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@THISHOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Man, 22, Goes on Killing Spree; Obama Gives Memorial Day Speech at Arlington National Cemetery.
Aired May 26, 2014 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think change will be afoot? Do you think changes needs to come given what happened here and what failed?
RICH MARIANOS, RETIRED ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, ATF: We have to work better with our mental professionals. They have to become more open in these HIPAA laws and have to be cut back with law enforcement and medical perhaps can have dialogue and work together in identifying problems rather than being so worried about lawsuits and their licenses and what's going to happen to them later on down the line if they give up this information. I fully respect patient/client privilege but there's a certain time when we have to get law enforcement involved. We have to get the right people involved in this, the court system, and we have to go in there and take action, instead of, well, I don't know if I can say anything because this is against my patient/client privilege. In this case, could something have been done? I'm not going to arm-chair quarterback, but give the police reasonable suspicion to go there, to stop, question, Frisk and Search. If this case, they would have found the manifesto. They would have been able to find the guns. They would have been able to interrogate the offender and this could have happened. But you cannot do that when there is so much between attorney/client privilege, doctor/patient privilege. We are a lawsuit society that is scared to death to take action and responsibility.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Rich Marianos, thank you for being with us. We appreciate it
You're nodding your head in agreement.
I think agreement from the medical community and law enforcement community. The greater communication and certainly a discussion about the rules here needs to happen.
PEREIRA: The family has to play a part. First line of defense. A lot of that was happening.
So could tougher gun control laws have prevented the killing spree? That's a question that some are asking. We'll look at the possibilities ahead @ this hour. BERMAN: But first, Malaysia getting ready to release raw satellite data from final hours of flight 370. We'll speak to our experts about what we can expect from this data. Do we really think the Malaysians will release everything they have? Stay with us.
BERMAN: You're looking at a live picture of Arlington National Cemetery. A very moving ceremony right now honoring the men and women who have lost their lives in service to this country. This is Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Let's listen to what he said.
CHUCK HAGEL, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: President Obama, Vice President Biden, Dr. Biden, Secretary Shinseki, General Dempsey, Major General Buchanan, ladies and gentlemen, first, I want to acknowledge and add my welcome to the families of our military men and women who are here today and who are watching this all over the world. I want to particularly welcome the families of the fallen who are here with us this morning. We admire you. We are grateful. We will never forget your sacrifices and the sacrifices of your loved ones.
Ladies and gentlemen, I very much appreciate the opportunity to be here this morning in this place as we observe this very sacred, very sacred day in America, Memorial Day. We gather to remember those who sacrificed everything in defense of our nation.
This Memorial Day has special meaning, given that next week marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy, a day that was perhaps America's bloodiest day in all of World War II, a day with more than 10,000 allied casualties. Such a staggering toll is difficult to comprehend. As we commemorate the fallen, I think of the wisdom and humility of General Dwight David Eisenhower. Not long after the first anniversary of D-Day, he said that any battlefield commander, no matter how accomplished or celebrated he might be, would sadly face the fact that his honors cannot hide in his memories the crosses marking the resting places of the dead. They cannot soothe the anguish of the widow or the orphan whose husband or father or son or daughter will not return.
When General Eisenhower spoke those words, our nation and its military were approaching a period of great transition. Victory had been achieved in Europe. The war would end in the coming months. Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines were beginning to come home, get on with their lives. Our country began to ask itself, where should we go from here? Today, as we conclude 13 years of war, the longest in our history, America is approaching another period of transition. As always, these times of change and uncertainty require exceptional leadership. They demand leaders who are strong in the face of challenges, who are wise in the face of complexity, who are prudent in the face of uncertainty, and who are as humble as the courageous individuals they lead.
Our commander-in-chief is one of those exceptional leaders. The president was in Afghanistan less than 24 hours ago. On behalf of all of our military men and women and their families across the world, I want to thank him and his personal commitment to those deployed in harm's way.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm honored to introduce to you now, the president of the United States.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Please be seated.
Thank you, Secretary Hagel, for your introduction and for your lifetime of service from a young Army sergeant in Vietnam to our nation's 24th secretary of defense.
Vice President Biden, Jill, Chairman Dempsey, Major General Buchanan, Patrick Helman (ph), Chaplain Braynard, to our men and women in uniform here and around the world, to our outstanding veterans, and most of all to the gold star families here to remember the loved ones you've lost, Michelle and I are humbled and honor to commemorate this Memorial Day with you. Every year this ceremony marks another page in the life of our nation, this year in particular, as we recognize the 150th anniversary of this holy space, Arlington National Cemetery.
150 years ago, war raged on hillsides and farmlands not far from where we gather today. A nation, ill prepared for war, found itself overwhelmed for the task of burying so many of its sons. So we declared upon this hill a final resting place for those willing to lay down their lives for the country that we love. And on a spring day in 1864, Private William Cristman (ph) from Pennsylvania was the first American to find eternal rest on these grounds. Over that century and a half, in times of war, in times of peace, Americans have come here to pay tribute not only to the loved ones who meant the world to them but to all our heroes, known and unknown, here, in perfect military order, by patriots who won our freedom and saved the union. Here side by side lie the privates and the generals who defeated fascism and laid the foundation for an American century. Here lie the Americans who fought through Vietnam and those who won a struggle against Communism. And here in Section 60, lie men and women who gave their lives to keep our homeland safe over more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Earlier this morning, I returned from Afghanistan. Yesterday, I visited with some of our men and women serving there 7,000 miles from home. For more than 12 years, men and women, like those I met with, have born the burden of our nation's security. Now because of their profound sacrifice, because of the progress they have made, we're in a pivotal moment. Our troops are coming home. And by the end of this year, our war in Afghanistan will finally come to an end.
OBAMA: Yesterday, at Bagram, and here today at Arlington, we pay tribute to the nearly 2,200 American patriots who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan. We will honor them always. Today, in small towns across America, in cemeteries throughout our country and around the world, and here on these solemn hillsides, the families of our fallen share stories of the lives they led. Our hearts ache in their absence but our hearts are also full, full in knowing that their legacy shines bright in the people that they loved the most. Through an almost unimaginable lost, these families of the fallen have tapped a courage and resolve that many of us will never know. We draw comfort and strength from their example. We draw strength from the promise of their children.
Today, Michelle and Jill are with 200 brave boys and girls whose parents gave everything they had in service to their country. They were mothers and fathers, like Staff Sergeant Michael Caldanas, who gave his life in Afghanistan. The years since have been hard for Michael's family, and yet, with the love of their mother, (INAUDIBLE), his three youngest daughters have displayed a strength beyond their years. Mariella (ph), the oldest of the three, has become a mentor to other children who have lost their parents. Marielise (ph), the middle girl, was used to her dad carrying her everywhere when she was little. And now seven, she carries her little sister, Marianna (ph). And Marianna (ph), who was just a baby when her dad was deployed, is starting to understand what it means that her daddy served his country. Mariella, Marielise (ph) and Marianna (ph) are here today. And we say to you and to all of these courageous children, your parents' bravery lives on in you. You will never walk alone. Your country will be there to help you grow up into the young men and women your parents always knew you would be. And that's our pledge to you.
OBAMA: We draw strength as well from the love of the spouses of the fallen. Sergeant First Class Joseph Gant was a young man but already a veteran of World War II when he met Clara Edwards on a train headed to California. He spent two years courting Clara before she finally agreed to marry him. And then when Joseph deployed to Korea, he told his young wife to remarry if he didn't come back. She told him no. He had a hard enough time getting her to say yes in the first place, she said. He had waited two years for her. She would wait as long as it took for him to come home. When Joseph went missing in action, Clara waited. She waited 63 years. Meanwhile, our country continued to work to bring home the missing from all our wars. And then last December, last December, his remains finally identified, Joseph returned home to be laid to rest. Clara never remarried during those 63 years. And now 96 years old, she was there to welcome him home. And we are honored to have Clara Gant here with us today -- Clara?
OBAMA: We also draw strength from the parents who have given their sons and daughters to America. Earlier this year, in my State of the Union address, I spoke of the remarkable story and grueling recovery of Sergeant First Class Corey Ramsburg, who was injured by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. When he stood there in the balcony, it reminded our entire nation that we are blessed to be protected by patriots like him.
Today, I want to close with the story of Corey's brother in arms, the sergeant, who was killed by that same explosion. Rob wasn't a big guy, but his mother, Wendy, remembers that he was larger than life. Always surrounded by friends and melting hearts with a devastating smile. Rob admired the Army from a young age -- dressed up as a soldier the first time he went out for Halloween. He meticulously arranged and rearranged G.I. Joes on his bedroom floor. When he watched the twin towers fall that awful September day, Rob found his calling to serve his country, a proud Army Ranger who took care of his fellow soldiers just as he did his own family. He'd tell Wendy, "Mom, I'm your super man." October 2009, Rob was on his fifth deployment. Rob and Corey were finishing a mission with their fellow rangers in Kandahar and that's when the bomb went off. That's when this American family made a sacrifice the depths of which few of us will ever truly comprehend. In the years since, Wendy's dug deep to find the strength to live without Rob. She keeps in touch with Corey, who she finally had a chance to meet and spend some time with this past week, sharing their memories of Rob. She runs half marathons. She and her husband pour their hearts into raising their youngest son, Logan, who she says wants to be just like Rob, which she knows means she'll probably send another son into military service. Today, Wendy is watching the ceremony from home near Indianapolis on a Memorial Day in America that has been made safe by her son's sacrifice. Everyday, when she looks at the old photo of her and Rob that sits on her dresser, she's reminded that although he is gone, he will always inspire her and will always be her super man.
For the parents who lost a child, for the husbands and wives who have lost a partner, for the children who have lost a parent, this day and this place are solemn reminders of the extraordinary sacrifice they have made in our name. Today reminds us, as well, for these family and their own comrades in arms, their service to our nation endures. There are few who truly understand what it means to send a child into war, or to watch a battle buddy give his life to save others on this Memorial Day and every day, these families and veterans we're sworn to look after. So here on these hallowed grounds, we re-dedicate ourselves to our sacred obligations to all who wear America's uniform and to the families who stand by them always. That are troops who have the resources we need to do the job, that our nation will never stop searching for those who have gone missing, who are held as prisoners of war. That, as we've been reminded in recent days, we must do more to keep faith with our veterans and families and ensure they get the care and benefits and opportunities that they've earned and that they deserve. These Americans have done their duty. They ask nothing more then that our country does ours, now and for decades to come.
OBAMA: The fallen patriots we memorialize today gave their last full measure of devotion, not so we might mourn them, though we do, not so that our nation might honor their sacrifice, although it does. They gave our lives so we might live ours, so that a daughter might grow up to pursue her dreams, so that a wife might be able to live a long life free and secure, so that a mother might raise her family in a land of peace and freedom. Everything that we hold precious in this country were made possible because Americans gave their all. And because of them, our nation is stronger, safer, and will always remain a shinning beacon of freedom for the rest of the world. May God bless the fallen and all those who serve. May God watch over their families. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing for the playing of "Taps" and the benediction.