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Honoring Service & Sacrifice to the Country

Aired July 4, 2007 - 20:00   ET


GLENN BECK, HOST: Tonight, WE THE PEOPLE, a special Independence Day hour honoring the service and sacrifices made for our country.

BECK (voice-over): Tonight, putting aside partisan politics to focus on the issues that really matter, like leadership. On the anniversary of our country's independence, President Bush speaks out.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: However difficult the fight is in Iraq, we must win it. We must succeed for our own sake.

BECK: But with approval ratings for both the president and Congress nearing rock bottom, can anything really be accomplished?

Plus, it is considered our military's highest honor, the sentinels who watch over Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns. A rare behind-the-scenes look at the extraordinary dedication of these men who live to serve.

And what does it truly mean to be an American?


BECK: I'll talk with one of country music's biggest stars, Trace Adkins.


BECK: Hello, America. I'm Glenn Beck, filling in tonight for Paula Zahn. Happy Independence Day from Salt Lake City, Utah, where in just a few hours I will be joined by 50,000 people along with tens of thousands of U.S. troops from all around the world watching live on the Armed Forces Television Network as I host the annual Stadium of Fire event at America's Freedom Festival in Provo with Brooks & Dunn.

My message tonight I guess is the same to you. It's simple, its' all about WE THE PEOPLE. We control our leaders. We control our direction. We ultimately control our own destiny. Those are the important lessons that we need to remember today as a new poll was released showing that our approval ratings for both the president and our Congress now hover around 30 percent, not so much.

That may make President Bush the textbook example of a lame duck president, as well as Congress. But are you really willing to wait for 18 months for us to start seriously addressing the incredibly important issues this country faces today? I'm not.

It's time for WE THE PEOPLE to send these weasels in Washington a message. No more stalling. No more politics. No more games. If you want your approval ratings up, then it is time to put the partisan politics aside, roll up your sleeves and get to work.

CNN's White House correspondent Ed Henry has been watching the president today on Independence Day.

Hello, Ed, what has the president been up to today?

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Glenn, what we heard today was the president really pleading for more time for the war in Iraq, to get the mission done. He was pleading for patience from an American public that has obviously grown weary over a very unpopular war.

And the West Virginia Air National Guard is who he was speaking to. And it really personifies the sacrifice all across America, in Afghanistan as well as Iraq. You have to remember obviously there were two wars going on.

And the president cited one example of a master sergeant there. He has deployed seven times since the 9/11 attacks and he has recently redeployed for an eighth time to go to Baghdad.

So Mr. Bush really tried to pivot off the flag-waving of Independence Day to urge the American people to give him a bit more time. But the problem obviously, the challenge for him is it's no longer just Democrats on Capitol Hill saying that that time is running out. You now have very senior Republicans like Senator Richard Lugar telling the president he can't wait for that progress report in September from General David Petraeus. That he needs to have a more dramatic course change before then.

The president taking all of that in tonight as he has pretty much been relaxing after this speech this morning. He is at the White House with his parents as well as his daughters. They came in because it is the president's 61st birthday two days from now. He is going to do a little celebrating early. Maybe watch some of the fireworks on the National Mall -- Glenn.

BECK: OK. Thanks, Ed. Now let's try to make some lemonade out of the lemons that we put in Washington. On the bright side of our leader's horrific approval ratings is that they apply equally to both the Republicans and the Democrats. We think they both stink on ice. That means we finally have a real opportunity in this country to toss out the donkey and the elephant, just look at each other as Americans, look each other in the eyes, come together and solve our problems as Americans.

So let's put that theory to the test right away. I'm joined by former aide to President Clinton, and the host of BET's "My Two Cents," Keith Boykin; along with conservative strategist Amy Holmes.

Guys, Let's not let's not have the stereotypical argument of it's the president's fault, it's Nancy Pelosi's fault. Let's just try to actually solve problems. Can anything be done without a "on the road to Damascus" moment from both parties where they say, wow, I suddenly hear the voice of the people? Amy, let's start with you, Amy.

AMY HOLMES, CONSERVATIVE STRATEGIST: Well, I hate to be the pessimist here on July 4th -- happy July 4th, by the way, from our nation's capital. But unfortunately we are heading into a presidential election. I worked for Senator Frist when he was Senate majority leader back in 2004 when we were heading into a presidential election. And the temptation is just too strong for both parties to try to make political points in order to set up their candidates for the election.

We can see small bore things, I think we will get things done like when the Congress passed the anti-spam law, when they passed registries so that you don't have folks -- you know, these telemarketers calling you when you're having dinner. But big programs, we just saw immigration go down in flames. It was hugely unpopular across the board. I don't think we are going to see the big reform that you are talking about.

BECK: Well, I mean, all we really want -- I think this is all America wants, is just people to stop blaming each other for everything and stop with the spin. For instance, we just heard that the war is highly unpopular, and they can't wait on Capitol Hill to be able to get that report on the surge.

Well, first of all, the surge is finally complete, has all of the troops today. And in something that you will need a microscope to be able to find it in any newspaper, and that is civilian casualties are down over 30 percent in the last 30 days in Iraq. Some real progress is being made. Why aren't we hearing anything like that, Keith? Why aren't we hearing anybody on either side -- or either side at this point saying, you know what, let's play this out, there are some good things happening right now?

KEITH BOYKIN, FMR. AIDE TO PRES. CLINTON: Well, first of all, I want to agree with what Amy said earlier. Because of the fact there is a presidential election going on, we have a real difficult time making the case about a lot of these issues. The situation in Iraq is still devastating. I think part of the problem is that people know that the situation is bad there and the president, no matter what he does, has really lost his credibility on the issue.

The Congress has lost some credibility, too, because they were elected in large part, to put an end to the war in Iraq. And they haven't done that. So the idea of saying that we should all come together and agree and just be Americans and put aside partisan politics, that can't happen until we have some agreement on what we should be doing.

We don't have agreement on immigration. We don't have agreement on Iraq. We don't have unanimity on any of these things.

(CROSSTALK) HOLMES: Sorry, if I can jump in there. I mean, again, the Iraq question was, you know, partisanship really on the Democratic leadership side, and I hate to put on the partisan hat, but I have to call it out. Democrats spent -- you know, wasted all of this time on the war supplemental bill, trying to load it up with artificial deadlines and pull out dates, but they knew, they knew it was going to be vetoed by the president. That was wasted time just to make political points.

BOYKIN: You see, now we are back into partisan politics though.

BECK: And, Keith, I'm going to have to tell you, you are exactly right. I have only got 30 seconds. But I'll tell you, again, I think you both miss it. And here it is, you say that there is no agreement on the war. Yes, there is. Win it, fight it to win or pull our troops out and stop putting them in harm's way. And politicians don't want to do either of those. They just want to play the middle ground. And that's what's getting people killed. Thanks a lot, guys.

Coming up, country music superstar Trace Adkins. His outspoken, shoot-from-the-hip style took his album, "Dangerous Man," all the way to number one. He joins me for a no holds barred discussion about, well, pretty much everything and anything.

And a little later, how one woman made the ultimate sacrifice for her country, a heartbreaking story of love, hope and honor.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Christine Romans with these headlines. Insurgents in Iraq today killed two more of our troops, one in Baghdad, one in Nineveh province. The soldier killed in Nineveh died when his helicopter came down. Officials aren't saying if hostile fire was to blame.

President Bush today strongly defended his conduct of the war in Iraq. The president telling troops in Martinsburg, West Virginia, that victory will require more patience, more courage and more sacrifice.

Al Gore's son, Al Gore III, was released from jail today after being arrested on a freeway in Southern California. He is accused of driving his hybrid Prius car at more than 100 miles an hour, and possessing marijuana and prescription drugs.

And in Washington, police have reopened the National Mall after ordering thousands of people to evacuate the area of a tornado watch. Tonight's July 4th festivities will go ahead as planned.

That's it for now. I'm Christine Romans, we return to Glenn Beck's special, WE THE PEOPLE.


BECK: By bringing a working class mentality and true fan sensibility to his music, my next guest has become one of country music's biggest stars and I don't know if he knows this, but his hit single, "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk," basically is my life story. His latest single is, "I Want to Feel Something." It is shooting up the charts. He joins me now from Nashville, Tennessee.

Trace Adkins, happy Independence Day, sir. How are you?

TRACE ADKINS, MUSICIAN: Happy Fourth, Glenn. How are you?

BECK: Very good. Thank you so much for spending Independence Day away from your family and with us for just a few minutes. What -- well, first of all, let's start with the single. Tell me the feeling behind the single.

ADKINS: Well, I almost called it the apathy song. Because it's -- you know, I'm always dumbfounded when I run into people who, if you ask them something about politics or about the current state of affairs in this world in which we live, and they say, I don't really pay any attention to that, I don't really care. And I don't know what to -- I'm speechless. I don't know what to say to somebody like that.

You know, what do you mean you're not paying attention, you know? So that's kind of what this song says, you know. It just -- it also addresses I think you know we just take too many things for granted, and the complacency and the apathy and the numbness that we've all gotten too used to now, it needs to be addressed and this song does that in a little small way.

BECK: You know, Trace, I think that we have got a couple of things going against us. We're becoming a narcissistic society where it's all about us. We don't care about anybody else but us. But the other thing is when you watch the news -- and your song talks about this a little bit, when you watch the news, it's the same old garbage.

I mean, that's what we were just talking about a few minutes ago with our guests earlier, stop the partisan bickering, stop yelling at the Democrats and the Republicans. Can we just solve something and so when we turn on television, are you surprised, I can tell you what the Republicans are going to say every time, and I can tell you what the Democrats are going to say every time.

ADKINS: Right.

BECK: And so you unplug.

ADKINS: And I think that the numbness and the complacency stems from the frustration that the American people feel, because it just seems like nobody is listening to us anyway, and so what's the point of getting screaming about something when nobody is going to pay any attention, you know, which the recent immigration debacle in the Senate is a perfect example of it.

I mean, they knew what the will of the American people was. And yet they insisted on going on their own path and doing what they wanted to do and not listening to the will of the American people.

And finally, I think they got scared actually. And so they pulled the plug on it. You know, but...

BECK: I betcha a little fear of God wouldn't hurt them. ADKINS: Yes, well, true.

BECK: You know what I mean? A little fear of God wouldn't hurt them. I was amazed that they are still -- I've been saying all week that I've been looking for the "road to Damascus" moment from these politicians where they say Jesus came to me and all of a sudden I get it. But I don't see it happening with them.

They still are saying on the immigration bill that now it's just talk radio or it's just a fringe group, or the people that make phone calls. The poll after poll after polls showed 70, 80 percent of the American people not in-line with this bill because 70, 80 percent of the American people know it's about security. Please, just secure our homeland first.

ADKINS: Yes. And then we'll deal with the other part later, however we can figure that out somehow. But, yes, I agree. And I think that's what all of the American people thought, too.

BECK: What does it mean to you, Trace, to be an American? What does it mean?

ADKINS: Wow, that's a tough question, Glenn, you know? Well, it just means, today, for example, I mean, drove down here to this little studio in Nashville to talk to you on television about anything that I wanted to talk to you about and vice versa. And there aren't a whole lot of countries around this planet where you can do that.

And there is a reason why we can do that. It's because on this day that we celebrate our independence, our independence and freedom was bought and paid for in blood. And we can't ever forget that. But it's just a wonderful place to live, you know, to be able to have the freedoms that we have. I can get on this television and make a complete idiot out of myself.

BECK: Well, you haven't done that, sir. It's always a pleasure. Thank you very much. His new single is "I Want to Feel Something."

Coming up, Independence Day celebration of our and those who serve it, including one man who gave up a life of luxury for the front lines.

And another who has devoted his entire life to caring for one of the most iconic symbols of our freedom. You don't want to miss meeting them both, coming up.


BECK: All week long we have been celebrating the American spirit by talking to people with innovative ideas, independent thoughts and inspirational stories. Tonight I wanted to focus primarily on that last part. Dorine Kenney made the ultimate sacrifice any mother could make for her country, seeing her only son off to war. But what makes her story unique is her ability not to only hold him close to her heart, but all of our men and women in uniform.


BECK (voice-over): For Dorine Kenney, it started out pretty simple.

DORINE KENNEY, FOUNDER, JACOB'S LIGHT FOUNDATION: Well, I'm a mother. You have your kid over in Iraq or Afghanistan and you just send them comforts from home, tastes from home.

BECK: Her care packages for her son Jacob became so popular that while serving in Iraq, he asked mom if she would also send some things to some of the buddies who weren't getting any mail from home. Dorine happily obliged.

KENNEY: When I get a special request, it is a lot of fun for me to fulfill that. I will get a letter back, gee, the biscuits you sent were really great, you know, or I loved the macaroni and cheese, or I had a soldier write back and say, Oreos are a soldier's favorite cookie. So of course, I bombarded him with Oreos.

BECK: And so it went. But sending packages and letters become Dorine's tangible connection to her son, checking the mail became the highlight of her day.

KENNEY: I used to come home and I would go to my mailbox. And when I saw a letter, I would sit in my car and hold it to my heart. And I would rock for a while so I could feel him.

BECK: She shared a piece of her favorite letter.

KENNEY: "Thanks for being my mom. I love you with all my heart. One picture that stands out in my head is the picture I gave you of us. You must have been about 21 and me about 3. I'm in my pea coat with my curly hair, you with your long, straight hair. I know now how much I mean to you because I know what it means to sacrifice for another like you did me." You gave it all up for me. I was your best friend and here we are 25 years later. And guess what, I'm still your best friend. I gotta go, miss you, mom. Love, your son, Jacob Samuel Fletcher." Please be safe.

BECK: Jacob was in Iraq for seven-and-a-half months before he was killed by a random roadside bomb. Now the letters are all Dorine has left.

KENNEY: I remember walking in the door. My sister was here in the apartment. I was out with my mother taking care of funeral arrangements. And when I came in, I'll just never forget the look on her face. And she said, I have some letters. And I received two of them on the same day, and they were the last two letters.

BECK: After Jacob's death, it would have been easy for Dorine to stop sending packages and try to move past losing her son and somehow go on. Dorine Kinney did just the opposite. Honoring her son, her efforts have been named the Jacob's Light Foundation.

KENNEY: Knowing that the soldiers over there are having it a little bit easier through the work we do, and it has really kept me alive, it has given me focus. It is giving me a strong purpose, just knowing that their morale is boost, it helps.

BECK: What is it she thinks Jacob would say about all of this?

KENNEY: Well, ma, look at all of those boxes that are going, and thank you, thank you for caring for my brothers and sisters over there. It's pretty rough on them and I know it makes it a little bit easier for them to receive support from home.

BECK: For Dorine Kenney, continuing to send comforts of home has given her hope and lifted her spirits. The light that has gotten her through her darkest days.

KENNEY: I named it Jacob's Light Foundation because the light that is within ever spirit and who he was as a person and his giving and his heart and his compassion lives on through Jacob's Light Foundation.


BECK: What a great day to be speaking to Dorine Kenney. She joins me now.

Hi, Dorine. How are you?

KENNEY: Hi, Glenn, how are you?

BECK: Very good. Last time we spoke, you said that you needed to raise some cookies, you wanted to send some Girl Scout cookies. It is my understanding that the troops might be a little sick of Girl Scout cookies at this point?

KENNEY: Oh, they will never get sick of Girl Scout cookies, Glenn. They love them. But thanks to your show, we received quite a few.

BECK: Yes. Dorine, what are you looking for now? And it always -- it shocks me, as I have gone and taken my family and volunteered our time at the USO to pack some of these care boxes like the ones that you pack, I'm shocked on how many regular everyday things that they really appreciate. What are they looking for now?

KENNEY: They look for the baby wipes, they look for powder, athlete's foot cream, socks. We send silly string because that helps them find tripwires, and we are going to look into day goggles for the troops as well. There is a whole bunch of stuff.

BECK: OK. Day goggles, just -- are we talking the day goggles just for the sand?

KENNEY: Yes, to keep the sand out of their eyes.

BECK: And the baby wipes are for what reason?

KENNEY: To clean themselves with. A lot of the troops still don't have everyday access to showers, so it helps them to be more comfortable. BECK: I will tell you, Dorine, that I have family members over in the Middle East. And I just got a letter last week from one of them. And he said that, you know, he hasn't been on a base, and he hasn't really seen anything that resembles normalcy in quite some time, but he has received a package from you. And I'm extraordinarily grateful to you. Thank you for all that you do.

KENNEY: It is my honor. It is my honor to send him a box.

BECK: We will be back from Utah in just a bit.



BECK: Welcome back to WE THE PEOPLE. I'm at Heritage State Park in Utah where later on tonight I'll be hosting a concert for our armed forces all around the world.

In the meantime, many of you are with family or friends at barbeques and picnics, watching fireworks, enjoying a well-deserved day off in the middle of the week. And it is so very easy for all of us to get caught up in the festivities of this day and not stop to think about its true meaning or the men and women who are serving all around the world, far away from home, just to maintain our way of life.

I cannot of a better way to the honor this Independence Day than by telling you two incredible stories of perseverance, integrity, and sacrifice. We had the amazing opportunity to take a behind the scenes look at the Sentinels who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers in Arlington.

That in just a minute, but first, I want to begin to tell you about Command Chief Dennis Witty. He has been in the military for more than half of his life. He has a beautiful family, great house, and amazing success, but he puts it all on the line for a greater cause, our country.


(voice-over): This is Dennis Witty (ph), a dad, a businessman, a soldier, a man with clear priorities.

CMD CHIEF DENNIS WITTY, INTERNATIONAL GUARD: I serve my god and I serve my country and I serve my family. And they are so closely intertwined.

BECK: He joined the air force when he was just 19 years old, 20 years later he's still doing it, now in the Reserves as a command chief in the International Guard. He supervises mechanic work on fighter jets and he takes his job very seriously.

WITTY: That's the sound of freedom.

BECK: His story may sound like countless others serving their country, but Dennis Witty is different because he is a self-made multimillionaire.

WITTY: All right, Dave, I checked. I think you're doing just fine.

BECK: He didn't have to be here. But he is.

WITTY: And this is just something that I have to do. I don't believe I could sit at home knowing what our country is going through, and faced with at this point in time, being able bodied, physically able to serve and defend our country.

BECK: Dennis is in the restaurant franchise business. He made his first million when he was 38 years old.

WITTY: Business is very good.

BECK: He started with one restaurant in July 2001. Business was booming, he was about to open his second restaurant and then, September 11.

WITTY: I was -- it's emotional. So -- and I don't know that it will ever change. I can remember so vidly. I knew, I knew what it was without question and I remember looking at my wife and I grabbed her hand and I said they've got to get the fighter jets up because this is an attack.

BECK: Within a few hours Dennis had left his new business and his family to serve his country.

WITTY: I dropped everything, for everything, really. You know, this is my country, it's my country and it's my children's country and it's your country, and we were under attack.

HEIDI WITTY, DENNIS' WIFE: We are very Christian-faithed family, and, you know, we believe that we have a duty, we have a duty to god the way we live our life. We have a duty to our country.

BECK: Dennis's wife, Heidi, has stood by his side through all of it. She says the hardest part is explaining to their three children why their dad has to leave.

H. WITTY: I just tell them, you know, daddy's doing what he wants to do and this is protecting our rights, protecting our rights and our freedom.

BECK: It wasn't the only time Dennis was called to service his country. In the past year he was called again, this time, to Iraq.

WITTY: Well, I talked to my wife about it, right away, so that she had plenty of time to prepare. But the timing was a little odd for us because Christmas was coming. We didn't leave until January, so we decided not to talk to our children about it until after Christmas.

H. WITTY: I didn't really want the children to be worried about this, especially at that time of the year, and if it was our last Christmas together, certainly we want it to be something that was joyous and not sad.

BECK: When Dennis left, his kids understood exactly why he had to go, but that didn't really make it easier for him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was really weird, because we would only have one parent. I'm really used to being around my dad, a lot.

BECK: And the experience in Iraq for Dennis was unforgettable.

WITTY: It was pretty intense, you know, some long days, living in tents, being mortared daily.

BECK: But he came home. And he says the next time his country calls, he'll be there again, to protect his country and the ideals of the American dream, a thing he has experienced first hand.

WITTY: I grew up in a small, little farm town, no college, below median income, not necessarily a very supportive family, a lot of things going against me.

BECK: He grew up in a time of fear in America. It was the Cold War.

WITTY: I remember growing up with a father who really seemed to enjoy that environment, he enjoyed that situation, he liked I believe -- he liked the idea that we can be under attack any minute.

BECK: But Dennis said he actually owes a lot to his father.

WITTY: I know when I joined the Air Force, my father was very upset about that because he'd always been very, really, anti-U.S. and I wonder if he's ever thought because of all of that, maybe he's the one who actually, you know, pushed that into me.

BECK: Whatever it was, Dennis has overcome adversity to achieve something wonderful in his own life, a successful business and a beautiful family.

WITTY: And only because of the opportunities in this free country have I been able to accomplish what I've accomplished. And I want my children and their children to have the same opportunities. And I believe it's my duty to protect that.


BECK: Dennis says that since his promotion to command chief they most likely won't send him back to Iraq any time soon, but he says he's going to find a way to volunteer his services, so he can do yet another tour in Iraq. Unbelievable dedication. A term that best sums up our next story.

It's a rare glimpse at the men who guard one of our most solemn treasures, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) (voice-over): They say it's the highest honor in the U.S. military. The Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery guard these sacred grounds 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in any kind of weather. They keep vigil over the unidentified bodies of American soldiers from World War I, World War II and the Korean War. It's a job they take very seriously.

SPEC KYLE OBROSKY, TOMB OF THE UNKNOWNS GUARD: Because those soldiers fought and died for the American flag and for what our country represents. And for us, it's our job to protect them and make sure that they get the respect that they deserve for falling and fighting for our country.

We represent their father, their mother, their son, their brother, because they don't have a family who can mourn for hem, so we do it for them.

BECK: Staff Sergeant Adam Dickmyer (ph) leads the Changing of the Guards. In the summer he performs this ceremony every half-hour.

STAFF SERGEANT ADAM DICKMYER, TOMB OF THE UNKNOWNS GUARD: The ceremony that you're about to witness is the Changing of the Guard.

BECK: It's a ritual that's highly symbolic and requires strenuous concentration. But it's behind the scenes, downstairs, beneath the plaza where the Sentinels do some of their most rigorous work. It's here that the Sentinels and their trainees, painstakingly tailor, groom and prep their uniforms between turns on the plaza.

SGT MICHAEL STEINER, TOMB OF THE UNKNOWNS GUARD: We come in and work 24-hour shifts. So, the whole time you are here in the quarters, you're constantly working on something, constantly. You've either practicing in front of a mirror with your weapon, working on your uniforms at night, or studying knowledge, being quizzed on knowledge.

BECK: They spend most of their time maintaining their uniforms, up to 40 hours a week. Staff Sergeant Dickmyer is actually scraping the glue out of a seam of a new pair of slacks so the crease looks as sharp as possible.

DICKMYER: We cut out all the insides, we cut out the pockets and we sew everything up and pretty much do the final customization to make it fit exactly, perfectly.

BECK: It takes a Sentinel anywhere from six months to at year to successfully train for the post. Only about 15 percent of the men actually make it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't think about so much power, you need precision, right now.

BECK: Private First Class Hills has been training for just over a month.

PFC HILLS, TOMB OF THE UNKNOWNS TRAINEE: It's a lot of stress, but it's -- you know, able to be overcome, as far as, you know, you just got to work with it. You know, take one day at a time and then keep driving on.

BECK: As a trainee, Private Hills can't smile, can't talk about his family, can't do anything except devote 100 percent to becoming a Sentinel.

STEINER: No matter what, you're always thinking Tomb. When you go to sleep at night you're thinking about your uniform, what you need to fix, what you need to do better and what you got to do the next day.

BECK: As the Sentinels prepare to enter the plaza, nothing is overlooked. They actually measure the placement of their belt buckle down to 1/10th of an inch.

STEINER: Our standard is perfection.

BECK: They try not to bend their arms too much, and they don't sit down. They'll do anything to keep their blues as wrinkle free as possible. They Velcro their gloves in place and actually spray them with hairspray for a better grip on the gun. And when the bell tolls, the changing of the guard begins.

Remember, they do this every half-hour.

Echoing the honor of a 21-gun salute, the Sentinels do everything in 21s. They take 21 steps, they pause for 21 seconds, and repeat it over and over again. You can see a dark brown line on the pavement of the plaza. It's a path the Sentinels have worn away with their precision routine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just came to see for myself what kind of men can be so disciplined and so dedicated.

BECK: For the tourist who comes here, the experience can be an emotional one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something you don't see every day, something that means something to a lot of people.

BECK: The words that grace the tomb are simple, but powerful. "Here rests in honored glory, an American soldier known but to God."

SPEC JAMES HENDERSON, TOMB OF THE UNKNOWNS GUARD: It's not about me, it's not about, you know, putting on a show or anything like that. Everything I do out there is, you know, for the unknown soldiers.

BECK: The Sentinels will continue their duty, honoring those soldiers who fell in the name of the United States of America, and sacrificing their own comforts in the heat, in the rain, in the cold, so we will never forget.

STEINER: We, the Tomb Guards, honor them because they gave not only their lives for their country, but their identities, as well. The Tomb Guards will always be there for the Unknowns.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BECK: Their dedication is unbelievable and so it is for this man. Charlie DeLeo, he is the Keeper of the Flame. He took care of the torch on the Statue of Liberty for 30 years. What freedom means to him, coming up.


BECK: From the groundbreaking TV series "Fernwood Tonight," who's work in films like "Waiting for Guthman," "Best in Show," "Four Your Consideration," my next guest is one of comedy's most original voices. His knew series, "Back to You" debuts on FOX this fall. And I am pleased to be joined now by Fred Willard.

Hello Fred, how are you, sir?

FRED WILLARD, ACTOR/COMEDIAN: Hello Glenn, I'm pleased to be talking to you.

BECK: Yes, now I wish we were -- we're in the same state, and we're going to be together tonight. You're actually part of the Stadium of Fire with me?

WILLARD: Exactly. And I was here last night for the preview and it's going to be a big event. You're going to love it.

BECK: Now you do this every year, do you not -- Fred.

WILLARD: No. I did it two years ago, it was my first time, and I was so impressed and so knocked out by the fireworks, there's a military flyover, a woman got shot out of a cannon. And they asked -- I couldn't do it last year. They asked me to come back this year and I said: you bet. And this year we don't have a lady shot out of the cannon, but we have a rocket man. You know those '50s movies where someone in -- with their own rocket goes up? He flies around the stadium and lands. It's amazing, and he did it last night in rehearsal.

BECK: When you said, a minute ago, that we had a lady shot over of a cannon, I can't take you seriously. Because all I can think of is I've a "weel wed wagon," and I don't know if I can believe anything you say.


WILLARD: Yeah, she was shot out of the cannon, and believe me, the happiest moment of my night was when she landed safely, because I didn't know -- I said, I'd better have some backup comedy here if she hits the ground and I had nothing. If she land -- the only thing I was going to say is, you're going to have great field position for the first BYU football game.

But, it was amazing to stand there and see her and she landed and it was fine. And, but this year Corbin Bleu -- and you're saying who? Corbin Bleu, I don't know who he is, but a thousand girls last night did, he's the star "High School Musical II." They have a thousand young cheerleaders out on the field. Honest to gosh. It's an event -- it's your ultimate Fourth of July spectacle.

BECK: No, I was going to say Brooks and Dunn are here and the great thing is, it's all being telecast all around the world for the armed forces television network.

WILLARD: Oh, I was going to say, after the broadcast, you're going to find enlistment rate around -- the enlistment centers are going to be filled, people lining up to serve this serve this country and do something. It is really patriotic and it's -- in the best way.

BECK: Fred, you have a new TV show starting on FOX. It's basically making fun of people like me.

WILLARD: Exactly. You are the target. They said let's get this Glenn Beck and you -- no, I'm just joking. It's Kelsey Grammer, it's Patrician Heaton, they're anchors in a Pittsburgh television station. I play the kind of clueless sportscaster. If you can -- I don't know why they give me parts like this. I've got to do some heavy drama sometime. I want to get one of those CSI shows.

BECK: Right, sure. How great is your life of just being able to make people laugh? You come on the screen, anything I've ever seen with Christopher Guest, is you are just -- I laugh the minute I see you on the screen. How great is that?

WILLARD: Well, it is great and god bless Christopher Guest for coming along with this group of people and creating these movies that he does, and I seem to fit right in there. And it's really been a great boon to me, and it's so much fun working with those people. And then it's opened up a lot of other doors to me, and so I think that's one reason I'm here. People saw me like in "Best in Show," oh, let's get that guy, he's a good sportscaster, let's get him down here to narrate the Stadium of Fire. So, it's great fun, though.

BECK: Right. Are you working on a new Christopher Guest movie?

WILLARD: No. I don't -- he doesn't call me unless -- you know, a call will come someday and he'll say, Fred, we are doing this movie, and I'd like you to be in it, other than that, I never hear, so I don't know whether he's working on another one or not. And if he is, I hope I'm in it.

BECK: Fred, we will see you in just a little while at the Stadium of Fire for our troops and just a great piece of American celebration.

WILLARD: Great, you're going to love this. I'll hold down the stadium until you get here.

BECK: All right, we'll see you then, Fred. Thanks a lot. Back in a minute.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BECK: Nothing represents American freedom and democracy more than the Statue of Liberty, even if it was, you know, a gift from the French. Holding a tablet in her left arm, baring today's date, the day of our independence, Lady Liberty reminds us we have the right to pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. But in her right arm, she holds a torch, a torch that's been kept burning bright for many years by one very special man. His name, Charlie DeLeo.


(voice-over): When Charlie DeLeo first laid eyes on the Lady Liberty, he was a tourist visiting the statue. And on a whim, he filled out a job application and was hired on the spot. The year, 1972. And the Statue of Liberty had fallen into neglect.

CHARLIE DELEO, KEEPER OF THE FLAME: I used to sneak up to the torch. It was a temporary employee, nobody took care of it, it was, you know, neglected, it was dirty. I use to change the light bulbs, and clean the flames my own. And boss found out about it, and instead of reprimanding me, he gave me the permanent job.

BECK: That job became DeLeo's life for the next 27 years. To date he's the only person to hold the permanent position of Keeper of the Flame.

DELEO: A typical day at the statue for me was first check the lights in the torch and now and then I'd have to clean the golden flame from bird droppings, clean the inside of the super structure, as well. I was like Spider-Man.

BECK: Through the years, DeLeo watched hundreds of thousands of tourists and school kids look up at awe at the statue. He watched as immigrants, both old and new, came to the statue with tears in tears in their eyes. To them, and all of us, she represented what this country stood for.

On September 11, 2001, while standing at the base of Lady Liberty, he watched as the very freedom that this statue stood for, was attacked.

DELEO: I remember I stood in front of the statue and I had tears in my eyes, and I was watching the statue saying any second a plane's going to hit it.

BECK: After September 11, Lady Liberty shut her doors. No more tourists, no more families, no more children looking up in awe.

DELEO: It is like a ghost town. Like once beautiful city becoming a ghost town, that's what I felt.

BECK: Six days later Charlie DeLeo suffered through another attack, this time it was his heart. Sadly, Charlie was forced to retirement.

DELEO: I miss it a lot, but I realize that I did my job for a long time, and now God gave me the privilege being the Keeper of the Flame for 30 years. I can't argue against that.

BECK: When the statue eventually reopened, to no one's surprise, there was Charlie, returning to duty, this time as a volunteer. But now things are different. Since 9/11, no one has been allowed back inside the torch. The vantage point that Charlie once cherished, now lies empty.

DELEO: It's like a diamond taken out of its setting. It'll never be the same.

BECK: And now Charlie believes the statue, the symbol of hope and liberty for all the world to see, sends a message more powerful than ever before.

DELEO: I think she's speaking stronger now, in that silent universal language of hers that she's trying to say to everybody: don't be intimidated by acts of terrorism. We're a free country, and you know, she's still shining. Her torch is shining bright and shes still a welcoming lamp for the whole world.


BECK: Well, that's all for us tonight from Utah. Happy Independence Day, America, and goodnight. I'll see you back in New York tomorrow. LARRY KING LIVE starts right now.