkers honored that pledge and helped us to honor hours, all americans to do so. later, we save lives using the native american language. as soldiers and marines with codes, no enemy could decipher -- the code talkers saved lives on the beaches of normandy and at iwo jima. they save lives on the invasion on d-day, the battles in the european theater, and fighting across the south pacific. they
kept their code secret and safe, as the speaker mentioned. they served with undaunted bravery, part of a band of brothers that defeated tyranny, said a confident free, and restore the hope of democracy across the globe. the code talkers carried forward the hope of their people committed to the cause of freedom. their sense of duty was never shaken, nor was there a result. their patriotism never wavered, nor did their courage. the bonds of brotherhood were never broken, nor was there code. for their heroism and sacrifice, the contributions that went unrecognized for too long is a privilege for congress to bestow the native american code talkers the highest honor we can bestow, the congressional gold medal, and by your acceptance -- [applause]
and by your accepting it, you bring luster to this award. may these metals long and/or as a sign of respect, admiration and unending gratitude for our native american tribes and the sons and the sons they sent to battle. we all know that god truly blessed america with our code talkers. thank you and congratulations. [applause] gentlemen, the republican leader of the united states senate, the honorable mitch mcconnell. >> it is an honor to join my colleagues today in recognizing the service of the native american code talkers. a little more than a decade ago,
congress and president bush honored the navajo code talkers for the tremendous contributions during world war ii. today, we honor the rest of the code talkers whose extraordinary skill and heroism will be remembered as long as the history of modern warfare is told. rarely has a group of men then so crucial to a nation's littley success, yet so known for so long as the native american code talkers. asse heroes, some as young 15, answered the call when the country needed them, and they perform their task with extraordinary courage and grace. often working behind enemy lines, these men sent messages that once took hours to transmit in a matter of minutes or even seconds, all in the code they
were not even allowed to put on paper for fear that it would be discovered by the enemy, and then when they came home, they could not even talk about their achievements. soy had to keep them secret that no one would know about this new weapon of war. so, we are deeply grateful for their service. hopefully, in the years to come, the deeds of these good men will be more widely known and all americans will know the inspiring story of these native americans who saved so many lives devising and deploying a code so effective that our enemies never broken. it is a privilege to honor these -- today, and to thank you thank them for their courage and sacrifice. the honor is long past due, but no less heartfelt. gentlemen, america is grateful
for your service, and we are determined to honor the memory of your heroic deeds. thank you. [applause] gentlemen, the majority leader of the united states senate, the honorable harry reid. [applause] >> according to firsthand whennts from the pilgrims they arrived on this continent, native americans did not farm the land, so it was not truly their land. according to the pioneers who the mississippi, native americans were not civilized, so they did not truly own the land. whording to prospectors rushed for the hills of nevada, california, and even nevada,
native americans did not speak english, so they did not truly own the land. strangers had forced the native people from the land, slaughtered their game, stifled the religions, outlaw their ceremonies, and ravaged their communities. next, the newcomers even try to steal their languages. in the late 1800's, the united states government forced native american children to attend english-only boarding schools. native children were torn from their families, taken far from home in boxed cars and buggies, given english names, and forced to cut their hair short. build the -- beat the children with leather straps when they spoke their native language. the government told them their language had no value, but the
children held onto their language, culture, and history, despite great personal risk, and in this nations hour of greatest need, the same native american thing disproves you have great value indeed. in the early war -- days of world war ii, japanese code breakers cracked every american cipher, everyone of them and military members needed a code so obscure, so unknown, that even their own decoders could not break it. the perfect secret weapon would be languages all but forgot outside of a few isolated communities. the united states government ingeniously turned to people whose language they try to nativete, but why would american to have been robbed of their land and their culture of greed to use their precious language to protect a country
that either neglected or abused them for centuries? here is why. talker,ve american code a young navajo man by the name of chester put it this way, "somebody has to defend this country. somebody has to defend freedom." the matter how many times the united states government had tried to convince them otherwise, the corporal new that the united states of america was his land. this young corporal was just a boy, a high school student, when he enlisted. native americans, like the corporal, were so eager to serve that many lied about their age to enlist. these brave soldiers, these code talkers had a special gift, their special -- sacred languages, and they selflessly shared that gift with our country, their country. their gifts saved countless lives and helped win the war,
and their willingness to share it made them american heroes -- share it made them american heroes. we honor our american heroes today. [applause] >> ladies and the speaker of the united states house of representatives, the honorable john boehner. [applause] >> thank you. i want to say thank you to my colleagues for their testimonials, and of course all of those in mid-december the possible. we are now going to present the medals -- made this ceremony possible. we are going to present the medals, and i am asking you to hold your applause until the end so that we can give all of our honorees their proper due.
nation of wisconsin, hopi tribe, oklahoma,wa tribe of lower brulé sioux tribe, minogue any indian tribe, mohawk tribe, muscogee creek nation, ogallala sioux tribe of neither tribe of indians of wisconsin, osage nation pawnee nation of oklahoma , ponca tribe of oklahoma, where tribe,al that, -- pueblo the tribe of the mississippi and iowa nation, santee sioux nation, seminal nation of standing rock sioux tribe. white mountain apache tribe.
[applause] >> if you could all remained standing, will have the benediction. >> it and gentlemen, the vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. >> ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats, and if our wonderful native americans who have received their medals, would like to retire to their seats, i will not make you stand while i talked. i will say good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and while you might be taking your seats
--in, allow me to say [speaking native american -- and i beg your forgiveness if i did not decode greetings and i cannot produce greetings for all of the tribes that we have here today. reid,eaker, leader harry leader nancy pelosi, honorees,hed guests, guests and families, we are very proud of you, and i'm very proud to be included today. here during native american heritage month, i have the great privilege of representing the inest military in the world recognizing the hundreds of native americans who have worn the cloth of our nation in the
distinctive way that we celebrate today, and in such a courageous way defending a country that did not always keep its word to their ancestors. [applause] 16e 33 tribes and 2 individuals we recognize today represent native warriors that leverage their native tongue to defend our nation through an unbreakable code, patriots that possessed a unique capability and willingness to give of their special talent and their lives. as richard west, founding director of the national museum of the american indian so elegantly captured it, language is central to cultural identity. containing the subtleties and secrets of cultural life.
as it turns out, the clever usage of our nations original, unique, and special languages -- these cultural codes was also an essential part of defending our great nation. the storyl heard throughout history -- military leaders have sought the perfect code, signals the enemy cannot break, no matter how able the intelligence team, and it was our code talkers the creative voice codes that defied the era of slow, bi- hand, battlefield encryption, such an eloquent way to quickly divide communications. it was doubly clever in that not only the language was decipherable -- indecipherable, the special words used within the language were difficult as well, such as crazy white man for adolf hitler, or tortoise
for tank, or pregnant fish for bomber. the code talker's role in combat required intelligence, adaptability, grace under pressure, bravery, dignity, and, quite honestly, the qualities that fit my useful stereotype of the brave, american indian warrior. these men endured some of our nation's most dangerous tackles and served -- battles and served proudly. the actions of those that we celebrate today were critical insignificant operations such as comanches on utah beach on d-day , cherokees at the second battle , to name but a few. these men were integral members of their teams, the 36th infantry division, the fourth signals company, the 81st infantry division, the 30th
infantry division, and so many more, learning morse code and operating equipment to translate messages quickly and accurately. of navy admiral aubrey fitch, employment of these men has resulted in accurate transmission of messages that previously required hours. from the start, the service rendered by these men has received favorable comment, i praise him navy language. these men contribute it not only in battle, the fundamentally to military intelligence committees work in cryptology, and dollar museum highlights the code talkers -- our museum highlights the code talkers as pioneers of their specialty. here, once again, we learned that one of the greatest strengths of our nation is diversity, and your u.s. military, in particular, has always found great strength in this diversity. you may wonder why this is so.
when the chips are down and the bullets are flying, and the only way out is to win, it does not take long to recognize on the one hand that one's heritage is not matter much anymore, and at the same time if you can bring something special to the fight through your own diversity, well, so much the better. your military has always lied our way out of the cultural challenges that sometimes accompany -- led our way out of the cultural challenges that sometimes accompany diversity, the we are happy to leverage unique skill sets regardless of individual differences, and through our code talkers, once again, diversity matched innovation with victory. the hero sitting among us are a testament to this -- 33 divers cultures, to be three divers dialect, all fighting together for one nation. native americans have long
sacrifice for our nation, well presented by 20th army, marine medal of honor recipients. the first american woman killed in operation iraqi freedom was a member of the hopi tribe, and many others have served nobly, proudly, and well in combat. aile we have benefited as nation from our native american warriors service and sacrifice, we can also learn from how they managed their journey from war to peace. thanks to her mark boal advances post-tlefield and battlefield -- remarkable advances in battlefield and post-battlefield medical care, we have many wounded warriors we will need to support for decades to come. the smithsonian makes it a point to note that native american cultures has special traditions to help warriors return home with injuries or member and veteran sacrifices forever. after the two world wars, most
native american code talkers returned to communities facing difficult economic times. jobs were scarce. so where opportunities for education, training. talkers stayede in their communities doing whatever kind of work they could find. others work to cities where jobs were more plentiful. many took advantage of the g.i. bill to go to college or get vocational training. the code talkers a compass many things during their post-war lives. some became leaders in their community's, participated in tribal governments. others became educators, artists, and professionals in a variety of fields. many are and remain active in the cultural lives of their tribes, and some work to preserve their languages. all remaining recognized heroes within the tribe. the lesson for us today, these men and women that have served
no about commitment and are ready to lead in communities across the nation. they are a national resource, a wellspring of intelligence, innovation, hard work, and resilience. they deserve our best. as we gather here together in emancipation hall, in the long and benevolent shadow of freedom, i am reminded of the ronson -- bronze statue to my right that warriors become great not only because of the competence in battle, because of their efforts for peace and unity, and a commitment to people when they return. we can best honor these great warriors among us not just with well deserved and long overdue recognition, but also within our own efforts to continue to leverage our nations that diversity, and to forever honor our veterans, including our native american veterans, for their narrative is an essential piece of our narrative. their journey is our journey,
and as demonstrated by our code talkers, our nation's future is built on their contributions to our history. so, now, back to where i started, and these trying to speak it familiar language to our wonderful code talkers and their descendents, -- [speaking -- allamerican language] special code for a special message, thank you. and thank you, ladies and gentlemen. a god continue to shower his great blessings on our great nation. thank you. [applause] gentlemen, please stand as the chaplain of the ofted states representatives, the reverend patrick conroy gives the benediction. -- patrick conroy, gives the benediction.
>> thank you, creator, the maker of ways, for giving us this beautiful day to celebrate life. may the hands and hearts of this nation be raised in prayer and praise for the heroic servicemen and women native to this continent, who as proud members of the united states to the terry served our nation so -- states, served our nation. lackingn humility desire to be named as heroes in doing their duty, these code talkers from many nations are honored this day by a nation which rises to celebrate their important work in military intelligence. may the breath of god uphold their noble and heroic story. they have honorably carried on the great legacy of their ancestors, who understood that
service to one's people is the highest calling. may their great example of service communicate to all generations, and to all nations, a message to inspire citizens everywhere to serve their communities. bless all women and men in military service, no matter their racial, cultural, or religious heritage, and their families. america, and grant us peace both in the present, and with you forever. amen. gentlemen, these remain at your seats for the departure of the official party. -- please remain at your seats for the departure of the official party.
christ the anti-federalist, including patrick henry at the -- >>. anti-federalist, including patrick henry at the have religious the for office, but will founding father -- the founding fathers were cosmopolitan and believe no faith, including their own was beyond fashion, so madison's prescription was a multiplicity of sects. importantad been provisions in the law in terms of government funding and religious institutions, so i would say there were some real issues to work through and to figure out. the roles that govern this area during the early-clinton years were different. they changed over time, and some people think that is a good thing, something that was a bad thing.
there are important issues that people fight about and fight about with legitimate disagreement. >> today, on c-span, current and former heads of the white house faith-based office is on the separation of church and state. tv, andn two's book illustrated account of "the great war." from 1967, followed by the opc travels across the acidic for his annual uso tour of the pacific including stops in vietnam. >> as part of our series, "first ladies -- influence and image, we recently sat down with former first lady rosalynn carter. she spoke to us about her time as first lady, attending cabinet meetings, working on mental health issues, the iranian hostage crisis and what she
hopes her legacy will be. she talks about her continuing work with former president jimmy carter on election monitoring, affordable housing, and fighting disease in africa. >> rosalynn carter, do you remember when president carter started having conversations about him running for president? >> i do. >> what was that like? what was that conversation? >> it was very interesting. we had a friend that wrote and told jimmy he thought he should run for president. well, we couldn't even say the word, that my husband was running for -- we do not tell anybody. because we kept it quiet. but then once he decided he would do it, that was when -- he could hardly say "i am going to be president." it was not something we never, ever dreamed would happen.
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