Pearl Harbor 74th Anniversary Remembrance

USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial Names

The USS Arizona Memorial, located at Pearl Harbor in HonoluluHawaiʻi, marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors killed on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 by Japanese imperial forces and commemorates the events of that day. The attack on Pearl Harbor and the island of Oʻahu was the action that led to United States involvement in World War II.

The memorial, dedicated in 1962, is visited by more than one million people annually. Accessible only by boat, it straddles the sunken hull of the battleship without touching it. Historical information about the attack, shuttle boats to and from the memorial, and general visitor services are available at the associated USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, which opened in 1980 and is operated by the National Park Service. The sunken remains of the battleship were declared a National Historic Landmark on 5 May 1989.



USS Arizona Memorial

The Visitor Center operated by the National Park Service is free to the public and has a museum with exhibits about the Pearl Harbor attack, such as the ship’s bell from the USS Arizona. The Pearl Harbor National Monument Bookstore revenue helps support the museum.

USS Arizona Memorial Restoration project:

USS Arizona Memorial Discovery Packet 

National Park Service:

US Department of Defense – National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

12/4/15 Presidential Proclamation — National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, 2015


Full Integration of Women in the U.S. Armed Forces

US Armed Forces Equality

DOD Secretary Carter Opens All Military Occupations, Positions to Women

12/3/15 By Cheryl Pellerin –

WASHINGTON, December 3, 2015 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced today that beginning in January 2016, all military occupations and positions will be open to women, without exception.

For the first time in U.S. military history, as long as they qualify and meet specific standards, the secretary said women will be able to contribute to the Defense Department mission with no barriers at all in their way.

“They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat,” Carter added. “They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers, and everything else that was previously open only to men.”

Harnessing Women’s Skills, Perspectives

Even more importantly, he said, the military services will be better able to harness the skills and perspectives that talented women have to offer.

Despite real progress in recent decades and lately, opening more than 111,000 positions to women across the services, Carter said that about 10 percent of military positions — nearly 220,000 total — have remained closed to women.

These included infantry, armor, reconnaissance, and some special operations units, the secretary said.

Over the past three years, he added, senior civilian and military leaders across the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Special Operations Command have studied the integration of women into these positions.

“Last month I received their recommendations [and] the data, studies and surveys on which they were based regarding whether any of those remaining positions warrant a continued exemption from being opened to women,” Carter said, noting that the Army, Navy, Air Force and Socom said none of the positions warranted exemptions.

For more:

Statement by the President on Women in the U.S. Military

One of the qualities that makes America’s armed forces the best in the world is that we draw on the talents and skills of our people. When we desegregated our military, it became stronger.  In recent years, we ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and allowed gay and lesbian Americans to serve openly — and it’s made our military stronger.  Over recent decades, we’ve opened about 90 percent of military positions to women who time and again have proven that they, too, are qualified, ready and up to the task.  In the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, our courageous women in uniform have served with honor, on the front lines — and some have given their very lives.

Today, the Defense Department is taking another historic step forward by opening up the remaining 10 percent of military positions, including combat roles, to women.  As Commander in Chief, I know that this change, like others before it, will again make our military even stronger.

For more:



Forward For Equality_sml

Captain Florent A. Groberg – Medal of Honor Recipient

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President in the name of Congress on members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.

Members of all branches of the armed forces are eligible to receive the medal, and there are three versions; one for the Army, one for the Air Force, and one for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The Medal of Honor is bestowed upon an individual by the passing of a Joint Resolution in the Congress; and is then personally presented to the recipient or, in the case of posthumous awards, to next of kin, by the President of the United States, on behalf of the Congress, representing and recognizing the gratitude of the American people as a whole.

Medal of Honor

On November 12, 2015, President Barack Obama will award Captain Florent A. Groberg, U.S. Army (Ret), the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.  Captain Groberg will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a Personal Security Detachment Commander for Task Force Mountain Warrior, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division during combat operations in Asadabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan on August 8, 2012.

November 12, 2015
President Barack Obama awards Captain Florent A. Groberg
the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry
White House



Veteran’s Day 2015

Veteran's Day 2015 poster

History of Veterans Day

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

For the entire article:

.Veterans Day 11.11.13

The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery . The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.


United States Department of Veterans Affairs

 Women Veterans Hotline1-855-VA-WOMEN (829-6636)

History of Veterans Day 

National Resource Directory  –

National Resource Directory app –

Presidential Proclamation — Veterans Day, 2015

11/11/15 President Obama delivers remarks at Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony

11/11/15 FACT SHEET: Honoring the Service of Our Nation’s Veterans


November 11, 2015
11:00 AM ET
Veterans Day Wreath-Laying Ceremony
Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington County, VA


FLOTUS Travels to Qatar & Jordan

November 1-7, 2015 First Lady Michelle Obama visits Doha, Qatar and Amman, Jordan
November 1-7, 2015 First Lady Michelle Obama visits Doha, Qatar and Amman, Jordan

First Lady Michelle Obama to Travel to the State of Qatar and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

As part of the Let Girls Learn initiative, the First Lady will make stops in Doha and Amman; the First Lady will also visit US military service members stationed at Al Udeid Air Base as part of the Joining Forces initiative

As part of Let Girls Learn, the First Lady will visit Doha, Qatar and Amman, Jordan from November 1-7, 2015.

In Doha, Mrs. Obama will deliver remarks at the 2015 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), addressing an audience of education leaders from the region and around the world about global girls’ education and the Let Girls Learn initiative.  Since 2009, WISE has brought together leaders annually to explore concrete steps to improve education worldwide.

As part of the Joining Forces initiative, Mrs. Obama will also visit service members stationed at Al Udeid Air Base.

For the entire article:



First Lady Michelle Obama Travel Itinerary

Doha, Qatar 

First Lady Michelle Obama visits service members stationed at Al Udeid Air Base
Doha, Qatar

First Lady, Michelle Obama visits HH the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani
The Diwan, Doha, Qatar

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the 2015 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE)
Doha, Qatar

First Lady Michelle Obama attends the 2015 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Roundtable
Doha, Qatar

First Lady Michelle Obama visits with Embassy staff
Doha, Qatar

Amman, Jordan (First Lady Michelle Obama headed home from the Middle East two days early after being grounded by 36 hours by a brutal sandstorm)

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in official meetings
Amman, Jordan

First Lady Michelle Obama visits a school constructed with USAID funding and technical support
Amman, Jordan

First Lady Michelle Obama meets with adolescent girls attending the school
Amman, Jordan

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks and commends Jordan for its generosity and commitment to educating all children living within its ‎borders.
Amman, Jordan

First Lady Michelle Obama visits with Embassy staff
Amman, Jordan

First Lady Michelle Obama visits the historical and archaeological city of Petra that is famous for its rock-cut architecture
Ma’an Governorate, Jordan

Around the world 62 million girls are not in school. Millions more are fighting to stay there. Let Girls Learn is a new effort by the United States Government, and led by USAID, to provide the public with meaningful ways to help all girls to get a quality education. In support of the effort, USAID also announced over $230 million for new programs to support education around the world.  Then, even if they can reach a school, they may not have the trained teachers, adequate materials, or support they need to learn to read, write, and do basic math. Recent events in Nigeria focused the world’s concern on their plight. It’s time to Let Girls Learn.

Let Girls Learn is an effort by the United States Government to provide the public with meaningful ways to help all girls to get a quality education. It is led by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the lead U.S. Government Agency working to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. In support of the effort, USAID also announced $231.6 million for new programs to support primary and secondary education and safe learning in Nigeria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Jordan, as well as support for Guatemala’s ongoing, successful efforts to improve quality of education for under-served populations.


When girls are educated, their families are healthier and they have more opportunities to generate income in adulthood. An educated girl has a ripple effect:

On Her Family:

  • One more year of education increases a woman’s income by up to 25 percent.
  • A girl who has a basic education is three times less likely to contract HIV.
  • Children born to educated mothers are twice as likely to survive past the age of 5.

On Society:

  • If all women in sub-Saharan Africa had a secondary education, 1.8 million lives would be saved each year.
  • Simulations using data from women farmers in Kenya suggest that crop yields could increase by 25 percent if all that country’s girls attended primary school.
  • After looking at 100 countries, the World Bank found that increasing the share of women with a secondary education by 1 percent boosts annual per capita income growth by 0.3 percentage points.
  • Countries where women hold more than 30 percent of seats in political bodies are more inclusive, egalitarian and democratic.


Learn what organizations around the world are doing
to help girls learn and how you can help .


An educated girl has a ripple effect. Explore how giving a girl the tools to learn can
impact families, communities, and the world – for generations.


Tell us about the creative and inspiring ways you are working to help educate

girls on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: #LetGirlsLearn.

Let Girls Learn Peace Corps initiative

Let Girls Learn: Fact Sheet


8/26/14 FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Record for Women and Girls

11/13/14 Expanding Opportunity and Addressing Unique Challenges Facing Women and Girls of Color

1/16/15 Front and Center: Bringing Marginalized Girls into Focus in STEM and CTE Education

White House Council on Women and Girls


November 1-7, 2015
First Lady Michelle Obama
Travel to the State of Qatar and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan



Pres Obama to veto $612 billion defense policy bill H.R. 1735

Obama to veto $612 billion defense policy bill over budget dispute with GOP-led Congress

OCTOBER 21, 2015 — 6:30PM Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The White House says President Barack Obama will veto a sweeping $612 billion defense policy bill, citing objections over how the measure is funded.

Obama will veto the bill Thursday afternoon in the Oval Office.

Obama also disapproves of provisions in the bill that would complicate his pledge to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

It’s the first time Obama has rejected the measure. Presidents have signed the bipartisan bill into law annually for more than 50 years.

The move will force Congress to revise the bill or try to settle a larger budget dispute that led Obama to veto it.

The bill would increase defense spending by adding $38 billion to a separate war-fighting account. The White House says that’s a “funding gimmick.”

Presidential veto

Press Briefing by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest

October 15, 2015  Excerpts:

Question by  Mark from the Press Corps:

Where do things stand on the defense authorization bill?” 

Answer by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest:

The last I heard is that the White House had not yet received the defense authorization bill.  But the President’s intention to veto that legislation still stands, primarily because the bill includes this slush fund tactic that’s an irresponsible way to fund our most basic national security priorities.  And, again, slush fund is not just the appropriate word that I’ve used but that’s actually the description that some Republicans have used for this tactic.

There are also concerns in that legislation about the obstacles to closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay that are included once again in the NDAA bill.  I’ll just point out that based on the vote in the House of Representatives, that there is sufficient support for the President’s position in the House to sustain his veto.  And that’s not something we’ve seen in the past, but it is something that we see this time.


History on The Closing of Guantánamo Bay Naval Base

In January 2009, President Obama signed executive orders directing the CIA to shut what remains of its network of “secret” prisons and ordering the closing of the Guantánamo detention camp within a year. However, he postponed difficult decisions on the details for at least six months. On 7 March 2011, President Obama issued an executive order that permits ongoing indefinite detention of Guantánamo detainees. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 would have authorized indefinite detention of suspected terrorists, but enforcement of the relevant section was blocked by a federal court ruling in the case of Hedges v. Obama on 16 May 2012, a suit brought by a number of private citizens, including Chris HedgesDaniel EllsbergNoam Chomsky, and Birgitta Jónsdóttir. The government sidestepped the ruling, however, saying “The government construes this Court’s Order as applying only as to the named plaintiffs in this suit.” [President Obama said in his 2014 State of the Union Speech: “this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay“].  As of September 2015, the U.S. government has yet to close the detention camp.



Remarks by the President at Veto Signing of National Defense Authorization Act

Oval Office

3:52 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  As President and Commander-in-Chief, my first and most important responsibility is keeping the American people safe.  And that means that we make sure that our military is properly funded, and that our men and women in uniform get the support, the equipment, the support for their families that they need and deserve when they protect our freedom and our safety.

The bill that has been presented to me authorizing our defense — excuse me — the bill that’s before me, authorizing our defense spending for this year, does a number of good things.  It makes sure that our military is funded.  It has some important provisions around reform for our military retirement system, which is necessary to make sure that it is stable and effective.  It’s got some cybersecurity provisions that are necessary for an increasing threat.

Unfortunately, it falls woefully short in three areas.  Number one, it keeps in place the sequester that is inadequate for us to properly fund our military in a stable, sustained way and allows all of our armed forces to plan properly.  I have repeatedly called on Congress to eliminate the sequester and make sure that we’re providing certainty to our military so they can do out-year planning, ensure military readiness, ensure our troops are getting what they need.  This bill instead resorts to gimmicks that does not allow the Pentagon to do what it needs to do.

Number two, unfortunately it prevents a wide range of reforms that are necessary for us to get our military modernized and able to deal with the many threats that are presenting themselves in the 21st century.  We have repeatedly put forward a series of reforms eliminating programs that the Pentagon does not want — Congress keeps on stepping back in, and we end up wasting money.  We end up diverting resources from things that we do need to have the kind of equipment and training and readiness that are necessary for us to meet all potential threats.

And the third thing is that this legislation specifically impeded our ability to close Guantanamo in a way that I have repeatedly argued is counterproductive to our efforts to defeat terrorism around the world.  Guantanamo is one of the premiere mechanisms for jihadists to recruit.  It’s time for us to close it.  It is outdated; it’s expensive; it’s been there for years. And we can do better in terms of keeping our people safe while making sure that we are consistent with our values.

So I’m going to be vetoing this authorization bill.  I’m going to be sending it back to Congress.  And my message to them is very simple:  Let’s do this right.  We’re in the midst of budget discussions — let’s have a budget that properly funds our national security as well as economic security.  Let’s make sure that we’re able, in a constructive way, to reform our military spending to make it sustainable over the long term, and let’s make sure that, in a responsible way, we can draw down the populations in Guantanamo, make sure that the American people are safe, and make sure that we’re not providing the kinds of recruitment tools to terrorists that are so dangerous.

3:57 P.M. EDT

October 22, 2015
President Obama vetoes a major defense policy bill H.R. 1735
Oval Office


First Lady Michelle Obama christening of PCU Illinois (SSN 786)

USS Illinois SSN 786

140602-N-TN558-337 NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (June 2, 2014) First lady Michelle Obama reacts as Mathew Shilling, an employee of General Dynamics Electric Boat, welds her initials on a metal plate as Electric Boat President Jeffrey Geiger watches, during the keel laying ceremony for the Virginia-class attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Illinois (SSN 786). Illinois is the Navy's 13th Virginia-class attack submarine and is contracted for completion by 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason J. Perry/Released)
NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (June 2, 2014) First lady Michelle Obama reacts as Mathew Shilling, an employee of General Dynamics Electric Boat, welds her initials on a metal plate as Electric Boat President Jeffrey Geiger watches, during the keel laying ceremony for the Virginia-class attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Illinois (SSN 786). Illinois is the Navy’s 13th Virginia-class attack submarine and is contracted for completion by 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason J. Perry/Released)

June 02, 2014

Remarks by the First Lady at the Keel Laying Ceremony for the PCU ILLINOIS

General Dynamics Electric Boat Shipyard
Quonset Point, Rhode Island

2:24 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA: (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much. Good afternoon. Wow. All right, can I just break with protocol and say, this is really cool. (Laughter.) I mean, come on. This is so nice. (Applause.)

I want to start by thanking Secretary Mabus for that very kind introduction, but more importantly, for his tremendous leadership for our country for so many years. I also want to recognize Governor Chaffee, Governor Malloy, Senators Reed and Whitehouse, and all of the members of Congress and the elected officials that we have with us today, and all of the distinguished guests and military leaders who serve our country so bravely every single day.

Now, I have been a sponsor for a Coast Guard cutter before, but I’ve heard that working with submariners is a whole different ballgame. Is that true? So I am beyond excited, and I am truly honored. And I couldn’t be more proud that I have my daughters, Malia and Sasha, who join me to serve as maids of honor for this vessel. They are not here today because they had tests to take. That’s no indication of their commitment going forward, but today they had history and something else. But they send their love, and they are truly excited by the honor. But know that you have three really solid Chicago girls that are very excited to support this vessel.

And we understand what a fine submarine the ILLINOIS will be. And it has been fascinating for me to learn more about all that goes into building a submarine -– from laying the keel, to the christening, to the commissioning. It is truly a privilege to be part of this very unique process. It is something that I will take away as one of the extraordinary experiences that I’ve had in my entire life.

So I want to thank everyone from General Dynamics Electric Boat for hosting us here today, for all the work that they’re doing, along with the folks from Newport News Shipbuilding to build this submarine. And I especially want to, again, join in thanking all of the outstanding folks who work to make these submarines happen — all of the welders, the machinists, the metalworkers, the electricians. I know there are so many more. I got to see some of you guys earlier — some of you guys and gals, because we got some strong women on the team, as well. But thank you for everything that you do, for being part of this effort. I’ve heard that you all are some of the most skilled shipbuilders we have around, so I’m confident that this is going to be an outstanding vessel.

For more:

First Lady Named Sponsor of New Navy Submarine, USS ILLINOIS

May 28, 2012

Accepts Honor During Visit with First Female Navy Submariners

As part of the Joining Forces initiative to honor, recognize and serve military families, today at the White House President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama met with the U.S. Navy’s first contingent of women submariners to be assigned to the Navy’s operational submarine force. In 2009, U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced that for the first time in Navy history, women would be assigned to the submarine force. The 24 women who met with the President and First Lady today were accepted into the Navy’s nuclear submarine program after completing an intensive training program. They are serving on ballistic and guided missile submarines throughout the Navy. A photograph of the President, First Lady, Defense Secretary Panetta, Secretary Mabus and the women submariners can be found at this LINK.

As part of the visit to the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama accepted Secretary Ray Mabus’ invitation to serve as the sponsor of the future USS Illinois (SSN 786). Illinois is a Virginia-class submarine, the Navy’s newest class of attack submarine, and is being built in Groton, Connecticut and Newport News, Virginia. Illinois is expected to join the fleet in late 2015. In sponsoring USS Illinois, the First Lady joins a tradition of First Lady sponsorship of U.S. Navy submarines. First Lady Laura Bush is USS Texas’ (SSN 775) sponsor and christened it in 2004; First Lady Hillary Clinton is USS Columbia’s (SSN 771) sponsor and christened it in 1994. As sponsor, the First Lady will establish a special link to Illinois, her Sailors, and their families that extends throughout the life of the submarine.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve as sponsor of the USS ILLINOIS,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “I’m always inspired by the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the Navy, as well as the families who support them. This submarine is a tribute to the strength, courage, and determination that our Navy families exhibit every day.”

For more:

PCU Illinois SSN 786

USS Illinois (SSN-786)

USS Illinois (SSN-786), is a Virginia-class submarine. The contract to build her was awarded to Huntington Ingalls Industries in partnership with the Electric Boat division of General Dynamics in Groton, CT on 22 December 2008. This ship is the third of the Block III subs which will feature a revised bow, including some technology from Ohio-class SSGNs. The first group of sailors reported for duty with the submarine during June 2013. It is under contract to be delivered in August 2016.

Keel Laying Ceremony and Sponsorship

The Keel Laying Ceremony took place on 2 June 2014. First Lady Michelle Obama took sponsorship.

The Official ship’s crest was designed by Christopher Durdle of Roseville, IL and accepted by the Navy at an unveiling ceremony at the Union League Club of Chicago on April 2, 2015. First Lady Michelle Obama congratulated the contest finalists and crew via video at the ceremony.  The ship will also receive ongoing support from the 786 Club of the Union League Club of Chicago.

For more:

USS Illinois (SSN-786):


10/10/15 First Lady Michelle Obama christens the USS Illinois
10/10/15 First Lady Michelle Obama christens the USS Illinois

Saturday October 10, 2015 at 11:00 AM ET
First Lady Michelle Obama participates in the christening of the PCU Illinois
Groton, Connecticut


Live Stream: