"I come from a military family — my father fought in World War I and my brother fought in both theaters in World War II. I have personally taken up arms in defense of our great nation and I was proud to do so. Serving my country in this way taught me discipline — to focus my work ethic, fight for what I believe in, and to never give up," Rep. Ralph Hall tells Inside the Beltway.
The Texas Republican, 91, is one of two World War II veterans in Congress, and he has not lost his affection or respect for fellow vets, particularly on Memorial Day.
"My home district in Texas is home to over 60,000 veterans, and I am honored to represent them and to fight on their behalf in Washington. Our military veterans exemplify the hard work, discipline, and patriotism that built this great nation. The freedom we all continue to enjoy today is a result of our servicemen and women's courage and commitment. For their sacrifice, our troops and veterans deserve our deepest gratitude and utmost respect," Mr. Hall observes.
NAMES TO REMEMBER
It is a first. The names of the 6,790 American troops killed in action since 9/11 will be read, one by one, by 457 Americans on Saturday at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall. The human voice is a visceral part of the event.
"By reciting their names at this revered memorial, we are also linking them to the sacrifices and heroism of those who fought in generations past. More than letters on a page or etchings on a Wall, it is the memory of their actions that sustains us, and we must never forget their courage and their sacrifice on our behalf," says Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Among the many heavyweights who support the event: Secretary of the Army John McHugh; retired Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; retired Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, another former JCS chairman; and House Speaker John A. Boehner.
"In the years following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the men and women of our armed forces have risen mightily and repeatedly to the challenge, demonstrating to the world the extraordinary character, strength, and ability of the American military. They are America's best," says Mr. Boehner.
The "Reading of the Names" was organized by Jan C. Scruggs, founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, and members of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. It has the support of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and American Gold Star Mothers, among many organizations. See this event live, beginning at 9 a.m. ET at VVMF.org
A CAFE TOO FAR
"A bar and grill by any name on top of burnt fire trucks and human ashes is just plain gross."
New York Post food critic Steve Cuozzo, reacting to news the 80-seat "Pavilion Cafe" will open inside the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, to feature "comfort food" and vegetarian fare.
THE WHITE HOUSE MEDIA
Broadcasters are still leery of reporting White House difficulties. Take coverage of the now universally known "VA scandal" compared to the intense notice given a certain New Jersey governor, for example.
In nearly 41/2 weeks, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows offered 110 minutes to reports of the Obama administration scandal that ultimately denied veterans proper medical treatment, says Scott Whitlock, a Media Research Center analyst.
"Back in January, it took those same network shows just four and a half days to churn that much coverage for Chris Christie's Bridgegate," he says.
"Members of the United States military dying due to lack of adequate medical care is an outrage and should have received more coverage than the details of an intentionally-created traffic jam. Both are scandals that should be covered. But one involves the Democratic president of the United States and the other involves a potential 2016 Republican candidate," Mr. Whitlock concludes.
ABORTION: EVOLVING NUMBERS
A noteworthy update regarding national attitudes on abortion. In 1996, 56 percent of Americans reported they were "pro-choice" and 33 percent were "pro-life," says a new Gallup report. The numbers are now 47 percent pro-choice and 46 percent pro-life. And the current partisan breakdown: 27 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats are pro-choice; 69 percent of Republicans and 28 percent of Democrats are pro-life.
A MCCAIN RECALLS A PALIN
"As you look back, did your father make a mistake on Sarah Palin?" Larry King asked Meghan McCain on Thursday night on "Politicking," the veteran broadcaster's interview show that airs on OraTV and RT America.
"No, I don't believe so. I think my father could have had Jesus Christ as his running mate and it wouldn't have mattered I wish the media had been easier on her during that time, or at least more understanding," replied the daughter of Sen. John McCain, recalling his 2008 White House bid.
THE 'YOUNG GUNS' TAKE AIM
Four years ago, a trio of Republican congressmen — Reps. Eric Cantor of Virginia, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Kevin McCarthy of California — penned a book called "Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders," meant to remind addled Republicans that, yes, there were new ideas afoot on the political landscape.
"Young Guns" has since become a demographic of sorts. Witness the YG Network, a policy-minded nonprofit that joined forces this week with the American Enterprise Institute and four lawmakers to parse out "practical, conservative domestic reform solutions." The aforementioned Mr. Cantor, plus Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Tim Scott of South Carolina, manned the discussion panels.
Out of it comes "Room to Grow: Conservative Reforms for a Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class," a 120-page e-book full of thoughtful essays. Download the book for free at YGnetwork.org
WEEKEND REAL ESTATE
For sale: The Robbins-Anderson Saltwater Farm, built in 1795 near South Thomaston, Maine. Five bedrooms, one bath, 3,478-square-feet of living space on five acres; Georgia and Federal style architectural details, central staircase, original door hardware and woodwork, expansive views of the St. George River, adjacent to a 750-acre wildlife management area, suitable for organic farming. "The purchaser must demonstrate that they can proceed with rehabilitation." $85,000 through MainePreservation.org, under "revolving fund" heading.
POLL DU JOUR
• 71 percent of Americans say it "wouldn't matter" one way or the other to if a presidential candidate were female; 74 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of Democrats agree.
• 19 percent overall say they would be more likely to vote for a female candidate; 10 percent of Republicans and 30 percent of Democrats agree.
• 9 percent overall say they would be less likely to vote for a female candidate; 15 percent of Republicans and 5 percent of Democrats agree.
• 55 percent of Americans overall say it "wouldn't matter" one way or the other if a presidential candidate was over 70; 61 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of Democrats agree.
• 6 percent overall say they would be more likely to vote for someone over 70; 5 percent of Republicans, 5 percent of Democrats and 7 percent of independents agree.
• 36 percent overall say they would be less likely to vote for them; 32 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,501 U.S. adults conducted April 23-27 and released Wednesday.
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