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A Fallen Soldier's Mom Shares Her Son's Story; Sister of Pres. Kennedy in Critical Condition

Aired August 7, 2009 - 15:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For our comrade in arms, Specialist Anthony Lightfoot. Our nation bestows military honors.


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Our CNN special war coverage. The story of a journey home from a battlefield. unlimited access, an exclusive interview with the grieving mom and war veteran who takes you through it.


SANCHEZ (on camera): How did you find out?

LYVONNE LIGHTFOOT, MOTHER OF FALLEN SOLDIER: I opened the door. I say, what's wrong? What happened? I said, is Anthony all right? Then the chaplain told me to sit down.


SANCHEZ: Is this what her son died for? More angry protests, more meetings interrupted, more signs like this. And, now, this fight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need to open it up to the free markets.


SANCHEZ: What happens when free markets alone control health care?

(on camera): No, no, no. You are playing with the facts, sir.

(voice-over): The interview that's gone viral with a former health care executive encouraging protesters.

Finally, the flag comes down on our national conversation for Friday, August 7th, 2009.

Hello, again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez for the next generation of news. This is, as we like to say, a conversation, not a speech. And as always, it's your turn to get involved. We're going to be getting to this contentious Town hall debates that are going on all over the country and have gotten worse, but first of all let me just let you know what's going on in Washington.

That's Senator Mel Martinex of Florida. Interviewed him many times. Senator Mel Martinez and I being from the same state, we worked together on many projects in the past.

We at CNN have confirmed , we did so earlier today that he is now resigning. It's really not news because Mel Martinez, we all knew, was not going to be asked - was not going for a second term -- it may be surprising though that Mel Martinez is deciding now to go ahead and get out of the race -- that he's not going to seek re-election next year.

Florida governor Charlie Crist has the power to appoint a replacement for Martinez and we know that Crist intends to run for that very same Senate seat next year. It doesn't mean that one person is getting out so that another one can get in - there's no reason to believe that up to now. We don't know who Charlie Crist will appoint. We do know that he's being asked by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, to appoint a Hispanic because he's the only Hispanic in the Senate at this point and has been working on things like Immigration Reform , for example.

But again, we're going to monitor this for you. If there's any surprises that come out of this then we'll turn it around right away. If there's any news that comes out or if any information comes out on who's going to be taking over, we'll bring you that as well.

In the meantime, the story that the entire country is now glued to is this. Since I first told you about this phenomenon, even more chaos has erupted in Health Care forums and last night it escalated to violence and arrest. I want to remind you that hundreds of these forums are scheduled for the month of August. This is a crucial part of the Health Care system and we're now hearing that there may even be some unions that are going to be protesting as well -- or maybe we should say countering these protests.

Let me take you all first to Tampa, Florida, this is last evening a crush outside a Health Care event. It's addressed by congressional Democrat Kathy Castor. Let me just let you listen in and see what happens with this one. As you can see this thing gets heated. Nasty. Some people want in, some people want out. There's a whole lot of shoving. A man reportedly had his shirt ripped apart.

After the hall is filled to capacity, hundreds of people are drawn to the meeting , they couldn't get in. Now as you're able to see if you look at that video, they were extremely unhappy with that as were some of the folks inside who said they couldn't hear, and by that I mean those who opposed the Health care reform. Let's watch this together now.

REP. KATHY CASTOR (D) FLORIDA: If the pushing and shoving keeps happening, we will have to (INAUDIBLE). The police will make the decision about whether it continues to be safe or not. SANCHEZ: And finally after trying but doing so in vain, Representative Castor, as you can see there in yellow, she has to leave under police escort. The situation is out of hand. No one is able to hear anybody else talk. There were however no arrests.

Now, we'll continue, let me take you to St. Louis. Similar event. At this meeting there are at least six arrests, we understand. Once again, scuffling among people who were trying to get in. Health Care opponents charging after being silenced, but by all indications, once again, the hall was simply full.

And there you see some of the video, this changes to night. Now we're going outside. Suddenly some kind of fight is about to ensue and details of that are far from clear but let's take a listen. Let's watch and see what happens.

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Hold onto her. Hold onto that. (INAUDIBLE)

SANCHEZ: It gets loud, it gets crazy, police record six arrests on charges including suspicion of assault, resisting arrest, suspicion of disturbing the peace.

Is this what we should brace for? And perhaps even worse as these Health Care reforms gear up? We do know this. More of the forums are now being cancelled out of fears of participants' safety.

Joining me now from Capitol Hill, Democratic Congressman Brian Baird, he's had to deal with this himself, he's out of Washington State and we understand that you have now decided to conduct or reschedule town hall meetings by telephone conference call Why are you doing that?

REP. BRIAN BAIRD (D) WASHINGTON: Well, Rick, this is something we've planned before these kind of unfortunate incidents that we've just seen. During August we think we can reach more people by telephone, in fact we can do one in about an hour from now, we'll have probably 4 to 5,000 people on the line.

But the unfortunate thing as you've just seen is there's a national movement to try and intimidate people to suppress real discussion and there are actually talking points on websites that say such things as, Don't let an intelligent conversation happen. Shout people down, urging people to get there early and not let people have a conversation. It is a fundamental principle of our Democratic society, people have a right to discuss things but we have a responsibility with that right and that is the listening of the other side that is being denied right now.

SANCHEZ: You know what's interesting and ironic about this, Congressman, is that I understand after reading your record that you've always been a big believer in bringing these conversations to the people. You've held a ton of these in the past haven't you?

BAIRD: Indeed I've had more than 300 of them. About a year and a half ago I was subject to about 5 hours of grilling by 4 or 500 people. But what we're seeing is different. I welcome the opportunity for people to disagree with myself or --

SANCHEZ: Okay, then how is it different?

BAIRD: Well it's different in this way, I think you can see it, when you see the images you're showing. Virtually every town hall I know of is winding up like this right now. Members of Congress are receiving death threats in their offices, I've received them. People are showing up at town halls -- people have hung an effigy or tombstones -- this is a dangerous threat. And it's frankly being orchestrated and I'm afraid some of my colleagues on the other side are throwing gas on the fire. SANCHEZ: Who do you think is orchestrating it and who do you think is giving them the information or the consistent slogans or talking points that they're getting?

BAIRD: Well there are talk show hosts, some have been encouraging this, there are websites dedicated to this and there's internet chat that describes it and you can see it coming. People say, Let's lay in wait for this congressperson, when they show up -- you know it's not show up and have a real dialogue, it's not show up and discuss point A and B about the Health Care proposal, it's Shout them down, disrupt them and then post your video of the disruption on Youtube.

SANCHEZ: So you're on the record now, right? You are not going to have anymore town hall meetings on Health Care until when? Or what, not at all?

BAIRD: Well I think it's important for the American people to look at these images and say to themselves, Is this really where we want America to go? If we can get some public communication to people that says, Look, this is a tremendously important issue. We need to take a breath and have a real discussion. I think all of us want to have Town halls otherwise we're going to be degenerated into mob violence and that serves no purpose other than people who don't want real debates.

SANCHEZ: We got to go but one final question. Are you worried about the fact that the unions are now saying, You know what, if they're going to go out and protest we're going to protest on the other side for the Health care reform. I mean if you get two angry groups like that, something could happen.

BAIRD: This is the problem. People that are reaping this kind of whirlwind are about sow it and I think it can go both ways. We do not want to see this kind of mob action that we've seen thus far on either side and I think it's time for cooler heads to say, Let's settle down and have respectful difference in opinions.

SANCHEZ: Let's hope you're not the only one who says something like this. It would be nice to hear a lot of different representatives and senators as well come out and say words similar to the ones you just uttered.

My thanks to you, Congressman, for taking time to take us through your plans. Now there's the issue of the Nazi swastikas and the Nazi SS logos. They are as hateful a symbol as there is in American discourse, would you not agree? Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters yesterday about these swastikas and her staff gave me an earful after my show yesterday for not confirming what she had said.

Alright here's why I couldn't confirm what she had said. Yeah we saw this video she was referring to with the swastika. But our standards here at CNN are a little different. They don't allow to use pictures from a blog until we're able to independently confirm its validity. So I reported yesterday that we had no proof of the swastikas. Since then we've done some independent reporting of our own, checked the video through or own sources and can now tell you that Speaker Pelosi was correct. This sign, held aloft by a woman at a health care event in Fort Collins, Colorado does in fact show the swastika. To be clear, the Swastika has a strike running through it as if to say, No Nazis.

Still, it's obviously unsettling. And now we're finding out there may be a pattern here. Look at this. Seen Thursday outside a health care forum in Romulus, Michigan. A photo of the president defaced by a Hitler mustache. Now this, see that sign, depicts Texas Democrat Lloyd Doggett as the devil, but to the left of that sign and you see the symbol of the murderous Nazi SS on a sign that says something to the effect Stop Socialism. You see another view of that same sign and notice -- we can see -- the man who's holding it up -- you discover he's holding a little girl on his shoulders as he's holding that sign.

One more to follow, look at this. This from yesterday. A child, Denver, Colorado. Enough said? Well maybe. Except maybe for this. Just a few hours ago the anti-defamation league released a statement calling the use of Nazi imagery into the health care debate outrageous, deeply offensive and inappropriate.

Speaking of offensive, wait till you hear what three police officers in Texas sent out about President Obama, talk about bigoted language. Is a two to four week vacation enough for them? We're going to ask you that.

And today is the day I bring you my special on what happened when a fallen soldier is brought home. From the moment his mom hears that knock on the door to the moment he's actually put into the ground at Arlington National Cemetery. This is an exclusive interview with unheralded (ph) access. We'll show it to you when I come back.

Also, we should tell you that this is one of those stories that will likely stay with you . May even bring a little mist to the corner of your eye as it did to us. Also remember this, the After Show on it begins at 4 o clock, today we will replay the interview with Rick Scott (ph). Stay with us.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. We're getting a lot of comments. Let's check our Twitter board if we possibly can. DieHardCowboy at the very top of the Twitter board there says, "It is equally disgraceful that Republican politicians refuse to call for an end to this behavior." See right there at the very top. In actuality that may not be totally correct. Some Republican politicians have come forward and most notably just in the last 24 hours John McCain has come out and criticized the behavior of the discourse in some of these events -- just to be fair.

One of the points made by many of these protesters is that the government should just get out of the way and let private industry manage our nation's health care. You heard it. They say, Look, let the free markets run it. In other words, let private executives run it. Fair enough. But after doing a little digging yesterday, my staff found out that that philosophy, which we've heard time and time again from these protestors, mirrors sometimes to the word, what's on a website called Conservatives For Patients' Rights. Who runs Conservatives for Patients Rights? A multi Millionaire former Health Care executive himself, who's company, interestingly enough, defrauded U.S. taxpayers and paid the highest fraud case settlement -- 1.7 Billion dollars -- in U.S. history. That is who is heading up that organization- that website -- that many of these protestors are using as their information before they go to these protests.

Here now, part of the interview that has now gone viral that I did yesterday, with Rick Scott.


SANCHEZ: Some would argue, and it would be hard to say they're wrong, that you would be the poster child for everything that's wrong with the greed that has hurt our current health care system. People would ask, why should they listen to you?

RICK SCOTT, CHMN, CONSERVATIVES FOR PATIENTS' RIGHTS: Well, you don't have to listen to me, you should look at the facts and you should read the bills. I mean if you want to go back and look at the HCA, you should level the accomplishment. What Health Care cost when I got into the industry in '88 for 16 percent a year inflation. When I got out in 1997 there were less than 1 percent.

We had the highest patient satisfaction, we had the best (INAUDIBLE) If you were in the hospital business in the late '80s, you went through Medicare investigation, President Clinton expanded the investigations, they said if you made a mistake in your filing, that was called fraud. Not only did -

SANCHEZ: But 1.7 Billion dollars? That's the highest amount ever paid in the history of the United States that your company ended up having to pay as a result of what you did by defrauding the government.

SCOTT: No one went to jail. I was never accused of anything. Think about it. 1.7 Billion dollars sounds like a lot. We had 343 hospitals, 150 surgery centers, over 100,000 patients in a day. Now let's look at the industry, Kleton Clinic (ph) paid big fines, Mayo paid big fines, Yale paid big fines. Are they as big? No. But how many hospitals do they have?

SANCHEZ: But you're the guy sitting here telling us that you can't allow the government to do this and it won't work because it might take over or do some things that are wrong. How much more wrong can you be than what you just said? Not only is your company screwed up, you just admitted to it, but you're saying look at all the other companies, they did the same thing. It doesn't look to me like a sterling system that we have, does it?

SCOTT: That's right, you ought to fix the system. You ought to say, Why do we have 135,000 pages of Medicare regulations? That people work their tail off - the hospital industry to this day works its tail off to do the right thing. But don't believe me. Read the bill.


SANCHEZ: And it gets a lot better and in some cases a lot more heated. We thank him for coming on. We also want you to know that you can see the entire interview -- if not in one of the many blogs that it's already out there on -- on my blog at

Also we're going to show the entire interview -- again the entire interview -- on the After Show right here on /live. See it again right here at 4 o clock after this newscast is done if you so choose.

When we come back, the very latest on a story that we're proud to say we were invited to tell for the sake of a fallen soldier. His mother wanted us to tell you his story. It's emotional. It's touching. We'll take you there. We'll be right back.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT CNN: Well it's no secret to anybody that sedentary habits are more commonly associated with being overweight or obesity and possibly associated with being hypertensive or having a high blood pressure.

Well, what's sort of striking about this study is that nobody seems to be immune. Whether you are underweight, regular weight or overweight, children who watch more than 30 minutes of television a day seem to have a higher likelihood of developing high blood pressure.

Now what the study did specifically say is that they looked at children between the ages of 3 and 9, over 100 of them, and what they found was that children who watched more than 30 minutes of television a day tended to have blood pressure that was 3 to 7 points higher than normal.

Now as you drill about this and try to figure out why, there are a couple things that sort of emerge. One of them is that children, as well as a lot of people, tend to make poor food choices while watching television. They also for some reason tend to get less sleep. Sleep patterns are more disruptive and that also leads to higher blood pressure.

Now another thing is you heard the blood pressure points moving up 3 to 7 points , you thought to yourself, What's the big deal? That really doesn't make a big difference. The truth of the matter is we have no idea how to really monitor blood pressure in children -- trying to figure out how much or how high is the problem. We don't talk about hypertension in children that much. So if you think about this, you think about the scary prospect of 8 year olds who have blood vessels in their bodies that look like 45 year olds, you want and try to keep these numbers as normal as possible for as long as possible.

So it's just another study giving evidence of that.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.

ANNOUNCER: Fit Nation is sponsored by Total Cereal. Are you getting 100%? Go to for ireports and stories on how you can join fitnation.


SANCHEZ: For many years I've been watching the rise of Mel Martinez. We are both from Florida and I've talked a lot about different events in his career as a city official in Florida, as a party official in the Republican party, the highest of all as a matter of fact, as one of the first Hispanic cabinet members of the United States and eventually as a senator from the state of Florida.

Now I'm here to tell you that just moments ago, Mel Martinez stepped to the microphone and announced that he will no longer be a senator from the state of Florida. He is stepping down; resigning. Here is how he explained it.


MEL MARTINEZ, SENATOR: So today I'm announcing my decision to step down from public office effective upon a successor taking office to fill out the remainder of my term. I have enjoyed my time in the Senate immensely. I have the most difficult time of all in leaving the great friendships that I have developed with wonderful people that serve this nation in the United States senate.


SANCHEZ: There you go, by the way we don't know who's going to replace him -- the governor -- Charlie Crist of Florida so far is saying, No, I'm not going to be stepping down and taking the position. Although he has said that he would be interested in taking over Mel's seat sometime in the future. We'll watch that for you, we promise.

LIGHTFOOT: I guess when one person comes through the door, they've been injured. But when two people come to the door, they've been killed -- and two people came to the door.

SANCHEZ: A grieving mother shares with me how she was notified of her son's death in Afghanistan. Next, a special in depth look at a soldier's journey home from the battlefield. This is part of our special war coverage that we've promised you. We've been given unlimited access because the mother miss Lavone Lightfoot (ph) wanted us to share her story with you. It's worth watching and make you a little misty. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back, I'm Rick Sanchez here at the World Headquarters of CNN here in Atlanta.

Now something very personal, very special, something we're very protective of. We've been talking Afghanistan all this week.

During this hour on CNN we promised you we would, we talked about the academic stuff, the diplomatic stuff and of course the policy stuff. Ultimately all of that means very little to tens of thousands of American families who have loved ones in uniform and in harm's way over there in Afghanistan. Forty-two U.S. troops in Afghanistan died in the month of July. That's more than any single month since this war has began. Okay?

I want to show you a picture now. See that right there? See that woman? See that baby? The picture was taken 20 years ago folks, when that woman was a soldier and her son wasn't even out of diapers yet. That baby grew up. His name is Anthony. He'd grow up in fact and join the army to be just like his mom, wanted to be just like his mom. He went to war. She went to war. He was there -- he was there in Afghanistan this last July.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): Lavonne Lightfoot is taking care of a fresh tattoo. It is not complicated, just a name and a couple of dates.

LIGHTFOOT: I got my son's name, killed in action, the day he was born and the day he died.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): What made you decide to do that?

LIGHTFOOT: That was my baby. That was my son. And part of me is gone.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): That part of me that she is talking about is a handsome 20-year-old, whose face in his mother's mind will never age.

LIGHTFOOT: Anthony, he couldn't find a job after he graduated. He put in for a couple of jobs. He couldn't find them. And then he said, "Well, mom, I think I'm going to join the military."

SANCHEZ: He did. First, boot camp. Then, infantry training.

LIGHTFOOT: I said, "Anthony, you don't want to go infantry," and sure as shooting, that's exactly what he did.

SANCHEZ: Deployment to Afghanistan came next.

LIGHTFOOT: The last time I heard from my son was June the 6th. And we used to talk by e-mail. And I used to tell Anthony, he used to tell me, "Mom, I'm OK, I'm doing all right." And he would say -- I tell Anthony, my last words, "Anthony, be safe."

SANCHEZ: Anthony, be safe. What a mother wanted but what war doesn't always allow.

LIGHTFOOT: They told me that Anthony had got hit by improvised explosives and then the rounds went off and then a grenade just shot through the vehicle.

SANCHEZ (on camera): Did they say that he died instantly?

LIGHTFOOT: I'm pretty sure he did die instantly.

SANCHEZ: Is that important to you?

LIGHTFOOT: Yes. He didn't -- I don't believe he suffered. He died instantly, because I was told he don't have his lower extremities. He told me, he said, "Mom, when I get off that plane, I want you there." I say, "Anthony, you don't have to worry about it." And that was a promise. I was going to be there when he got off that plane.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): And she was there when he got off the plane but it was this way. Her son, Army Specialist Anthony Lightfoot, returned to the United States through Dover Air Force Base. Lyvonne Lightfoot allowed us to show you this scene, with her permission, is the only way we would see it.

LIGHTFOOT: Some people may want it private but I want my son to be remembered. I want to share. I feel like my son didn't die in vain. So I don't feel like -- you know, I feel like I need to share this with people so they will know.


SANCHEZ: That picture you just saw, that man, that's Anthony Lightfoot, dead in Afghanistan at the age of 20.

When we come back, the mother who you just met, who you were just hearing from, with a warrior son overseas -- here's a knock on the door and she takes us through and as her life changes forever.


LIGHTFOOT: I opened the door and I said, "What's wrong? What happened?" I said, "Is Anthony all right?" And then, the chaplain told me to sit down.


SANCHEZ: The news was bad and she heard it the army way, face- to-face. I'm going to talk to her. I'm going to show you the pictures and I'm going to talk to the sergeant who delivered a message on behalf of the secretary of defense. That's part two -- next.


SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back. I'm Rick Sanchez.

A minute ago you saw me speaking to a mother who buried her son this week at Arlington. Lyvonne Lightfoot did something for me, she did something for CNN that we think has not been done on television. She allowed our cameras into her life at this painful time, wanted us to be there in order to share her son as he returned to the United States in a flag-draped casket. Those are her words, by the way, share my story.

By the way, look at this picture. That's Lyvonne Lightfoot in her former life, as a career soldier in the U.S. Army and she's a gulf war veteran. But 22 years in uniform did nothing to prepare her for the day last month when two soldiers in uniform came and knocked on her door. That's where this part of the story begins.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): July 20th, this year, Lyvonne Lightfoot's 20-year-old son, Anthony, was dead in Afghanistan. One of those improvised explosive devices killed him and three others in his unit. The army knew. Lyvonne Lightfoot didn't know yet. She was about to be notified officially.

(on camera): What was it like going to the door and have...

(voice-over): A military chaplain accompanied by Sergeant First Class Alicia McCrae was coming to her door, because the army has a rule: This is news that parents must get face to face.

LIGHTFOOT: I found out when they came and knocked on my door.

SANCHEZ (on camera): Did you arrive in uniform?




LIGHTFOOT: I was looking at TV in the kitchen with the kids, my grandchildren.

MCCRAE: I was kind of shaking myself.

SANCHEZ: What do you say, "I am Sergeant McCrae"?

MCCRAE: Yes, and introduce myself.

LIGHTFOOT: Somebody knocked on the door. And I said to myself, now, who was this? It was -- who was this, because I don't really go nowhere. I look at TV with the grandkids.

SANCHEZ: I'm here to tell you...

MCCRAE: I don't remember exactly what I said.

LIGHTFOOT: Then, I saw two people in uniform. Sergeant McCrae and a chaplain. Then, I open the door. I say, "What's wrong? What happened?" I said, "Is Anthony all right?"

SANCHEZ: And that's how you told her.


SANCHEZ: When they first came to the door and you saw them, you immediately knew there was something wrong?

LIGHTFOOT: Right, because when they first came to the door, they asked me was my name Lyvonne Lightfoot and I said, yes. I guess, they say, when one person come to the door, they've been injured. But when two people come to the door, they've been killed. And two people came to the door.

MCCRAE: It is the most difficult thing that I have ever experienced in my life.

LIGHTFOOT: I think Sergeant McCrae, felt the same, she -- for a minute, she couldn't say anything.

SANCHEZ: How difficult is it to tell someone that someone they love has died?

MCCRAE: I'm thinking of my own child as I walk into her house.

SANCHEZ: It's that painful?

MCCRAE: I mean, that was, yes.

LIGHTFOOT: And then the chaplain told me to sit down. When he told me to sit down, I knew.

SANCHEZ: How do you say it?

MCCRAE: How do I say it?

SANCHEZ: How do you tell someone that they've lost a son or daughter?

MCCRAE: That's one difficult thing to do, sir.

LIGHTFOOT: They told me that Anthony had passed and I still can't really believe it but...

SANCHEZ: This is the first time you have ever had to tell a mother that her son died.

MCCRAE: Exactly. Yes.

LIGHTFOOT: I mean, it just -- I don't know. I just went out -- in my mind, I went out. I was in denial. I didn't want it to be my son.

SANCHEZ: How was she when you told her?

MCCRAE: How was she?

SANCHEZ: How did she react?

MCCRAE: She was distraught. That took everything out of her.

LIGHTFOOT: I thought they made a mistake. I was hoping that it was a mistake. I didn't think it really was Anthony. There was some way or another they could have just had a mistaken identity. But I didn't believe it.


SANCHEZ: And look at the reaction we are getting so far from people who are watching this story. Go to our Twitter board if we possibly can.

"I am honored that she let's me see the burial of her son and that she lets us share her story." Underneath that it says, "She is a hero for sharing this important but personal story with the nation. Anthony's sacrifice was for all of us. So, thanks." And finally, "Hey, Rick, the Lightfoot story is making me cry. Bring our troops home."

When we come back, Anthony Lightfoot's mother grieving, allows you to see her son laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.



SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Army Specialist Anthony Lightfoot was one of 42 American service members killed in Afghanistan during the deadliest month there yet. He was only 20 years old. Tuesday afternoon, he was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

I am about to show you the cemetery -- the ceremony, I should say. It is special, because Anthony's mother wanted you to see it. She asked us to come along, to respectfully photograph it.

Please watch and listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are more than 300,000 memorials here at Arlington and each one represents the story of a life of service and sacrifice. And each one has earned the right to be laid to rest in this sacred place. That could not be more true than for us today as we have come to honor the life and service of Specialist Anthony Lightfoot.

SANCHEZ: People all over the country are going to listen to you and they are going to probably want to hug their kids a little closer. If you can capture the words, what's it like to lose a son?

LIGHTFOOT: It's horrible. It makes you feel empty. I'm just empty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For our comrade in arms, Specialist Anthony Lightfoot, our nation bestows military honors. In life, we honor the flag, and today, in death, the flag will honor him.

SANCHEZ: Do you believe he died doing something honorable?

LIGHTFOOT: Yes. But that's the way that Anthony was.

SANCHEZ: He wanted to be a soldier.


SANCHEZ: And then, so doing, he lost his life as a soldier.

LIGHTFOOT: He was a part of something. I read a little note he had left and he wanted to be a soldier. And he kind of got familiar with it. He liked it. He liked being with the other soldiers. He liked what he was doing.


SANCHEZ: Because of your graciousness in allowing us to film this experience, hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, will watch as your son is interred in Arlington National Cemetery. What do you want them to think as they are watching that scene?

LIGHTFOOT: What I would want people to think when they watch this is that you cannot hold your children back from doing something that they feel may be right for them at the time. That's something you just have to hope and pray that everything goes all right for them.

I'm a grieving parent, but also, I'm willing to share my son with everybody, because he made an ultimate sacrifice. He really did.

SANCHEZ: Will Americans who watch your son being buried at Arlington National Cemetery become better citizens or better (ph) persons who viewed this?

LIGHTFOOT: I hope so, I hope so. Because all this turmoil and animosity that's going on in the world, I really hope so. It will help everybody be better citizens and be kinder to each other.


SANCHEZ: I don't think I can express my condolences and gratitude enough to the Lightfoot family for letting us share with them these painful and some -- these life-changing moments. Lyvonne Lightfoot told me that she hurts but she knows that in time it will pass. I am indebted to her. As all of us may be indebted to her and her son, Anthony, as well.

But because he is gone, can you do me a favor? In his name, next time you see a soldier or a marine, tell them what we couldn't tell Anthony. In fact, do this for Anthony's sake. Say, "Thank you for your service."


SANCHEZ: News about a Kennedy, reporting that Eunice Kennedy Shriver is in critical condition at a Massachusetts hospital. We're told her family is by her side. There she is -- actually, Maria Shriver.

She is the mother of California's first lady, Maria, sister of President Kennedy and Senator Ted Kennedy, who has also been in poor health, as we've been following, as a result of a brain tumor recently. And we should also tell you she was married to Sergeant Shriver. Sergeant Shriver, as you recall, ran for president once, and she was also known for being the person who founded and started the charity that I've been very much tied to in my life, which is Special Olympics. So, there you have it.

Maria Shriver's mom, Eunice Shriver, has just been taken to the hospital in critical condition, at Massachusetts hospital. Family's at her side. As we get more information, we're going to be sharing it with you.

You know the dad that I've been checking in with this week, Louis Haros. He's the guy who out-and-out refused to take down that tattered American flag until his son, Corporal Paul Haros, returned home safely from Iraq? All his neighbors were upset with him. They said take down the flag, they even gave him a brand-new flag to put up but he wouldn't do it.

Well, guess what? It finally happened yesterday. The flag came down because the son came home.

And there it is. It's the moment that we were waiting to see. It's finally over. The flag is down. That's his son.

This is a cool moment right here. Watch this. As a result of our story, it turned into a ceremony. People from all over the area came, as did other soldiers, and there's the brand-new flag finally going up and the neighbors will frown no more. Great stuff.




SANCHEZ: Just say no. Angry protests over health care. It's enough to drive your blood pressure up and send you to the hospital. Oh, wait. But there won't be any health care then.

Carlos Mencia will take his rare breed of humor to everything going on and politics as well. It's Friday. It's time for the mind of Mencia. He joins us next.

Carlos, are you good?


SANCHEZ: Fantastic. I love the salute.

We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Carlos Mencia is joining us now. Hey, he's a Hispanic. You know, it's interesting. I just got a -- I just got this call from Bob Menendez, he called my staff, he said that Mel Martinez is not the only Hispanic in the Senate because Bob Menendez is the Hispanic. I meant to say Mel Martinez was the only Hispanic Republican in the Senate, because, you know, Bob Menendez is Hispanic, too, and -- but you know what they're saying.

They're saying, Carlos, that they'd like some fresh new blood in the Republican Party. What do you think?

MENCIA: Really?

SANCHEZ: Yes. Are you running?

MENCIA: Are you in? I'm in. I'll do it.


SANCHEZ: You'd be -- you know, I'd love to see you on the Senate floor. Hey, they already got a comedian.

MENCIA: The party couldn't get any worse, Rick. You know what I mean? I couldn't do anything worse in the party than what's going on.


MENCIA: I mean, their leader is Rush Limbaugh already. You know, why can't I? I can do this. I can do this.

SANCHEZ: What do you think of all these protests that have been going on? Have you been watching this stuff?

MENCIA: You know, I think the protesting, this part, the talking part, is great. That's what America is all about. I mean, you just did a story about soldiers and them passing away, and that's what they're fighting for, you know, people's rights to, you know, have voices and for those voices to be heard.


MENCIA: I think when it gets violent, it's just like -- it's ironic that it's getting violent and people are ending up in the hospital having to go to this system that they're protesting about in the first place. That's hysterical. They're going to come back -- they're going to come back and say, "Oh, my God, it needs fixing. There's something totally wrong with this. I was in the waiting room for hours and hours" and it's, like, that's the point. That's why we're all trying to figure this out.

SANCHEZ: Do you think...

MENCIA: You know, personally...

SANCHEZ: No, go ahead. Go ahead.

MENCIA: Well, personally, I just want everybody to understand where I'm coming from. I have unbelievable health care from SAG, after -- and the WGA. So, personally, people like me, we have great health care. The rest of, you know, America are the people that, you know, have to go and wait.

And it does need to be fixed, but this violence is crazy. I mean, when I was younger, I remember we used to make fun of these Japanese, you know, game shows where people fell and flipped over.


MENCIA: And now, we have those game shows. Yes used to make fun when we used to -- every once in a while you guys would put on a story of look what happened in Venezuela, and then they would start fighting in the Senate. And we're becoming that country now. We're literally becoming the butt of our own joke, like we -- instead of being in this great country and saying, listen, don't fight, this is how we're supposed to deal, this is what democracy is all about...


MENCIA: We're becoming those countries. It's crazy.

SANCHEZ: Yes. We're suddenly -- you look up and see -- you look in a mirror and you see the Taiwanese parliament. You got a problem.

MENCIA: Exactly. All of a sudden people in Taiwan are like -- look at the American people. They fight. They cannot talk anymore. Look at them. And no kung fu. It's a hysterical.



MENCIA: Not even good fighters.

SANCHEZ: Do you think a lot of this still has to do with the resentment of President Obama for reasons that are actually quite simplistic as far as some people see it in this country?

MENCIA: Well, look, the problem is this: information in the hands of stupid people is bad. And I listen to talk radio. But I understand that that's a very small segment of society. I watch the news understanding that it's the news and, you know, people are reporting what they need to report.

The problem is, is that, you know, somebody listens to a conservative talk show host and they go -- oh, my God, he said that everything's going to die...


MENCIA: ... and the birds are going to die and we're going to die! What do we do?

And, you know, they're out there saying, you got to do and people that don't get, they're sensationalizing this.

SANCHEZ: Yes, that conservative talk show host is flying his jet after he's done with his plane and probably can't remember what he said.

MENCIA: Exactly.


SANCHEZ: Not to mention -- not to mention the liberal talk show host the same, right? But, yes, maybe take them a little seriously.

Hey, man, hermano, good to see you. We're out of time. We're out of time.

MENCIA: Love you, baby.

SANCHEZ: Good to see you. See you next time.

Here now: from Carlos Mencia to Wolf Blitzer.

Have a great weekend, everybody.