Republicans and Democrats unite to honor World War II veterans at U.S. Capitol showing of ‘Honor Flight’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In this time of heated partisanship, Senators and Congressmen from both political parties came together to host a viewing of documentary film Honor Flight at the Capitol Visitor Center Tuesday night. The film celebrates World War II veterans – 900 of whom die every day – and the group that brings them to Washington to visit their memorial.

“There is no better feeling than to stand and face that bus – when it rolls up from Reagan to the World War II memorial – to greet these veterans as they arrive,” said Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.).

Ryan gestured to a WWII veteran near him named  Joe Demler and said, “Joe fought in the Battle of the Bulge – he was captured by the Nazis. They sent him to a POW camp – they never gave him food or water. By the time he was freed he weighed 70 pounds. Life magazine took a picture of him lying in the hospital and they called him the ‘human skeleton.’

“He’s 87 on Friday,” Ryan said. “He was born on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, and he is with us today.” Turning to Joe, Ryan said, “Joe Demler, thank you for your service.

“Our founders created the American idea, and our veterans secured and preserved it each and every generation,” Ryan continued, quoting Will Rodgers: “We can’t all be heroes, but some of us can stand on the curb and clap as they go by.”

Suhail Khan spoke on behalf of Microsoft, a sponsor of the event. He spoke about how his grandfather’s service in World Wars I and II inspired him to get involved in this project – “this is a chance for us as family members to turn and say thank you to those who served our country.”

Khan introduced Dr. David Pecora, a surgeon from Yonkers, N.Y., and Dorothy Pecora, a nurse with Patton’s 3rd Armored division.

“They got married – with special permission from the Supreme Allied Commander General Eisenhower – before D-Day, they had one night together.” They didn’t see each other for nearly a year afterward. Dorothy went on to receive three battle stars and a bronze star for being fired upon and to treat victims from two concentration camps.

Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) spoke of how he helped a wounded veteran, Vern Arendt, receive a purple heart after 7 decades of being denied the honor.

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to the veterans of World War II,” he said. “Without their service and sacrifice the United States would not be the free country that it is today.”

Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.) acknowledged what a great showing of bipartisanship the gathering was.

“We all know we don’t agree on taxes or spending, but we do agree that we come together to honor the great men and women who have served our country,” he said.

“Each generation fights for freedom, liberty and democracy and passes it off to the next generation,” Duffy said.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) spoke about her involvement in the nearly 17-year production of the World War II memorial. “The idea came from the heart of America – it came from a veteran who spoke to his member of Congress.”

Kaptur called the monument’s location “the most important location on our hall of democracy.” She eloquently explained its situation “between the Washington Monument, which represents the President but also the founding of the republic in the eighteenth century, and then the Lincoln Memorial, a memorial to the president, but also to the nation that unified and held the republic together.”

“Between them then,” she concluded, “the most important achievement of the Twentieth Century, the victory of liberty over tyranny.”

The last day to see Honor Flight is currently Dec. 14. To find a location Honor Flight is showing near you or request a showing, visit the film’s website.

Comments

The Daily Show rips into Florida gun law

The Daily Show sent one of their “correspondents” down to Florida to "investigate" Governor Rick Scott’s law banning doctors from asking their patients about gun ownership.

Kimmel on the DEA's 'stoner rabbit' fear

In one of the more ridiculous anti-pot arguments we've seen in a while, the DEA in Utah is super concerned that, if they legalize edibles for medical use, all the local bunnies will get stoned out of their minds and lose their natural instincts.

Jon Stewart mocks Netanyahu

Jon Stewart spent a good deal of time Tuesday evening bashing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech before Congress, saying sarcastically, “Even though Netanyahu was speaking only two weeks before the Israeli elections, he wasn’t there just to use our Congress as the most elaborate campaign commercial background ever.”

Stewart calls House GOP 'turds'

Jon Stewart was looking forward to the end of congressional gridlock now that Republicans control both houses.

John Oliver gloats over net neutrality

John Oliver, who once spurred his followers to crash the FCC’s website demanding net neutrality, is positively gleeful over the news that the agency has approved rules to regulate the internet like a public utility.

White House

Calling for cooperation, Obama engages in confrontation

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid appeals for bipartisanship, President Barack Obama in just three days has provoked Republicans on issues as disparate as immigration, Wall Street and the Keystone XL pipeline — a combative mix of defense and offense that underscores Washington's political realignment.

It’s on: Obama follows through and vetoes Keystone pipeline

Defying the Republican-run Congress, President Barack Obama rejected a bill Tuesday to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, wielding his veto power for only the third time in his presidency.

Biden: The middle class is ‘being killed,’ in worse shape than any time since the ’20s

Joe Biden—everyone’s favorite creeper and truth-bomb-dropper.

MSNBC Host: Obama’s terrorism summit is a ‘dog and pony show’
You know it’s bad when President Obama has even lost the support of MSNBC. MSNBC Host Andrea Mitchell basically called the White House’s Summit on “Countering Violent Extremism” a farce during her show Wednesday. “Here he has the summit, no heads of government coming, the participation has not been at a particularly high level. We’ll have […]
Obama assures ‘almost complete confidence’ there have been no NSA abuses

The president’s interview with Re/code over the weekend touched on privacy issues, with Obama insisting with “almost complete confidence” that there have been no abuses of the government’s vast surveillance program.

Congress

DeSantis, Lee push for higher education reform
Higher education is finally getting some attention from Republicans in Congress. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R- Fla.) introduced the Higher Education Reform and Opportunity (HERO) Act Wednesday, the House companion legislation to what was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Mike Lee (R- Utah). The HERO Act would allow states to create their own accreditation systems for […]
Can Congress pass NSA reform in the next 100 days?

After failing to pass NSA reform last year, Congress has less than 100 days left to try again, or allow the entire phone metadata program to sunset on June 1.

Trey Gowdy says he's going straight to Hillary

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email controversy has opened up a new front in the House's investigation of the 2012 Benghazi attack, with Rep. Trey Gowdy saying Tuesday that his investigators would be going straight to Clinton and her team to obtain all relevant correspondence.

More Congressmen had student loan debt this year
The student loan debt crisis is not just a growing problem among the American public, it’s growing among members of Congress as well. A grand total of 47 members of Congress reported a cumulative total of between $1.8 million and $4.6 million in student loan debt in 2013, as calculated by OpenSecrets based on personal […]
Congress sends Homeland Security bill to Obama

Congress is sending President Barack Obama a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security through the end of the budget year, without overturning the president's immigration policies.