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Clinton Delivers Remarks at Tomb of the UnknownsAired November 12, 2000 - 11:41 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to take you to Arlington National Cemetery, where President Clinton is about to speak at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.
I welcome you all to this sacred place as we again pay tribute to the men and women who have stood at the barricades so that we may enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Here we are, surrounded by the white markers that measure the last full measure of their devotion. Many veterans died in now historic places: the Battle of the Wilderness, Belleau Wood, Normandy, Iwo Jima, Inchon, Vietnam, Kuwait.
Many others fought bravely and thankfully returned home to live out happy, accomplished lives among friends, families, and loved ones.
Still others remind us that even when America is not at war, the men and women of our military risk and sometimes give their lives for peace.
Three such heroes were interred here just in the past few weeks. They were members of the United States Ship Cole, working to preserve peace and stability in a region vital to our interests, their lives taken on October 12 by a brutal act of terrorism. They are Hull Maintenance Technician Second Class Kenneth Clodfelter, Electronics Technician Chief Petty Officer Richard Costelow, and Signalman Seaman Cheron Gunn.
Let us say to their families and to all the families who lost their loved ones on the Cole: We are grateful for the quiet, heroic service of your loved ones. Now they are in God's care. We mourn their loss, and we shall not rest until those who carried out this cruel act are held to account.
We all saw the TV images of the Cole and the massive hole in its side right at the waterline. But what many Americans still don't know about is the heroism that took place after the attack.
What we couldn't see was that the entire compartments were flooded, hatches blown open, doorways bent, parts of the top deck buckled.
So in addition to finding and bringing home the dead and the wounded, the surviving crew had to save their ship. They worked around the clock, some in 22-hour shifts, amidst smoke, seawater and twisted steel, with no respite from the desert heat. They used their ingenuity to restore the ship's electrical power, so they would no longer have to bail water
PHILLIPS: Live from Arlington National Cemetery, President Clinton delivering his last Veterans' Day address of his presidency, paying tribute to soldiers who he says secured our liberty, dying and fighting for our freedom.
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