tv Sen. Mc Cain Receives 2017 Liberty Medal CSPAN November 23, 2017 11:35am-1:21pm EST
our debaters. [applause] fabulous debate. >> congress on break for the thanksgiving holiday. when members return on monday, the house will turn on 2018 federal spending. -- funding expires on december 8. also work on disaster relief. the senate continues with judicial nominations, including a vote monday to confirm a u.s. district judge in the district of columbia. the senate is expected to vote on the senate tax reform program, includes oil drilling in the arctic and repealing the health insurance mandate.
tonight, a ceremony honoring former secretary of state and former senator john kerry. president obama and massachusetts senators elizabeth born in edward markey pay tribute. here's a preview. senator warren: think about where we are. as any who follow the news and friendly those who do not, it is deeply worrying about the dangers around the globe -- a nuclear showdown with north korea, destruction of the deal that has prevented iran from already developing a nuclear weapon, russian interference in u.s. elections, the growing andr of china, never-ending war in afghanistan, and on and on and on. people are worried from and they are right to be worried. i want to be clear about this. stronger is a safer, place because of john kerry.
[applause] >> watch the rest of the ceremony here on c-span eating at 9:40 p.m. eastern -- beginning at 9:40 p.m. eastern. weekend, saturday on c-span, former presidential sunday, hows, and your zip code impacts your help. ," christopher bedford on his book, "the art of the donald," and sunday, rebecca fraser and the book, "the mayflower,." saturday, a penn
state history professor on u.s. capitol's heart and architecture. sunday night, the groundbreaking ceremony for the eisenhower memorial in washington, d c d.c. on the c-span networks. >> john mccain is honored with the national constitution center's liberty medal in philadelphia. former vice president joe biden gives the keynote remarks and presented senator mccain with the award. >> good evening, everyone. tonight's ceremony will begin at 7:00. in the meantime, i would like to
take this opportunity to offer some banks and share a few special messages. as you know, the national constitution center inspires citizens as the only place where people across america and from around the world can come together to learn, debate, and celebrate the greatest vision of freedom, of human freedom in human history, the u.s. constitution, and we are honored to educate so many citizens about the meaning of the constitution. it is because of you we can engage in this meaningful work. on behalf of jeff rosen and the entire team at the national constitution center, i want to donors,l of you, partners, visitors, public officials, and our superb board of trustees for everything that you do to bring the u.s. constitution to life. there are some friends of the constitution center who's dedicated support helps to make a night like tonight possible. i would like to invite them to
join us on stage. cynthiaelp me welcome mcleod, superintendent of independence national historical park. [applause] ert, chairman, lu adlert. dan fitzpatrick. william sasso. doug duvoss, chairman of the national constitutional center executive committee. howard schultz, executive chairman, starbucks coffee company. and dr. amy gutman, president of
the university of pennsylvania. so i am sure many of you want to share the program tonight with your friends on social media. we invite you with the #libertymedal. we ask you to silence your electronic devices, and i will give you a moment to do that now. thank you. guests have special recorded special messages for senator mccain. please turn your attention to the screen behind me. >> welcomed. i want to thank you for joining us at the center. a true7 liberty medal to american hero, john mccain. the constitution inspires us with a love of liberty and provides us with a blueprint to live. at the constitution alone cannot secure freedom. in our world, the best and
bravest have put their lives on the line to defend it. as a young man, john mccain did that. in so doing he modeled for all of us a devotion to the cause of liberty. all of us owe him a great debt of gratitude for this invaluable legacy. on half of my company, i join my colleagues at the national constitution center in celebrating the winner of the 2017 liberty medal, senator john mccain. fitzpatrick.'m dan i'm honored to join the national constitution center and all of you here today to pay tribute to a great american, senator john mccain. when we think of senator mccain, we think of two ideals service and honor. from a young age, senator mccain was called to give back. the example applies what he calls the sanctity of personal honor. as a naval officer in vietnam,
as a congressman, and as a u.s. senator, a theme runs through his life -- dedicated -- dedication to our country, the constitution, and the preservation of liberty. today the center this does the two 2017 liberty medal on this exemplary man. trusteef of our ceo and -- i amr colleagues and honored to join you to celebrate this award. it is a great honor to join the national constitution center and arab board chairman joe biden -- and our board chairman joe biden in painter to john mccain. he began his girl as enable officer. in the years he has been honored for his extraordinary terrorism. -- heroism. our constitutional system depends on lawmakers who can put aside their partisan interests
to promote the common good. senator mccain never forgot this. throughout his legislative career, he strove to put his country over his party. thank you for joining me and the national constitution center in conferring upon senator john mccain a richly deserved honor, the 2017 liberty medal. >> in a few moments our show will begin. enjoy. >> good evening, and welcome to the national constitution center and that 2017 liberty medal ceremony. please welcome our 2017 liberty medal recipient, the honorable john mccain.
rosen,scorted by jeffrey president and chief executive officer of the national constitution center. and chairman of the national constitution center and the 47th vice president of the united states, joseph biden. [applause] please rise for the national anthem. performed by midshipmen second-class michael mason and the presentation of colors by the united states army,
philadelphia natural recruiting country, and the naval recruiting district, philadelphia. >> ♪ o say, can you see by the dawn's early light what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? whose bright stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
>> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the president and chief executive officer of the national constitution center, jeffrey rosen. [applause] mr. rosen: ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the national constitution center. it is an honor to welcome you on this meaningful location. -- occasion. as the national constitution center awards the 2017 liberty medal to senator john mccain. [applause]
throughout his career, senator mccain has put his the motion to the u.s. constitution above action or party. he is the kind of independent citizen statesman james madison envisioned when he stressed that the u.s. constitution created not a direct democracy, but a representative republic. madison and the framers of the constitution believed that direct democracies have led in greece and rome to rule by demagogues and the mob. by contrast, in a representative republic, madison emphasized, citizens would delegate power to enlighten representatives -- "a chosen body of citizens whose
wisdom may best discern the true interests of their country and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations." it's especially meaningful that senator mccain will be awarded the liberty medal accompanied by the chair of the national constitution center, vice president joe biden. [applause] vice president biden served in the senate with john mccain for more than two decades, and their willingness to work together on behalf of the united states of america represents a madisonian ideal that is now under siege. today, new populist forces and social media technologies are
balkanizing citizens into filter bubbles and echo chambers, speeding up public discourse in the process. the result is polarizing our media and elected officials and threatening values of thoughtful deliberation and public reason in precisely the way the framers feared. that's why the national constitution center's mission of constitutional education is so urgently important. in april 1988, one year after he was sworn into the senate, senator mccain became a co-sponsor of the bicentennial heritage act, which created the national constitution center. that act gave us an inspiring educational mission to disseminate information about the u.s. constitution on a nonpartisan basis in order to increase awareness and understanding of the u.s. constitution among the american
people. 30 years later, increasing constitutional awareness and understanding is more necessary than ever. it is crucial that we bring together citizens of different perspectives on all media platforms to listen respectfully to constitutional arguments on all sides. we need to empower all americans to educate themselves about the constitution so that we the people can deliberate thoughtfully with each other and choose enlightened representatives like senator mccain. who will deliberate with similar thoughtfulness, rather than retreating into polarized caps. cap's -- camps. the future of liberty and democracy depends on constitutional education. as jefferson said, democracy cannot survive both ignorant and free.
the centerpiece of the constitution center's education efforts is the online interactive constitution. it's received nearly 12 million hits since it launched in 2015. [applause] in you can click on any provision of the constitution using this amazing online tool and find the leading conservative and liberal legal thinkers in america discussing what they agree about and what they disagree about. this wonderful platform is a model for the kind of thoughtful, most the partisan situation that madison considered essential for freedom and democracy in america. with your help, we need to bring it to learners across america
and across the globe. by spreading light and constitutional understanding, the national constitution center inspires all citizens to preserve, protect, and defend american liberty in the spirit of sacrifice and service exemplified by the heroic career of senator mccain. few among us will be called to the life of sacrifice and service that john mccain has devoted to the united states of america, but all of us are inspired by his example. on behalf of the national constitution center, for all you have done to preserve, protect, and defend liberty in america and across the globe, it's an honor to say thank you, senator mccain. [applause] >> john mccain's life has always been about fighting for freedom. >> he's truly one of america's heroes. >> the personification of courage and independence. >> he has what it takes to stand
up, to speak up. >> if you could combine a cowboy with a scholar, that's who you've got. >> john sidney mccain iii comes from a long line of service to country. >> his grandfather was an admiral. his father was an admiral. >> his family has served in every conflict since america's founding. >> it dates back all the way to general george washington's staff. >> senator mccain was born in august of 1936 at the naval air station in the u.s. controlled panama canal zone where his father was stationed. >> my dad had intense admiration and respect for his dad. he was a very small man. 5'4", but his presence was stunning. >> mccain's father was a submariner. his grandfather, a sailor who pioneered naval aviation strategy on aircraft carriers. as a boy, he admits a mix of pride in his family legacy and
resentment that his course seems preordained. >> there was never any other consideration other than he would go to the naval academy, which made him a little bit rebellious. >> when he was 15, his parents sent him to a basketball high school, a private boarding school in alexandria. >> he went around from base to base, it was easy was probably more worldly than the rest of us. >> bruce reinhardt was on the football team and wrestling squad with mccain, and remembers that even as a teenager, mccain was a nonconformist who pushed back against rules. >> the school had a new boy system not unlike what you would find at the naval academy. >> mccain said he was considered the worst rat because he would pick fights with his fellow students, challenged school authorities, and ignored school regulations. >> he earned the nickname punk, and i think he enjoyed that nickname. >> on one hand he could have taken an easy path through life, he was the son of a network, the grandson of an admiral, but he clearly wanted to make his own mark. >> after four years in the naval
academy, mccain was eager to add his own paragraph to the family legacy, with a combat tour in vietnam. >> the call to duty is what they are all about. he not only wanted to go, he asked to go. >> at age 31, john mccain joined the squadron on the uss forestall as a pilot. and it was on the flight back in late july in 1967 that he had his first real brush with death. >> dad was on deck, his plane was going to be the next one. >> a power surge triggered the accidental launch of a rocket across the ship's flight deck, striking a fuel tank. >> there were sitting back there and trying to offload these bombs into the water. they were trying to get the fire out. >> so many men died that day. he rolled off the nose and ran. >> he always says how he is the luckiest guy he knows. i always felt he's the luckiest
and unluckiest guy. >> after surviving, mccain could have gone home. instead, he volunteered for another tour on the uss oriskany, a carrier that suffered it's own fire a year earlier. >> to him it wasn't about being a pilot in a war, he was serving his country. any signed up to do that and he was going to do it. >> three months later, his plane was shot down in a bombing mission. senator mccain: and i found myself falling towards the middle of a small lake in the city of hanoi with two broken arms, broken leg, and an angry crowd waiting to greet me. >> he had broken his arms and leg on ejection. his captors broke his shoulder with smashing blows from a rifle, then dumped them in an empty cell at the infamous hanoi hilton. >> we knew he'd been captured. as we learned later, he came close to death a couple of times. >> he was given medical treatment only after his captors learned his father was an admiral. >> [indiscernible]
>> he was a potential propaganda piece because of my grandfather. and they were trying to exploit that to their advantage. >> his jailers offered him early release and a chance to escape his suffering. >> he said i'm not leaving. >> code of conduct. go home in the order of your shootdown. >> mccain would later learn that the day he was sent home was the day his father was to bei >> thd secure a public relations coup by releasing him back to the states. >> he could've got an out early, he did his duty and did the right thing. >> how many people, given the choice, would stay true to their code, true to their brothers who were there in the north vietnamese prison and refuse to go home. >> i said i must have been a hard decision. it turns out for my dad, it was not a hard decision. rejectingishment for
early release was four days of beating. x they beat me harder then they had ever before. >> cracking his ribs, breaking his teeth, and re-breaking his arm. >> ernest hemingway has this line in old man and the sea, man can be destroyed, but not defeated. every time i think of that, i think of john because of his strong and relentless will live , to serve, and to fight for what he believes in. >> his first two years as a pow, he was placed in solitary confinement. >> it's a test of strength, of human dignity. >> by the time he joined his fed low -- a fellow pows, he weighed just over 100 pounds. his broken arms still useless. >> they put me in a cell with two other americans. i could not even feed myself. they did it for me. those men saved my life. >> the experience changed him from a rebel without a cause to a maverick on a mission. >> you are powerless. you are at the mercy of your captor, and the only thing you hold onto is your ability to the faithful to your country. >> after 5.5 years, he was sent home in march of 1973.
his time as a pow made him appreciate that america's freedom was an honor. with honor comes obligations. he retired from the navy in 1981, and won a seat in congress the following year. he couldn't serve in the military anymore so he went to politics. >> is a member of the house and then the senate, he has been a champion of veterans. >> someone who always had the backs of the men and women of the u.s. military, no matter what. >> and when president bill clinton called for normalizing relations with vietnam, mccain became a leader in the charge. >> one of the two key people, john kerry was the other one. >> he's made 22 trips to vietnam. >> we have to take down every lead with respect to the potential that in america was still being held. >> there is something really striking about a man who spent a half years in a prisoner of war camp having gone back 22 times. >> we visited the hanoi hilton and i will never forget ever the emotion of being shown the cell
in which he spent a fair amount of time. >> he now is someone who's also viewed by the vietnamese as their best advocate in washington. >> family and colleagues will tell you he's still very much the rebel. he has a contrarian streak a mile wide. i'm sure you heard the fiery mccain as an adjective often used to describe him. >> i said those guards watched over you for five years in vietnam are still going to group sessions all these years later trying to recover. >> the same courage that john showed in vietnam, he shows in congress almost every week. >> i remember i was getting some grief from local editorial boards of people because i was going after earmarks and egregious spending. i was on a flight with him and he came back to my seat, he put his finger on my chest and i thought i'm really important. he said don't give up. you are doing the right thing. that has meant more to me over the years. >> senator mccain has been a
role model for those who are younger senators about how to be your own man. >> when he talks, the room goes quiet. people always know something important is going to be said. >> what's so unusual about john mccain is that combination of willingness to be a maverick and the real concern to the effective to make a difference. that is a very rare combination. >> if mccain got his straight speaking style from his mother, -- mother -- >> and affluent dynamo. she is still going strong. >> he got his tireless work ethic from his dad. >> he's a tremendous worker. he always wants to be prepared and ready. >> how he does it physically i , don't know. we saw interns begging i have to take a break because they couldn't keep up with him. >> john came back to the senate right after the diagnosis of brain cancer, advanced -- against the advice of his doctors. >> tough diagnosis to get, but an even tougher guy. >> he's consumed with doing his duty. >> he works like a sailor, he fights like a sailor, he's worth -- he swears like a sailor, and he is one of the greatest
patriots i have ever known. >> he recognizes the need for america to be a voice for those who don't have much of a voice. >> somebody asked him what should be the purpose of american foreign-policy be? and he said i can't think of a better answer to that than the declaration of independence. every one of us on earth is created equal and we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. >> he's always put his country first in everything. ♪ [applause] in >> please welcome the president of the university of pennsylvania, dr. amy gutmann. [applause] thank you. good evening everyone and what a >>good evening everyone and what a -- >> good evening everyone and what a good evening it is , good evening. we gather at the national constitution center to honor a man renowned for among other things, his deep respect for
constitutional knowledge and tradition, and his abiding bipartisanship. two things in such short supply these days, that we all had to visit a museum to see it on display. right? now, in all seriousness, how very moving it is that the career long republican we celebrate tonight, by his is -- he is going to be introduced by his good friend, i'm equally -- and equally renowned democratic senator and united states vice president, joe biden. this is really a momentous evening. such distinctively bipartisan friendship underscores why we so warmly celebrate this year's liberty medal recipient. on the occasion of awarding the liberty medal to this great patriot of our time, benjamin franklin had the perfect words, of course.
for those of you don't know, he is the founder of the university of pennsylvania. after britain imposed punitive restrictions of liberty on the american colonies, franklin declared "they who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." nobody knows the truth of franklin's words better than this year's recipient of the liberty medal. for prisoners-of-war concepts of -- prisoners of war, concepts of safety and liberty ceased to be abstractions. the suffering they experience could defeat all but the strongest of wills. the man we honor tonight possesses such will.
the man we honor tonight exemplifies our society's highest ideals with the deepest imaginable reserve of courage and conviction. he has devoted his life to securing and expanding liberty for people everywhere. we award the liberty medal tonight to a leader who, by virtue of both his ideals and his actions, not only crosses party lines and national borders, he transcends them. he is a man who has focused his life not on the tears that sunder, but on the ties that bind. he is an exemplary american, who routinely forgoes what is expedient to pursue what is just and what is right. our recipient shares with those who have come before him a lifelong devotion to the
ultimate and noblest of human pursuits. liberty. the national constitution center was built to strengthen our pursuit of that shared purpose of liberty. tonight, we are so proud to continue that work by celebrating a national leader of immense distinction. he is a month our longest serving statesman in the u.s. senate. he is a congressman before that and a naval pilot that throughout a lifetime of service -- before that. throughout a lifetime of service to country to, to others, and to his own principles, he has been a warrior. in uniform, he defended liberty. .n government, he upholds it in daily life, he adheres to it. at a time when people's faith
-- institutions and institutions and in many individuals have eroded countless many lookup to the man , we honor tonight. we look to him as a moral voice. straight talking, and upright imperfect and all the braver 48. the light he has lived in spires us -- inspires us and gives us hope, no matter what our party affiliation. serving tirelessly in the cause of liberty, he is above all a person of honor. we see in him what we so fervently desire to see at work at our nation and around the world. , tiedt, we honor liberty to the utmost of courage as we ourbrate and we salute senator and our hero, senator john mccain.
all foru, and thank you honoring this great public servant. [applause] sen mccain: thank you so much, amy. and thank you for your invaluable leadership and collaboration with the national -- thank you so much, amy. and thank you for your invaluable leadership and collaboration with the national constitution center. it's now my privilege to introduce a visionary patriot and great friend of america's veterans. he appreciates what senator mccain and his fellow veterans have sacrificed in providing for the common defense and protecting the constitution. howard schultz is the visionary founder, former ceo, and current executive chairman of starbucks. [applause]
>> as you're about to hear, howard has a special passion for the well-being of america's veterans. in 2011, veterans sparked his conscience about personal responsibility as a result, -- responsibility. as a result, howard and his wife cheri schultz began to educate themselves about the 1% of americans who have served in the u.s. military. in 2013, starbucks pledged to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses in the next five years. when the company met that goal a year and a half ahead of schedule, starbucks pledged to hire 25,000 veterans by 2025. the following year, howard and cheri's family foundation launched onward veterans, which empowers post-9/11 veterans and their families in their transitions to civilian life.
and recognizing that many veterans struggle with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, the schultz family foundation pledged an initial $30 million to remedy and study these afflictions. [applause] >> with the invaluable work of the schultz family foundation, howard and sherry schultz continue to change the narrative about veterans left sacrificed so much to protect america. ladies and gentlemen, for his service to america's veterans, please join me in thanking and welcoming howard schultz. [applause] >> jeffrey, thank you for that warm introduction. vice president biden, senator mccain, ladies and gentlemen, it is a profound honor to stand here before you this evening. i also stand here with immense humility and emotion.
as an entrepreneur and a business leader, i have long known that my life journey was made possible by the promise of freedom conceived by the brave men and women who have far to -- fought to preserve that promise for centuries. never in my lifetime have i been so mindful and at the same time so passionate about the shared responsibility we all have to live up to the ideals in which that promise was conceived. consider what happened right here at independence hall more than two centuries ago. farsighted statesmen of clashing beliefs came together in common purpose. values and rules of law were fiercely debated, while bold yet pragmatic principles informed the creation of our enduring constitution. among those principles was the need for individual and state sacrifice, so the country could
achieve a higher purpose of unity. also among those principles was a call for a spirit of amity, so cooperation and collaboration could bridge ideological divides. our founding fathers were not perfect. but as we sit here tonight, how can we not be in awe of past leaders who invoke such simple wisdoms, despite the complexities of their time. in the same vein, how can we not have immense gratitude or a -- for a leader of our time? for a sailor and a statesman who sits among us now, because his life story embodies the very heroic, virtuous principles of his father, his grandfather, and of our founding fathers. senator mccain, i stand here in of americans' shared heritage and with the utmost respect and
gratitude for you, sir. here tonight, history lives among us. john mccain is one of millions of americans who have sworn allegiance to our country. -- our constitution. he first took the oath as a rambunctious 17-year-old in 1954 as he entered the united states naval academy. he repeated that both -- oat many times when he was commissioned as a naval officer, when he was elected to represent the great state of arizona in congress, and each of the six times he was elected to the united states senate. senator, as a citizen who has admired you from afar, i must believe that every time you took the oath of allegiance to the constitution, you were also pledging your heart to our country. ofe than an oath loyalty, you pledged an oath of
love. with that in mind, speaking tonight has given me an opportunity to further appreciate what it means to love something as you love our country and the responsibilities that come with it. tonight, i would like to speak about such love and responsibility in the context of both our country and senator mccain's life. let me begin with a story we all know. in 1968, john mccain's navy jet was shot down. the force of that ejection broke his right leg and both of his arms. we recall how he was taken prisoner by the north vietnamese. we winced to remember how his fractures were set without anesthesia and the additional damage doctors inflicted upon his body. we asked ourselves what we have -- would we have the mettle, the fortitude, to endorse such pain or the sheer will to survive in such horrific circumstances? these traits alone are worthy of our respect and admiration.
yet it is another part of this story that, for me, showcases the incredible depth of the senator's character. many of you know that our nation's military has a code of honor during wartime. american prisoners go home in the order in which they were captured. those held the longest leave first. less than a year after john mccain was captured, he received a stunning offer. he was free to go home to america. the offer came soon after his father was named commander of the american forces in the pacific. the young mccain knew that his early release would be a propaganda coup for the north vietnamese. he summoned the courage of his convictions and refused his freedom. his jailers warned that if he stayed, he would suffer dire consequences. yet still, this young man volunteered to endure the horrors of torture and the possibility of death because he understood what it meant to love
his country and the depth of sacrifice that comes with it. hearing this story again, it is easy to see a brave, honorable warrior. but we must also see a true patriot whose selfless sacrifices revealed the same duty to country that our founding fathers believed in. in the years that followed his five years in captivity, his love of country manifested itself in another form of public service. in congress, senator mccain's conscience and willingness to put country over party have helped to preserve the democracy we have all inherited. i'm speaking of his long-standing belief to reform the role of money in politics. i'm speaking of his unwavering moral authority to ensure humane treatment of all prisoners of war. i'm speaking of his unyielding support for the brave men and women of our military and his ongoing efforts to ensure they
come home to the gratitude, to the respect, and the opportunity they deserve. i'm speaking of the moments that he has taken great political risk to disturb -- to determine and demonstrate the courage of conviction on the senate floor. most recently, with his boat not to dismantle the up -- his boat -- his vote not to dismantle the affordable care act in haste. [applause] yes, can we hear that one more time? [applause] [applause] >> in reviewing senator mccain's legislative body of work, it is easy to see a maverick. i see a true statesman, like our founding father, senator mccain is a leader willing to put the well-being of the country above his own interests. his love of country also shines in his ability to look beyond
partisan differences. as an example, senator mccain's uncommon friendship with mo udall comes to mind congressman -- comes to mind. congressman udall was a liberal icon, yet he reached out to a young republican from his state as a friend and a mentor. the two men developed a close friendship that lasted until udall's death from parkinson's disease. although udall had once been among the most powerful leaders in washington almost none of his , former colleagues came calling as he's laying ill at a veterans hospital not far from the capital. but it was senator mccain who visited them quite often. senator, you would arrive at the hospital with newspaper clips and you would sit at your friend's bedside, even when he was no longer conscious, and you would read to him. just as he reached out to you in the beginning, you reached out
to him in the end with empathy and true compassion. hearing this story, it is once again so clear of the unique and unusual man we are speaking about, and what a dear friend he was to mo udall. but we must also see a man with a desire to embrace people's humanity, regardless of their politics. this is no small feat in today's vitriolic halls of our governance and the uncivil quarters of our country. senator mccain is a man of strong conviction, but he also embodies the spirit of amity that helped our founding fathers find common ground. leaders of senator mccain's ilk not only look beyond political difference, they also look beyond the past. i ask all of us to reflect back to the physical and emotional horrors that a young pilot suffered as a prisoner of war in north vietnam. now consider where we are today, the united states and vietnam
are nations that exchange tourists, trade, and cultures. this reconciliation would never have occurred had senator mccain not found in himself to extend a hand of friendship to his former adversaries and to work with the -- closely with president clinton and senator john kerry, , tomocratic year -- peer establish diplomatic relations between two countries once at war. his efforts were a model of cooperation and forgiveness. if john mccain was able to look beyond a brutal past, so too, could america. [applause] >> as we recall john mccain's role in our reconciliation with vietnam, we see an impassioned torchbearer of american values. but we must also see a man who was willing to open his heart and his mind with the same foresight and collaboration that our founding fathers called upon
as they designed the country's path forward. it is easy to recount the tales of great men, but it is much harder to follow in the footsteps of greatness. yet every generation needs leaders capable of such feats. our democracy remains a great experiment. all of us must see ourselves as her innovators as well as her protectors. that is why founding fathers never die, they exist in memory, but also in practice. you, senator mccain, you are a founding father of our time. [applause] >> you are a man who fights to preserve a nation with courage, compassion, gallantry, decency, and humanity. every independent state, this mall is filled with americans
who come to celebrate the birth of our nation. millions of others spend the day with family and friends. john mccain, however, has his own deeply held tradition. for 10 of the past 11 years, he has celebrated july 4 with american troops serving overseas. he makes these trips without a hint of obligation, being a -- being among our men and women in uniform is a sincere joy for him. his face lights up, there's a bounce to his step. on independence day, he has said there is no place rather be. those trips, and all he does in service to our nation often keep him from family and home. to cindy and the 7 mccain children, on behalf of all americans, our gratitude for your sacrifice is an extraordinary opportunity to say thank you to the entire mccain family. [applause]
>> in sharing your beloved husband and father with the rest of us, we feel your love of country. senator, you hail from uncommon stock. your grandfather served our navy his entire adult life. your father, jack, entered the naval academy at age 16, and spent 41 years in uniform. both were remarkable wartime heroes. you too humble us with your service. you have worn the cloth of the nations for most of your adult life. yours is an uncommon love and commitment to country, of fidelity to fly with no p are -- peer in modern life. i, captain, mccain iio
the united states navy. recipient of the silver star, recipient of the legion of merit. recipient of the distinguished flying cross. recipient of the purple heart. the united states senator, hero, statesman. senator mccain, there are some who question what this nation has become. they wonder about our commitment to our founding values. our results and our love for -- resolve and our love for fellow americans. perhaps they do not know where to look. looking at the man we honor here tonight, i am comforted and confident in our potential as a united nation to live up to the best of our past, to put forth the best of ourselves and to forge a future worthy of all americans, especially great americans who inspire us like john mccain. thank you very much. [applause] >> the work we do is important.
>> in late july, returning to the senate after surgery, john mccain took to the floor to articulate his philosophy of government. >> we have been spinning our wheels onto many important issues -- on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without health -- help from across the aisle. what have we to lose to work together to find those solutions? >> he told them exactly what they needed to hear. that is the partisanship has to stop. >> he was saying let's go back to the regular order. what does that mean? it means that there are committees in the senate, they have republicans and democrats on them. they work out the problems. of the biggest values john adams to the senate is the memory of how the congress used to operate. when people work together across the aisle, ronald reagan used to say i'd rather have a percent of something than 100% of nothing. i think that's the way he feels. >> he demonstrates a model of service and a desire to make government work. and the desire to make american global leadership.
-- maintain america's global leadership. i think that is worthy of emulation. >> a true statesman of the senate, john mccain has led efforts on bipartisan legislation throughout his career. >> he and i would sit in a room with a gang of 8 -- he led the republican side, i led the -- four hours, -- hours days, weeks each day, days, weeks, and months, his persistence in making sure that we could come up with a bill that would get support of both democrats and republicans was amazing. >> john mccain i found was a man of courage not only i'm vietnam -- in vietnam, but he's been quite a courageous guy in congress. >> we served together for 30 years. we have served on opposite sides. he is a fierce opponent, but also a loyal friend. >> there's no better example than that then his friend with ted kennedy. they would fight like cats and dogs on the floor, but after they were the best of friends. that is what true democracy is about.
>> mccains wife credits much of her husband's legislative success to another maverick. >> when john was a freshman congressman, mo udall took him under his wing. >> mo udall was one of the most well-known members of congress. >> he came to john, and said let's work together. that taught john a great deal. >> we are an important check on the powers of the executive. >> in his speech to the senate, mccain didn't just implore his colleagues to come together, he defended the constitutional role of congress as envisioned by the founding fathers. >> whether or not we are of the same party, we are not the present subordinates. we are his equal, he challenges us in the senate, he pushes us to move past partisanship, to listen to each other and try and do right by the people who hired us. >> he's been a role model and an example for all of us. >> he's a fighter, a warrior, look what is right and what is fair and just. ask john shares that belief that
-- >> john shares that belief that we have to get back to the basics of leadership. the basics of the constitution. it's that respect for our country that is going to allow us to heal wounds, the wounds of the civil rights, the most recent times. >> he approaches every issue -- what is in the best interest of the country? what is the best outcome that can be achieved? to me, that's the hallmark of a great public servant. >> i don't think there's anyone else in america that is more deserving of this honor than john mccain. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the 47th vice president of the united states, joe biden. [applause] >> thank you very much. i'm assuming you're standing because you are cold and you'd like to stretch.
howard schultz is going to come up and repeat his speech. [laughter] >> howard, that was really, really, really good. for real. really good. ladies and gentlemen, i am deeply honored to be here as part of the night, serving this year as chair of the national constitution center board of trustees has afforded me many privileges. none greater than the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary and exemplary service to our nation of my dear friend. my mom -- i met john's mom and he knew my mom -- my mom had an expression. from the time i was a kid, she said, joey, look at me. look in my eyes. i'm not exaggerating. my word as a biden, she said,
look at me. to remember you are defined by , your courage and your redeemed by your loyalty. that was her code. you are defined by your courage, and you are redeemed by your loyalty. courage and loyalty. i can think of no better description of the man we are honoring tonight, my friend john mccain. as i said my mom knew john, and , respected him deeply. johnaid -- as i never told -- she was one of five children from scranton, four brothers all served in the military, all in world war ii. her number two brother -- and bobby casey knows this, because we lived several blocks one another in green ridge -- her number two brother is ambrose finnigan, who still is
remembered in scranton as a leader. he was shot down, and his body papa newr found in guinea. she is to talk about every time something came up about john, how he reminded her of her brother ambrose. she thought ambrose, and she knew john was the embodiment of courage and loyalty. we all know john's story, we have heard it tonight, seen it tonight, you know about his grandparents, his father, how he was called to duty in wartime. his incredible heroism. you know? on october 26, 1967, 50 years ago this month, when his plane and damn, it's- hard to remember john 50 years. god almighty, i was a mere child. i think i was in third grade, i don't remember for sure.
but you know the infamous hanoi hilton. you know -- as you know and you've heard time and again and john knows and still bears the scars of the brutal beatings and the and the damage done to him. after about eight months, you also know about the offer of release. i have had the opportunity as vice president to sit on the stage of the president and confer a number of medals of honor. i'm sure it's occurred, but i cannot think of anyone that i'm aware of -- i'm sure it's given the- who, after knowing -- not having to guess, knowing what it meant to stay in that prison. not having to be threatened and wonder what was coming, knowing what would happen.
given the opportunity to leave, no matter what the code was, imagine. i want you to think about it. imagine it in real terms. again, not having to wonder what he would face by refusing to leave. knowing the excruciating pain and isolation. and he stayed. he stayed. that man, he spent almost five more years in that hellhole of captivity, inhumane conditions. 1967 days. 1967 days. you have all had pain, you have all had suffering, we have all had it in our lives, and our families. you know how sometimes just
getting up one day at a time, just putting one foot in front of the other, and facing whatever that pain, mental or physical. as i said, i've been privileged to meet a fair number of heros in my life. like john, i have been in and out of afghanistan and iraq over 35 times. i've had the honor of printing silver stars on people in the fall of in the upper cone, i have seen these kids, but i don't ever remember seeing someone who's kept his wits and senses about him. i remember when you were released, john, we all do, but i remember i was a senator only four months. it was march 14, 1973, and i remember getting off of that plan, pal. i didn't know you, but i remember that salute we saw here
tonight. i remember how you were greeted and how you greeted me. and how you made no distinction between you and all of the rest of your fellow pows at clark air force base in the philippines. folks seeing that handsome young , flyer who pushed beyond the bounds of human endurance come out on the other side still standing, still proud, as my mother would say, still unbowed. i thought to myself, my god. and i remember talking with my friend ted kaufman. you ended up serving with him. he was my chief of staff. a fine guy. i remember us sitting and watching and saying i want to meet that guy someday, never expecting to be able to do it. we have an expression in the senate, you have to excuse the point of personal privilege. i realize what i'm talking about is personal.
remarkably, john chose to remain in the navy. he had an awful lot of other opportunities, but he had chosen a life of service. and to him, duty always dictated what to do. he stayed. you can imagine my surprise when in 1977, i did meet captain john mccain. senate liaison officer the naval legislative office. i was by far the youngest member of the senate foreign relations committee. and i got an opportunity to travel all over the world. like john, i've met every major world leader without exception since 1976. in the beginning, one of the most consequential days of my career, and we have all look
ed back on our careers, and think of those things and moments that had an impact on how your career moved forward. and not only that -- i not only got to work with john mccain, i got to know him. i got to know an awful lot about him. he got to know an awful lot about me. we traveled hundreds of thousands of miles together, we got to know each other's families. sitting on my lawn in wilmington, having a picnic with his family when he was still in the navy. my son, beau biden. army, purple heart -- excuse me, a bronze star, other service medals he was awarded. he looks at john from the time he was a high school kid with nothing but absolute rock -- raw admiration. my son hunter got to know john personally. they got to talk to him, they
took the measure of the man and they got to learn from him. they really cared about you, john. and i know you know that. john and i would travel the world together. , he said hee jokes carried my bags. the son of a gun never carried my bags. he was supposed to carry my -- bags, but but he never carried my bags. he was a young liaison officer, i was a young senator. whether we were going to germany or china, whenever i went with notable exceptions, i asked john to come with me. and the many of those so-called coattails, congressional delegations, back in the days when we like each other and talk to each other, we used to travel together. democrats, republicans, and our spouses. and many of those, jill with
me as well. she got to know and love john, as well. and i think he loves her, too. traveling together with our wives was a tradition we kept up when john was later elected to the united senate himself. i never saw him just as a liaison officer, i pulled him in, i thought his advice. -- sought his advice. i'd be meeting with world leaders and i got john before i went in. what you think, john? this is what i'm going to say. does this make sense? this is what i'm thinking. he not only became a friend, he became an advisor. later on, i think maybe i served the same role for john when he was taking about running. we talked for hours about the state of the world, specific assignments, about what we wanted to do with our lives. i learned a lot about this man. and then, we talked about what
we are going to do. how we were thinking about what we are going to do. john would talk about maybe he's going to go back to arizona. go to arizona and get involved in politics. and at the chagrin of my democratic friends, i strongly encouraged john to do it. because i knew i knew when he , ran for the house, it didn't surprise me at all that he won. it didn't surprise me when he ran for the senate and won. it just pleased me that we got to serve together, even though that same point of time as john said, camera rouge was elected for the house and came over. that is another story. but it did not surprise me when -- when he sought the nomination for president, because i thought from the
beginning that he had that capacity. i thought in 2000, he should have been the nominee. from my perspective, it all pointed in that direction from the very beginning. remember, i called him after a couple of vicious attacks in south carolina, and i offered to help him. where do you want me? pick the town, the city, the place, and i will testify your character. he said joe, i think that would hurt me more than it would help, but thanks. remember that? withoy, was my team angry me, because i made it known that i was prepared to do it. but i will tell you what did surprise me. i did not expect -- i didn't -- and it caused me some consternation, although i to be picked as vice president and serve with president obama, i did not
expect that some john and i would be on opposing tickets in 2008. once did ince, never ever say anything that was not positive about john during that campaign. aboutr made any secret john being my friend, although i did not talk about it too much -- not as a joke, because it would have hurt him. not a joke. john and i used to debate in the rankings. we would sit with one another, sit next to each other on democratic or republican sides of the floor, and i knew something had changed john, and so did you. you will not remember this, and maybe my colleague will not either, maybe my colleague from delaware would know this, but we and weour caucuses chastised the leadership in both
of our caucuses. while we talking with one another, sitting one another and showing such friendship in the middle of debate? this was after the gingrich revolution in the 1990's. they did not want us sitting together. that is when things began to change. not between john and me, but things began to change. always duty,was honor, country. that is john. john understands what it means to sacrifice for what you believe in. to put the greater good ahead of the personal feelings. saiddent kennedy moral courage in politics is a rare commodity that is encouraged on the battlefield. john has shown moral courage. he is a man who was terrorized, victimized, and abused.
45.5 years. as a u.s. senator, as was pointed out, he joined john kerry in normalizing relationships with vietnam. first, always country first. you know, here is what john said in 1995. she said, "we have looked back in anger at the anon for too long -- at vietnam for too long. i cannot allow whatever resentment i incurred during my time in vietnam to hold me from doing what is clearly my duty. -- my duty. " everybody talks about these virtues. but this is what this guy did. this is not only what he said. duty.
duty. duty. it is the marrow running through that solid steel spine of this guy, and it made him such a formidable opponent and a fierce friend. john and i have been with one another, together, and we have been against one another. as you have observed, neither one of us have a temper. neither one of us lose our cool. but boy -- oh boy. [laughs] >> as i have said, and john knows, even after our toughest fights, john would call me and say, you know, biden should be off the ticket. and then he would call me and say i don't really mean that. , they made me say that. i say that because john and i
have been given several awards for bipartisanship -- and we don't understand why we should get an award for bipartisanship. but i have said this publicly before. i know that, if i called john in the middle of the night and say, i am at seventh and divine -- vine in st. louis and i cannot explain why, but i need you to come now for me, he would get on the plane and he would go. i guarantee you. so would i for him. we have always been willing, we thought the other guy was right, to cross the aisle and lock arms. it is good for the country. the part we did not talk about -- i am not going to take your time tonight, but i want to stated for the record -- john is a man of significant intellect, deep conviction, and unmatched character. if you allow me a point of
personal privilege again, as we used to say in the senate, how much you are an example of service, duty, courage, and italty that inspired my beau is decision as army, national guard, and later a captain, major to give up his attorney seat, turn it over to a republican to get permission to go over to iraq for a year. his unit was going. john, when he received his cancer diagnosis, he also found strength in the courage you have demonstrated throughout your whole life. i am sure that he would not have been surprise at all that after your diagnosis, you took to the senate floor to remind us all, all of us who choose to hold office, democrats and republicans alike, what our
responsibility is. to the nation. response ability that extends -- responsibility that extends beyond ourselves, our parties. we felt that clarion call to duty and you extended it and turned everyone around. you said, what greater cause could we hope to serve than helping america to be strong, aspiring, an international desperatethe liberty, into liberty, the defender of all human beings, and the right to freedom and justice? what greater cause. -- cause? you know that is what it has , always been for four decades. cause? ater i have personally benefited from having john mccain as a confidant, counselor, and
a friend. for even longer, our nation has benefited from john's selflessness and unwavering service. -- to paraphrase hemingway, as with spoken earlier, we grow stronger in all of our broken parts. john, you have been broken many times, physically and otherwise, and you have always grown stronger. what you do not really understand, in my opinion, is how much courage you give the rest of us. it matters. so now, john, with your powerful words ringing in our ears and life ofmple for us, a tireless work to secure the blessings of liberty to the people the world over, it is my
great pleasure to present you with the national constitution liberty medal. ladies and gentlemen, jeffrey rosen. where are you, jeff? [applause] >> thank you, vice president moving andthose significant words. thank you for your service as the chair of the constitution center. it is now my great pleasure and honor to invite the vice
presidents to award the liberty medal to john mccain. ♪ mr. biden i am not going to put : it around his neck because he gets animated and i think it will hurt him speaking. senator mccain, you have honorably upheld the united states constitution as a member war hero, a member of the senate, and as a patriotic leader, and you have preserved, protected, and defended liberty at home and around the globe. for your life and sacrifice, it is the greatest honor to award you the 2017 liberty medal. ♪ applause]d
sen. mccain: thank you, my old , dear friend. thank you, joe, my old, dear friend, for those mostly undeserved kind words. vice president biden and i have known each other for a lot of years now, more than 40 if you are counting. we knew each other when we were young, handsome, and smarter than everyone else but were too modest to say so. [laughter] mccain: joe was a senator and i was a liaison to the senate and my duties included escorting senate delegations on overseas trips, and in that capacity i supervised the luggage.
when no one of lord and was -- lower rank was available for the job, that could require that i carry someone else's bag. once or twice, that turned out to be the young senator from delaware. i have resented it ever since. [laughter] mccain: joe has heard me joke about that before and i hope he has heard, too, my profession of gratitude for his friendship and love over these many years. it has meant a lot to me. we served in the senate together for over 20 years during some eventful times as we passed from young men to the fossils that appear before you this evening. we did not always agree on the issues and we often argued , sometimes passionately. but we believed in each other's patriotism and sincerity. we believed in the institution we were privileged to serve in and we believed in our mutual
responsibility to make the place work and to cooperate in finding solutions to our country's problems. we believed in our country and our country's indispensability to international peace and stability and the progress of humanity. [applause] mccain: and through it all, whether we argued or agreed, he was good company. you all know he is good company. [laughter] mccain: so thank you, old friend, for your company and service to america. thank you to the national constitution center and everyone associated with it for this award. thank you for that video and for all of the generous complements paid to me this evening. i am aware of the prestigious company the liberty medal places me in, and i am humbled by it.
i will try my best not to prove unworthy of it. some years ago, i was present at an event where an earlier liberty medal recipient spoke about america's values and the sacrifices made for them. it was 1991 and i was attending the ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the attack on pearl harbor. the world war ii veteran, at -- estimable patriot, gave a moving speech at the uss arizona memorial. that was george herbert walker bush. i remember it well. his voice was thick with emotion as he neared the end of his address. i imagine that he was thinking not only of the brave americans who lost their lives there on december 7, 1941, but the friends that he had served with and lost in the pacific, where
he had been the navy's youngest aviator. look at the water here. clear and quiet, he directed. one day, what seems now another lifetime, it wrapped its arms around the finest sons any nation could ever have and they carried them to a better world. he could barely get out the last line. may god bless them and may god bless america, the most wondrous nation on earth. [applause] sen. mccain: the most wondrous land on earth, indeed. i have had the good fortune to spend 60 years in service to this wondrous land. it has not been perfect service to be sure, and there were probably times when the country would have benefited from a little less of my help.
but i tried to deserve the privilege as best i can and i have been repaid 1000 times over with adventures, good company, the satisfaction of serving something more important than myself and being a bit player in the extraordinary story of america. i am so grateful. what a privilege it is to serve this big, boisterous, brawling, contemporary, striving, daring, beautiful bountiful, brave, , magnificent country. with all of our flaws, mistakes, frailties of human nature, with them as much on display at our virtue with all of the , rancor and the anger of our politics, we are blessed. we are living in the land of the free, the land where anything is free, the land where anything is
possible, the land of the immigrants dream, the land where the storied past is forgotten in the rush to the a match and the land that reinvents itself and knows the satisfaction of sacrificing for an ideal. the land where you can go from rebellion and from the bottom of your class to your party's nomination for president. we are blessed and we have been a blessing to humanity. the international order we help built from the ashes of world war and that we defend to this day has liberated more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history.
this wondrous land -- [applause] this wondrous land has shared the blood of the finest patriots to help make another and better -- another, better world. as we did so, we made our own civilization more just, freer, and more prosperous than the america that existed when i watched my father go off to war. to fear the world we have organized and led and to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain the last and best hope of earth for some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats then solve the
problems -- [applause] it is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that americans consigned to the ashheap of history. we live in a land made of ideals not blood and soil. , we are the custodian of those ideals. we have done great good in the world and that leadership has had its cost. we have become wealthy as we did. we have a moral obligation to continue and we would bring shame on ourselves if we did
-- do not. [applause] we will not thrive in a world where ideas are absent and we would not deserve to. i am the luckiest guy on earth and i have served america's cause, the cause of our security and the security of our friends. i have not always served it well and i have not always even appreciated what i was serving. among the compensations of old is the acuity of hindsight and i see that i was part of something important that drew me a long, even when i was diverted by other interests. i was, knowingly or not, along for the ride. america made the future better than the past. i have enjoyed every single day of it.
the good ones and the not so good ones. i have been inspired by the service of better patriots than me. i have seen people make sacrifices for people who were strangers to them, but for our common humanity. they were sacrifices harder then what was asked of me. i have seen the good they have done, the lives freed from tyranny, the hope they having courage, the dreams they made achievable. may god bless them, may god bless america, and give us the strength, wisdom, generosity, and compassion to do our duty for this land and the world that counts on us. the world still looks to the example and the leadership of america to become another and better place. what greater cause could anyone
ever serve. thank you for this. i will treasure it. [applause] >> john, congratulations on receiving the liberty medal. you have devoted your life to of fending -- defending the constitution and upholding the values of democracy. we all owe you a great debt of gratitude. >> the life of fighting and defending liberty. >> you are so deserving of this metal. -- medal.
>> a man of passion, conviction, and kurds and his voice and leadership are needed in the senate today as much as ever. i thank you for r voice of you liberty. we send our best wishes to the entire mccain family. >> please welcome the united states naval academy glee club under the direction of dr. cindy . [applause] america, america.
remarks. pres. trump: we spoke to the uss monterey. we spoke to a lot of different folks from the airport and the army, just now. we go live to iraq, live to afghanistan and it is really incredible. our country is doing great. you folks fight so hard and working so hard. you workingo see for something that is really starting to work. we have cut back on so much regulation and the stock market on friday hit the all time high. the highest it has ever been, ever. 401(k), all of the things that you have even if you are in the military, you have a country that has really started to turn. we want to have a strong
country. we want to have a country where i can buy new coast guard cutters and not have to worry about it. we are building up a wealth so we can take care of our protecti on. we are ordering tremendous amounts of new equipment. they have been cutting back for years. it was depleted. now it is changing. ,he navy, we are ordering ships a law of planes, the f-35 fighter jet which is almost like an invisible fighter. -- inasking the air force a fight, they are fighting, how good is this? they said, the enemy cannot see it. i said, that helps.
[laughter] nobody has the equipment that we had. it is sad when we are selling our equipment to other countries but we are not buying it ourselves. but now that is all changed. the stuff that we have is -- always a little bit better. allies, but ire always say make ours a little bit better. keep about 10% in the bad. nobody has what we have. we are really proud of the coast guard. saidked in today and gene the day i got elected, the following morning they were putting up the statement that i made right on your front door. i came in and the first thing i noticed, of course. i said wow, look at that.
i said that you put that up just for me because i happen to be coming in? and you put that of the first day so that tells me something. let's go, fellas. come on. can i beat him in an arm wrestling contest? what are my chances of an arm wrestling contest? i think i would be in trouble. thank you. thank you. look at all these guys, they are in such good shape. keep it that way, it is great.
>> some lawmakers are tweeting this thanksgiving day. north carolina senator richard burrow, i am thankful today for our country's servicemembers serving all across the world, away from their families, keeping america safe. we would not be able to celebrate today without their incredible sacrifices. and massachusetts senator edward markey tweeted, for the first thanksgiving up to today's, there is so much to be thankful for in our commonwealth. i am so think will to serve the people of massachusetts. have a great thanksgiving. this weekend on the c-span p.m.,ks, saturday at 9:15 former presidential speechwriters from president nixon to obama. anthonyy at 6:30, dr.
on how your zip code impact your health. saturday at 9:00 p.m., daily caller founder christopher bedford on his book "the art of he donald." on sunday, author rebecca fraser mayflower." the on american history tv on c-span3, saturday at 8:55 p.m., penn state history professor arthew on the us capitol and architecture. and on sunday, the groundbreaking ceremony on the dwight d. eisenhower memorial in washington dc. former secretary of state john kerry was honored last month receiving the first lifetime achievement award from the edward m. kennedy institute for the united states senate.