DOJ seeks to prevent Judicial Watch from deposing Hillary Clinton
POSTED AT 8:41 PM ON MAY 27, 2016 BY JOHN SEXTON
Earlier this month, Judicial Watch asked a federal court for permission to depose Hillary Clinton in one of two ongoing lawsuits involving her private server. Thursday afternoon the Department of Justice weighed in on the side of the State Department, saying Judicial Watch’s request was too broad and would duplicate effort already underway in another case. The Hillreports:
In the government’s filing late Thursday, the Justice Department said that Judicial Watch’s request is “overbroad and duplicative.”
Instead, it claimed, the group should complete the depositions in the other case first before demanding an interview of Clinton and the other officials.
However, the department did say that it would not oppose a request to subpoena Jake Sullivan, a former senior State Department official and current top aide in Clinton’s presidential campaign, as long as questions were “on the limited topic” of officials using personal email accounts at the department.
The full document filed with the DC District Court is available here. State is not asking the judge to rule out a possible future deposition of Hillary Clinton, rather it is saying that argument should be put off until current depositions are complete:
After the resolution of the above-described discovery and the discovery in Civil Action 13-1363, Judicial Watch may choose to seek the Court’s permission to conduct additional discovery concerning clintonemail.com, if necessary, and State reserves its right to object. Awaiting the completion of those proceedings puts the Court and the parties in the best position to judge what “additional . . . discovery” would be needed to determine “whether the search conducted here reasonable produced all responsive documents.”
One interesting aspect of the development of this case is mentioned in the current brief. The government is arguing that its efforts to produce documents in response to FOIA requests were sufficient, even though clintonemail.com was not searched, precisely because Clinton’s private server was set up outside of State’s control:
Plaintiff did not take issue with the searches that State had already conducted, and made no effort to discredit the sworn declaration describing those searches that accompanied the Department’s motion for Summary Judgment. Rather, Judicial Watch alleged a need to “understand . . . the facts and circumstances surrounding Mrs. Clinton’s . . . [and] other officials’ use of ‘clintonemail.com’ accounts,” Pl.’s Reply in Supp. of Mot. to Allow Time for Limited Disc. Pursuant to Rule 56(d) at 10 (“Pl. Reply”). In other words, Plaintiff sought discovery not about the searches that State conducted, but about searches that it claims State should have conducted of records that it did not have.
Well, it does seem reasonable to ask why Clinton’s only email account is not searched in a request for Clinton’s emails. Obviously the judge agreed. And yet, there’s a certain element of truth to the implicit objection here. How could State be responsible for information on a server set up outside their control? That question puts a spotlight on Clinton’s decision to use a private server in the first place. It’s certainly fair to ask if this lack of availability to FOIA is exactly why she set this up in the first place.
By Pam Geller: Further proof of what my colleagues and I have warned of for months.
There have already been jihadis discovered among the refugees. There will be many more. Why are the Democrats importing our assassins? How many Americans have to die for this country to turn their back on the party of treason?
The Lebanese education minister said there are 20000 active jihadists among the refugees in his country. The Islamic state said last February that they would be sending 400000 refugees into Europe.
Islamic state has called for the killing of civilians in the US and Europe. Why are we allowing them to come when Christians are dying in the hundreds of thousands?
Disclosure: Another 41 Foreign-Born Individuals Snagged On Terror Charges
Obama administration withholds details as more attacks occur
BY: Adam Kredo, WFB, January 8, 2016
Following the discovery of a terrorist cell in Texas allegedly operated by an Iraqi who entered the United States as a refugee, the Washington Free Beacon has learned of an additional 41 individuals who have been implicated in terrorist plots in the United States since 2014, bringing the total number of terrorists discovered since that time to 113, according to information provided by Congressional sources.
Since August, however, the Obama administration has stonewalled Congressional efforts to obtain more detailed immigration histories of these individuals, prompting frustration on Capitol Hill and accusation that the administration is covering up these histories to avoid exposing flaws in the U.S. screening process.
The disclosure of these additional 41 individuals linked to terror operations—many already identified as immigrants, others’ immigration histories shrouded in secrecy—has stoked further concerns about flaws in the U.S. screening process and is likely to prompt further congressional inquiry into Obama administration efforts to withhold details about these suspects, sources said.
As the number of legal immigrants connected to terrorism continues to grow, the Obama administration has sought to quash congressional inquiries and rally its allies behind an effort to fund efforts to boost the number of immigrants and refugees from the Middle East.
Many of these immigrants have been caught by authorities planning terrorist attacks on American soil, while others were found to be involved in efforts to provide funding and material to ISIS, according to an internal list of migrant terrorists codified by congressional sources and viewed by the Free Beacon.
“A growing number of foreign-born terrorists are being identified operating within the United States, and yet the Administration will not provide any information about their immigrant histories,” said one senior congressional source apprised of the issue. “And one can only imagine that for every identified terrorist, there are many more individuals around them who are radicalized, extreme or otherwise detracting from American society in ways beyond the threat of terrorism alone.”
As congressional calls for increased screening methods go mostly ignored, local authorities are dealing with an uptick in terror-related crimes committed by legal immigrants.
On Thursday, the Justice Department accused two Iraqi refugees legally in the U.S. of conspiring to provide support to ISIS.
Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, a 24-year-old Palestinian born Iraqi refugee who had been living in Texas, was charged with aiding ISIS. The man had been granted legal permanent residence in Houston in 2011, though it was later determined that he “swore untruthfully on his formal application when applying to become a naturalized U.S. citizen,” according to the Justice Department.
Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, also a Palestinian born Iraqi, allegedly “traveled overseas to fight alongside terrorist organizations and lied to U.S. authorities about his activities,” according to the Justice Department
Al-Jayab entered the U.S. as a refugee in 2012 and later travelled back to Syria, where it is believed that he resumed “fighting with various terrorist organizations,” according to the charges.
Late Thursday, a Philadelphia police officer was reportedly ambushed by an assailant sporting “Muslim garb and wearing a mask,” according to local reports.
Additional information viewed by the Free Beacon outlines another 20 previously unknown individuals brought up on similar terrorism-related charges in 2015 alone.
Those who have been charged were legally residing in the U.S. after entering from countries such as Egypt, Uzbekistan, Albania, Pakistan, and Syria, according to information provided by Congressional sources.
Something is wrong with Illinois democracy. Beyond the budget battle, the Land of Lincoln has failed to create enough decent jobs, failed to provide quality care to the state’s most vulnerable residents, and has shackled its children to debt they can never pay.
Contrary to what many people may think, this is not a bug within Illinois’ legislative process. Rather, it is a feature of House Speaker Mike Madigan’s iron grip over it.
In his role as House speaker, a position he has held for 31 of the past 33 years, Madigan has used many of the General Assembly’s administrative rules to eliminate meaningful debate and maximize his power. His ousting of effective, open democracy has harmed Illinoisans of all political stripes.
The House Rules Committee is Madigan’s golden goose.
When a state representative introduces a bill, it goes to the House Rules Committee. The Rules Committee is then supposed to assign the bill to a relevant committee for further discussion.
If only it were so simple.
Instead, Madigan hoards bills in the Rules Committee, which is chaired by his longtime second-in-command, state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie. Nothing moves until Madigan gets what he wants. Any bill challenging the speaker’s power, no matter how popular, is as good as dead.
In the current General Assembly alone, reforms on term limits, redistricting and constitutionally protected pension benefits have all been killed in the Rules Committee. Two amendments limiting the number of years a lawmaker can serve as speaker met their end in the Rules Committee, too.
Broad property-tax reform is another popular victim. That’s unsurprising, given that Madigan makes a fortune helping Chicago business owners lower their property-tax bills.
It’s almost comical, until you realize the perversion of democracy at hand.
Illinois is an extreme outlier when it comes to rank-and-file lawmakers’ ability to get a bill out of committee. According to a 2004 study from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, Illinois is home to two of only six state legislative chambers in the country where motions to discharge a bill from committee are subject to approval from leadership.
Illinoisans may elect who goes to the House of Representatives, but they don’t choose their representation – at least not in any meaningful sense. The power belongs to Madigan. And he represents himself.
If Madigan chooses to release a bill from the Rules Committee, it ends up in one of more than 50 committees, each chaired by a lawmaker Madigan picks for the job. Those positions come with stipends worth thousands of dollars each.
Oftentimes, those positions don’t even require much work. More than half of Illinois’ House committees have acted on fewer than five bills in 2016. Ten committees haven’t held a single meeting.
Some states, such as Nebraska and South Carolina, have their committee chairmen elected by their peers in the Statehouse. Others have far fewer committees that meet more frequently.
Assigning committee chairs comes with a great deal of leverage. And there’s more where that came from.
If a lawmaker is lucky enough to see her bill move out of Rules Committee, monitoring its progress can come with endless frustration.
Madigan can call votes on a wide range of bills at a moment’s notice. Add in his use of hundreds of “shell bills” (bills that make meaningless changes but are ripe for last-second amendments) and it becomes extremely difficult for reform-minded lawmakers to effectively fight for their causes.
It is with these tools that Madigan pulled off the 2011 income-tax hike, which took $31 billion from Illinois taxpayers with no reforms to show for it.
Every once in a while, a mouse will get out of Madigan’s maze. But that lawmaker risks the speaker’s revenge at every turn of the legislative process, not to mention in upcoming elections, where Madigan wields millions of dollars as chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois.
It takes a rare ego for someone to believe himself capable of running a state on his own. But such is Madigan’s, and he won’t change course of his own accord. The fact the state of the state hasn’t forced the speaker to change is clear evidence of this.
Rank-and-file lawmakers must summon the courage to reform the system. It is inefficient and undemocratic.
Heritage’s Ryan T. Anderson speaks on marriage at Boston College last year. Photo: The Heights
Ryan T. Anderson talks a lot about marriage. Heritage’s William E. Simon fellow has even been on CNN talking about marriage. But apparently safe enough for a CNNstudio and dozens of other college campuses isn’t safe enough for Stanford University, because the Stanford University Graduate Student Council (GSC) has denied funding for the Stanford Anscombe Society (SAS) to have Anderson and other advocates for traditional marriage come speak at Stanford, and is attempting to charge the SAS $5000 in unnecessary security costs.
Where does safety come in? Well, according to The Stanford Daily, some student agitators complained that bringing speakers to Stanford to speak about marriage would “threaten the safety of campus for the queer population.” And, on this pretext, the GSC denied funding for the SAS event: Anderson will hopefully still speak at the SAS event, but Stanford students will, temporarily at least, not be footing the bill.
Why temporarily? Under the First Amendment, public schools may not exclude otherwise permissible speech simply on the ground that the speech expresses an unpopular viewpoint. Cf. Good News Club v. Milford Central School, 533 U.S. 98. Indeed, as the U.S. Supreme Court said in 1995 in Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of the Univ. of Virginia, before, the very purpose of a university collecting and disbursing student activity fees is “to open a forum for speech and to support various student enterprises…in recognition of the diversity and creativity of student life.”
Stanford University is a private school, but California’s Leonard Law applies the First Amendment to Stanford. So under California law, a private school cannot deny funding to a student activity simply because the university doesn’t like the message. In order to shut up these traditional marriage advocates, then, the GSC has had to be creative, and use legal “magic words”—in this case, claiming that Anderson and others are a “threat” to students that disagree with their views.
Just calling speech you don’t like a “threat” doesn’t make that speech a “threat” for the purposes of the First Amendment, however. As the Supreme Court said in Virginia v. Black (2003), true threats are those statements where a “speaker means to communicate serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals.” Does this sound like Ryan Anderson? Of course not. But thin-skinned student agitators can manufacture a sham threat with the barest of justifications.
Furthermore, the $5000 fee to provide for security at the event is also unlawful. Ginning up unnecessary fees is a typical tactic that public universities and other governmental entities use when the First Amendment stops them from directly prohibiting certain speech. However, it’s a tactic that doesn’t work. InForsyth County v. Nationalist Movement (1992), the Supreme Court struck down a security fee regime for parade permits, and noted: “Listeners’ reaction to speech is not a content-neutral basis for regulation…. Speech cannot be financially burdened, any more than it can be punished or banned, simply because it might offend a hostile mob.”
Again, California’s Leonard Law would compel a California court to applyForsyth County and invalidate Stanford’s scheme, allowing any student enrolled at Stanford University to sue in California court to compel the GSC to fund the SAS event, and to obtain attorney’s fees. Whether they do the right thing and fund the SAS event, or whether they pay for all the court costs, Stanford University will likely be footing the bill.
While there are good legal claims here, there is also an important principle at stake: colleges, as places of free debate, should not attempt to censor speech simply because they disagree with it. Attempting to keep traditional marriage advocates off the Stanford campus calls that university’s academic credibility into serious question. Stay tuned.
Andrew R. Kloster is a legal fellow in the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, focusing on civil rights, the role of the federal courts and other constitutional issues.
You’d be wrong.
After DePaul University in Chicago changed its policies and overcharged the College Republicans for security at an event on campus, it ordered the security providers to “stand down,” even as some Black Lives Matter advocates physically took control of a stage and threatened to punch the speaker in the face.
Here’s what happened.
The DePaul College Republicans were scheduling an event with a popular but highly controversial speaker, Milo Yiannopoulos, earlier this year.
They immediately hit a snag when they discovered that DePaul has a stated policy requiring a ratio of security to attendees of between 1:50 and 1:75. For their event of 550 attendees, DePaul was required to hire 8 guards for $960.
This might be difficult and might reduce the amount of events that occur on campus, because applying such a policy does place a burden on small student groups that have a hard time raising the money to fund such events.
Nevertheless, at least this policy was publicly available and evenly applied (except it wasn’t).
The DePaul College Republicans had to rely on crowdfunding and donations months in advance, only to have the university change the policy at the last minute, demanding hundreds of extra dollars for additional security less than a week before the event would take place.
According to Jorin Burkhart, an executive board member of DePaul College Republicans, “non-conservative groups are able to hold events without being required to have security.” At DePaul, the College Republicans hosting Yiannopoulos are stuck with an inflated bill.
The “security” meanwhile did nothing to stop attacks by assailants, one of whom even threatened to hit the speaker in the face. According to the event organizers, the administration had promised the College Republicans that it would remove disruptors from the event.
Chicago police were called to the scene, but they too were told by the DePaul administration to stand down, an order that made some of the well-trained police “irate” because they “wanted to do their job” and protect the students and speaker.
In a follow-up email to the student body, DePaul’s president made a tepid apology to the College Republicans—but only after expressing his intense dislike of “speakers of Mr. Yiannopoulos’ ilk,” who he claimed are “self-serving provocateurs,” whose “shtick” is “unworthy of university discourse.” This “apology” may provide some indication that the administration’s real goal in imposing costly additional security requirements on the College Republicans was to incentivize them to cancel the speaker’s appearance.
The university is supposed to protect its students physically as well as safeguard their rights on campus. DePaul not only failed to secure the students and the guest speaker, but they seemed to actively subvert the students’ rights and work against allowing the College Republicans to hold their event.
DePaul needs to ensure that security needs are provided by the university objectively and in a manner that is minimally intrusive on its students’ rights. And, of course, it needs to refund the College Republicans’ security fees.
Outrage as Dutch authorities give up to €10k to refugees to ‘go shopping’
Published time: 29 May, 2016 09:27
Some Dutch residents are outraged after finding out that a few cities have been offering as much as €10,000 to refugees to buy furniture and other necessities, local media reported.
Asylum seekers who get allocated to certain towns in the Netherlands may get as much as €10,000 to buy furniture for their homes, according to research carried out by the daily Brabants Dagblad (BD).
Talking to the local authorities, Brabants Dagblad found the sum of money varies in different municipalities.
While Oisterwijk, South Netherlands offers as much as €10,602 for a family with two children, in other cities, such as Bernheze, Schijndel Veghel and Sint-Michielsgestel the same family may receive around €3,500. Boekel offers the smallest amount of €2,200.
BD also said that some cities require refugees to pay the sum back, while others, such as the most generous Oisterwijk consider the money “a gift.”
Leader of the right-wing populist Party for Freedom (PVV), Geert Wilders said the whole situation is “discrimination” against Dutch residents, urging Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher and the public prosecutor to address the issue.
“Hey Asscher and Public Prosecutor, why don’t you address this discrimination? For a ‘refugee’ but not for the Dutch?” he tweeted.
A transgender ‘woman’’, James Goebel, was caught taking photos of teens girls using the restroom at a Dallas area Target store.
One of the victims, a 13 year old girl, said she could hear someone’s iphone camera snapping and was curious, so she looked under the stall only to see the camera phone in her face. She ran out and told her father, who held the door shut until police arrived.
When authorities arrived, they arrested 28 year old James Goebel and searched her phone for evidence. They found over 700 photos of young girls using the restroom, from dates ranging in the past 5 months.
Dallas’s local LGBT community has come together to stand in defence with Goebel, claiming she should not be persecuted because she was “born a pedophile and therefore can not change her sexual orientation”. This comment comes from the leader of Dallas’s LGBT Aqua Squad, Dorothy Wright.
The United States does not currently view pedophilia as a sexual orientation, but this is something that Dallas LGBT Aqua Squad is hoping to change.
March 24, 2016. Springfield. (ONN) Illinois and Chicago may have the most bankrupt and unfunded pension funds in the country. But for members of the elite establishment – former State Representatives and State Senators – there is apparently no shortage of taxpayer funds to make them and their family members multi-millionaires. Here is a list of the top recipients of the Illinois General Assembly pension program. Readers will find some very familiar names.
Gary Hannig, former IL State Rep, will receive an estimated lifetime pension of $5.24 million for working part time as a State Representative. Image courtesy of WN.com.
Recently, Taxpayers United of America released a list of the largest State Legislature pension recipients. Illinois State Representatives and State Senators have their own separate pension plan. Since being a State Legislator is a part time job and was never meant to be a life-long career, one wonders why they need a pension plan in the first place. Especially when many of the esteemed members of this list are double or triple-dippers – receiving multiple taxpayer-funded pensions at the same time.
State Senator, State’s Attorney, Chicago Mayor (D-Chicago)
Estimated lifetime pension: $2.28 million
18. Doris Karpiel
State Senator (R-Carol Stream)
Estimated lifetime pension: $2.02 million
19. Emil Jones
State Senator (D-Chicago)
Estimated lifetime pension: $1.66 million
20. James ‘Pate’ Philip
State Senator (R-Addison)
Estimated lifetime pension: $1.52 million
*Lifetime pension amounts based on an average life expectancy of 85 and a Constitutionally-required 3 percent annual cost of living increase. Figures do not include recipients’ other taxpayer-funded pensions from Chicago, Cook County or other counties, municipalities or government agencies.
Gary L Good 2016 Memorial Day Speech – Channahon IL
Good morning. It is an honor to be here today speaking with you on this important American Commemoration Day. Before I begin, I want to say thank you to President Schumacher and the Trustees for inviting me to speak this morning. As she just told you, my name is Gary Good. I retired from the US Army as a lieutenant colonel on April 1st, less than 8 weeks ago. Today, I have returned to my beloved Illinois to continue my service to the people of Will County … To make Illinois Incredible once again.
As we stand here today, I want us to consider this same date 94 years ago … In 1922. On this date, May 30, 1922, Chief Justice William H Taft dedicated the Lincoln Memorial on our National Mall and presented it to the President, Warren Harding. As these men stood before that 19 foot tall statue of Abraham Lincoln sitting in that marble chair, looking upon the National Mall, it must have been a humbling moment.
This man, this Illinois man, who led our nation through the abolition of slavery by persevering in our Civil War which took the lives of more than 2% of our population … More than 600,000 men and women. To one side were the words of his Gettysburg Address when President Lincoln reminded those in attendance that it had been a mere four score and seven years, 87 years ago, since 56 men had signed their death warrants when they Declared Independence from King George III and declared the equality of man. How could those men say anything that would be more meaningful than Lincoln’s words or the actions of those nearly 8,000 dead at Gettysburg who had given their lives so their nation might live. As he said, “we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground… These brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.”
That marble floor has held the weight of many, many people. Those people look upon those words and seldom comprehend the weight those words carried as they commemorated that battlefield … Words that could be spoken in so many more places. Those eyes of Abraham Lincoln look out across the National Mall to the Washington Monument, the obelisk dedicated to the first leader of our nation who understood selfless service, even upon making the decision to leave office when most everyone wanted him to stay. He was led by a greater power, by the hand of God, that to ld him that a democracy cannot be held in the hands of a single man or small group of men … lest it become controlled by a despot seizing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness from some to give to others … those in HIS favor.
Beyond that tall, proud monument stands the US Capitol where the words of President John F Kennedy rang-out across the Mall and around the world … “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” In the half-century prior to his remarks more than 500,000 Americans had given their lives in World War I, World War II, and Korea. Each of those lives had stood their ground, had done their job, had fought for freedom … And more often than not, their death paid the price for another to continue on … For one of their brothers-in-arms to come home and marry, have children, and grandchildren.
As I look at those assembled here today, I see hats, shirts, uniforms, and more that are quiet reminders of those young men and women who died to allow us to return here today. And, that is why we stand here to remember. We do not stand here for us, the veterans … we stand here, dedicating our time, to remember the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coasties, and civilians who died to preserve our freedoms. This day was first commemorated as Decoration Day on this very day, May 30, 1868 when citizens in Charleston, South Carolina went to the cemeteries to place flowers and others decorations upon the graves of Union and Confederate Soldiers killed in the Civil War. The practice flourished in just a few years … until it became a national holiday when Americans take time to remember.
Five years ago on this very day, May 30, 2011, I was in Afghanistan. I was an Army Strategist working on the planning of Afghan Security Forces and the US forces who would support them … Planning that would end-up on the desk of the President of the United States and other leaders around the world. But, on that day, we too took time to commemorate our fellow Americans who had given their lives. I worked in a multinational headquarters for an American Lieutenant General. My office had an Australian, a Norwegian, a German, a Pole, a French officer, and a British officer. The British officer, a Colonel, came forward and offered a special commemoration … A special gift to memorialize all the dead on this very American of days … He played the bagpipes for the ceremony. It was hauntingly beautiful to hear those bagpipes playing Taps and the rest … Knowing that the sounds that usually permeated the air in Kabul … were all halted to the sound of bagpipes commemorating the dead.
Amazingly, those same sounds had been talked about in another hallowed place by another great citizen of Illinois … Ronald Reagan. At the D-Day commemoration in 1984, Ronald Reagan, harkening to his kindred Illinois brother, Lincoln, once again used time to take us back to a terrible, but triumphant day, in history. He took us back forty years to the D-Day invasion and spoke of the 225 US Army Rangers who scaled the walls of the cliffs at Normandy to destroy German artillery that would rain down upon Omaha Beach and kill many, many Allied Invaders if those Rangers failed. As their daggers dug into the precipice of the cliff and pulled their tired bodies over the edge, they fought on to be triumphant … And only 90 remained to fight another day. 135 had died or been severely injured, but each of those lives given saved the lives of untold numbers of American, British, Canadians, and more. Reagan went on to tell the story of a British regiment holding a bridge but terribly outnumbered. They heard the sounds of bagpipes and wondered if they were dead already … Until they saw their comrades in arms coming down the way with reinforcements. As Reagan stated, once again like Lincoln … his Illinois brother invoked God and the works of his divine hand when he said, “they had the rock hard belief of every man that day, that D-Day, that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause.”
And, that brings us back to Lincoln and the memorial we began with… Around him … Now … Many years after that commemoration on May 30, 1922, the USA has dedicated its National Mall to those who have given their lives in defense of the hallowed ground that is The United States of America … This City upon a Hill. The eyes of his 19 foot marble statue gaze from his left … Where we commemorate the 58,307 Vietnam dead by name … over to the center where the World War II monument commemorates the more than 400,000 dead with 4,048 stars …a star for each 100 of them … following over to his right where we commemorate the Korean War with a haunting platoon of soldiers on patrol and the 36,516 dead. Southwest of the Lincoln Memorial stands Robert E. Lee’s former estate, Arlington, which the Union seized when he took his commission from the Confederacy … And they buried the first Union dead in his front yard. Today, more than 14,000 are interred there … A moving place dedicated to those who gave their lives in war … AND those who returned home because of them …. But wanted to rest side by side with their brothers-in-arms.
We here in Illinois are proud of our dedication to preserving Liberty. Time and again around our great state, we have created places of memorial to remember those who gave their all to defend freedom and preserve Liberty. At my beloved Alma Mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, we play football in Memorial Stadium … Dedicated initially to those who died in World War I and then extended to those who died in World War II. Our beloved Chicago Bears, who wear their blue and orange in homage to George Halas’s Illinois Alma Mater colors, play in Soldier Field, dedicated to the US Soldiers who died in World War I. Just down the road in Elwood, we have Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery which contains more than 32,000 interred remains.
Today, we commemorate the dead … Because of them, we stand here today. You stand here with me … Many of you might know the name or names of those who died and allowed you to stand here. While I was a young man in the Army, I was back at Fort Rucker, AL where I had completed flight school and flew Blackhawk helicopters. Seven years before, CW3 Michael Durant had been shot down in his Blackhawk in Mogadishu, Somalia. He knew the names of the two men who had saved his life … Gary Gordon and Randy Shugart … these two men, made famous in the movie Blackhawk down … they demanded to be placed with CW3 Durant … knowing they would likely not come back alive. This is the way of the warrior … to stand when no one else will … at the side of his brother-in-arm. These two men received the Medal of Honor like so many of our Medal recipients do … posthumously. CW3 Durant spoke to my class of young captains about the debt he can never repay.
It is hard for those who have never served to connect a name on a wall, or a star on a monument to their own lives and see the ties that bind their lives to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice … It is hard to completely empathize when they watch the old man in Saving Private Ryan as tears roll down his face at Normandy. He might be a movie character, but those tears have watered many a grave around the world.
But, we must try … and this is the day we do so … we take a deep breath and explain as best we can.
For that reason, we must remember, and live, Ronald Reagan’s final words standing on that cliff at Normandy 32 years ago next week …
“Let us make a vow to our dead. Let our actions say to them the words for which General Matthew Ridgway listened, ‘I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.’ Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor, and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideal for which they lived and died.”
Let us never forget, and may our state step forward once again and be the Incredible state it once was … A state that defends the liberty of all … Justly. God Bless you all, God Bless our Fallen, and God Bless Illinois.
In remembrance of those who died in service to our country . . . Originally known as Decoration Day, this day was established in honor of those who perished during the Civil War. It was not until after World War I that the observance was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress.
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, General John Logan, commander of an organization of Union veterans, established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. It is believed that May 30 was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. General Logan’s order for his posts to decorate graves in 1868 “with the choicest flowers of springtime” urged: “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. … Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”
Although many cities in the North and the South in 1866 claimed to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, the official birthplace was declared by Congress and President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 to be Waterloo, New York. (NOTE: A stone in a Carbondale, Illinois cemetery carries the statement that the first Decoration Day ceremony took place on April 29, 1866 in Carbondale, the wartime home of Major General Logan.)
In December 2000, to ensure the sacrifices of America ’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, Congress passed “The National Moment of Remembrance Act”. The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.” http://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/history.asp History of Memorial Day (3-minute video):http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/memorial-day-history
In honor and in memory of our fallen service men and women, we celebrate Memorial Day, May 30, 2016.