Ryan M. Pitts – Medal of Honor Recipient

07/19/2014

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.


The Navy/Marine Corps Medal of Honor

On July 21, 2014, President Barack Obama will award Ryan M. Pitts, a former active duty Army Staff Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.  Staff Sergeant Pitts will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a Forward Observer with 2nd Platoon, Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, during combat operations at Vehicle Patrol Base Kahler, in the vicinity of Wanat Village in Kunar Province, Afghanistan on July 13, 2008.

Staff Sergeant Pitts will be the ninth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.  He and his family will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service.

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July 21, 2014
President Barack Obama awards Ryan M. Pitts
the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry
White House


Port Chicago Naval Magazine Explosion – 70th Anniversary

07/17/2014

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Port Chicago disaster exposed racism in military; helped launch civil rights movement

7/16/2014 By Lisa P. White –  Contra Costa Times

CONCORD — Seventy years ago today, a horrific explosion at the Port Chicago Naval munitions base claimed hundreds of lives. It also laid bare the ugly truth about racism in the United States military during World War II.

The subsequent mutiny trial and convictions of 50 African-American sailors who refused to resume loading ammunition under working conditions they believed were unsafe helped set the stage for the modern Civil Rights Movement.

Although the Port Chicago disaster was the war’s deadliest home-front accident, many Americans still are unfamiliar with the tragedy and its legacy. Port Chicago hasn’t been recorded in most history books or memorialized as a “date which will live in infamy.” Although there is a National Park Service memorial at the still active Military Ocean Terminal Concord, it won’t be open for the 70th anniversary because the Army is loading live ammunition there this summer.

Yet, for the few remaining survivors and families of the 202 African-American victims and the convicted mutineers, Port Chicago stands as a testament to courage, an indictment of injustice and a monument to resistance.

“The (survivors) that I talked to want people to know that they did their best in a poor situation, they did their best to help win the war,” said Rev. Diana McDaniel, board president of the Friends of Port Chicago National Memorial. “They were patriotic and proud of America and they wanted to go fight … but they got stuck loading munitions and they knew it was important.”

THE EXPLOSION

About 10:18 p.m. July 17, 1944, two explosions in rapid succession shook the Naval munitions base on Suisun Bay. Fire and smoke shot up two miles in the air above the base, and the blast was felt over a huge area, including as far away as Boulder City, Nev., near Las Vegas.

In an instant, 320 men were simply obliterated — most of their bodies too ripped apart to be identified. The blast shattered windows in the barracks a mile from the pier, raining glass and debris down on off-duty sailors. In the nearby town of Port Chicago, the explosion damaged buildings and injured residents. A total of 390 people were wounded that night.

Chaos, confusion and fear gripped the darkened naval base. Some sailors believed the Japanese had bombed them, but others quickly concluded there had been an explosion at the pier where the SS E.A. Bryan sat loaded with about 4,600 tons of bombs, ammunition and depth charges. An additional 429 tons of munitions, packed onto 16 railroad cars, waited on the pier to be transferred into the holds of the SS Quinault Victory also docked there.

Enlisted men and officers who rushed to the waterfront found a nightmarish scene — the pier was gone, and the E.A. Bryan had been reduced to pieces. The Quinault Victory’s stern had landed upside down in the water 500 feet away.

For more: http://www.contracostatimes.com/contra-costa-times/ci_26162692/port-chicago-disaster-exposed-racism-military-helped-launch?source=rss

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Port of Chicago - Storage Facility

Port of Chicago - 1944 Explosion DiagramPort Chicago Accident1944 Port of Chicago, CA

Port Chicago Memorial, Contra Costa County, CA

Port Chicago Memorial, Contra Costa County, CA

Port Chicago Naval Magazine Explosion on 17 July 1944: Court of Inquiry
Port Chicago History Program
Foundation Document For Planning

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Independence Day 2014

07/03/2014

WH July 4 2014

July 4, 1776, the United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of America—Independence Day—is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.

We celebrate the 238th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the beginning of American democracy.

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Salute to the Military

President Obama and First Lady Michelle will celebrate the Fourth of July by hosting military heroes and their families with a Sixth Annual “Salute to the Military” USO Concert  at the White House.  The celebration includes a barbeque, USO concert featuring Brad Paisley and a view of fireworks on the South Lawn.

11:00 AM EDT: President Obama speaks at a naturalization ceremony for active-duty service members and civilians
6:00 PM EDT: President Obama delivers remarks from the South Lawn
8:10 PM EDT: USO Concert
9:10 PM EDT: National capital fireworks display

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Live Stream: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

 iPhone  White House App.

USO Fourth of July Festivities being held around the world: http://www.uso.org/2014-fourth-of-july-events/

Happy July 4th America


William Carpenter – Medal of Honor Recipient & FLOTUS @ DCCAP 2014 Commencement

06/18/2014

Medal of Honor

President Obama to Award Medal of Honor

On June 19, 2014, President Barack Obama will award Corporal William “Kyle” Carpenter, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret), the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.  Corporal Carpenter will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Corporal Carpenter will be the eighth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.  He and his family will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service.

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June 19, 2014
President Barack Obama awards Corporal William “Kyle” Carpenter
the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry
White House

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 First Lady Michelle Obama to Address 2014 Graduating Seniors

DC College Access Program (DC-CAP) Graduation Celebration on June 19 at 6:00 PM (Eastern)

Mrs. Obama will deliver remarks at the Graduation Celebration for the DC College Access Program (DC-CAP) on Thursday, June 19 at 6:00 PM Eastern at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. DC-CAP is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping DC high school students prepare for, enroll in, and graduate from college. The overwhelming majority of students served by DC-CAP are from low-income, minority, single-parent households and are the first in their families to attend college. DC-CAP provides student and parent college readiness counseling starting in 9th grade helping families navigate the college application and financial aid process throughout the high school years. DC-CAP also provides integral support and financial assistance for students while in college. Since DC-CAP’s inception in 1999, the program has played a critical role in helping to double the number of students enrolling in college and tripling the number who graduate in DC. The event is an opportunity to applaud their achievement and honor their families who supported them.

 

District of Columbia College Access Program Commencement 2014
First Lady Michelle Obama – Commencement Speaker
Thursday, June 19 @ 6:00 PM ET
The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC

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Water Resources Reform and Development Act & Congressional Medal for The Borinqueneers

06/09/2014

Water Resources Reform and Development Act

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 (H.R. 3080) is a water resources bill that would authorize the United States Army Corps of Engineers to do various water related projects, such as improvements to ports or flood protection. It was introduced into the United States House of Representatives during the 113th United States Congress.

Background

Typically, water resource bills are passed every few years, but one has not passed since 2007. One reason no other water bill has passed since 2007 is that there have been controversies about the bill’s use of earmarks to fund specific projects.

Provisions of the bill

The bill contains reforms intended to speed up “project delivery by eliminating duplicative studies and requiring concurrent reviews, and streamlining environmental reviews.” It also deauthorizes $12 billion worth of projects that have not been active over the last five years. The bill would also allow non-federal organizations and groups to provide funding for projects. If passed, the bill would set up a Congressional review process for approving projects, instead of letting the Army Corps of Engineers make all decisions about which project to pursue.

Congressional Budget Office report

This summary is based largely on the summary provided by the Congressional Budget Office, a public domain source. As ordered reported by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on September 19, 2013.

H.R. 3080 would authorize the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to construct water projects for mitigating storm and hurricane damage, restoring ecosystems, and improving flood management. The legislation also would authorize the agency to assist states and local governments with levee safety programs and to assist Indian tribes with planning and technical assistance for water resources projects. Finally, H.R. 3080 would direct the Corps to implement a pilot program to enter agreements with nonfederal partners to manage and construct certain projects. Those agreements would be subject to appropriation of all federal costs.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_Resources_Reform_and_Development_Act_of_2013_(H.R._3080;_113th_Congress)

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Water Resources Reform and Development Act

May 15, 2014 transportation.house.gov

The Conference Report to H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), was filed in the House of Representatives today. WRRDA was introduced in the House by Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Committee Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall, II (D-WV), Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-OH), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Tim Bishop (D-NY).

H.R. 3080 passed the House by a vote of 417 to 3 on October 23, 2013. House and Senate conferees reached agreement on a final measure last week, and now both Houses of Congress must approve the Conference Report in order to send it to the President to be signed into law.

“This measure will strengthen our Nation’s transportation network, keep America competitive in the global marketplace, and reform and streamline the way we move forward with improvements to our ports, locks, dams, and other water resources infrastructure,” Shuster said. “This legislation is about jobs and our country’s economic prosperity, and I look forward to bringing it back to the House for a final vote.”

“This bill will advance the modernization of America’s waterways and ports—critical corridors of commerce that enable the efficient transport of American-produced commodities, including West Virginia coal,” Rahall said. “The investments made possible by this bill support jobs throughout the nation, on our waterways, our farms and fields, on shop floors and in our mines. WRRDA will lay the foundation for economic growth for many years to come, and I am grateful to my colleagues—House and Senate, Democratic and Republican—who worked so diligently to get us to where we are today. This bill proves that bipartisanship is still alive on Capitol Hill.”

Source: http://transportation.house.gov/wrrda/conference.htm

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WRRDA Conference Report

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Water Resources Bill Helps Achieve Development and Conservation Goals – 5/15/14 Nature Conservancy

Soldiers of the 65th, North of the Han River, Korea, June 1951.

Soldiers of the 65th, North of the Han River, Korea, June 1951.

The Congressional Gold Medal awarded to The Borinqueneers

The Congressional Gold Medal will be the highest award granted by Congress to a Hispanic active duty unit in U.S. history. The Borinqueneers will be only the second Latino individual or group to receive a Congressional Gold Medal. This recognition of their service and sacrifice is long overdue and I thank the authors, the Governor of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Ricans and veterans from Florida to New York, to Illinois to Colorado who have made sure the accomplishments of the Borinqueneers are preserved and celebrated.

The Borinqueneers served during WWI, WWII, and the Korean War.  The unit was segregated through most of the Korean War and composed primarily of soldiers from the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, but also included recruits from other Latino backgrounds.  In the face of discrimination and segregation, these brave soldiers performed many remarkable military accomplishments and are known for waging the final battalion-sized bayonet assault in U.S. Army history.

These soldiers fought valiantly on behalf the U.S. and served our nation honorably with great skill and courage.  General Douglas MacArthur said of the Borinqueneers, “The Puerto Ricans forming the ranks of the gallant 65th Infantry give daily proof on the battlefields of Korea of their courage, determination and resolute will to victory, their invincible loyalty to the United States and their fervent devotion to those immutable principles of human relations which the Americans of the Continents and of Puerto Rico have in common.  They are writing a brilliant record of heroism in battle and I am indeed proud to have them under my command.  I wish that we could count on many more like them.”

Throughout the course of the Korean War, Puerto Rico’s 65th Infantry Regiment suffered more casualties than did the vast majority of mainland states and according to Department of Defense records, 2,700 soldiers received the Purple Heart for wounds received while in battle, and the Regiment lost 740 Borinqueneers in Korea.  The Borinqueneers selflessly served and many gave their lives for our democracy and have earned this recognition from Congress. They have inspired new generations of Puerto Ricans who have continued to answer the call to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States.

Source: https://gutierrez.house.gov/press-release/borinqueneers’-congressional-gold-medal-recognition-sacrifices-puerto-rico’s-famed

 

Tuesday, June 10th
President Obama signs H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform & Development Act of 2014
and H.R. 1726, an Act to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the Borinqueneers
South Court Auditorium, White House

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D-Day – 70th Anniversary

06/04/2014
Omaha Beach, D-Day, June 6, 1944

Omaha Beach, D-Day, June 6, 1944

The Normandy landings, also known as Operation Neptune were the landing operations of the Allied invasion of Normandy, in Operation Overlord, during World War II. The landings commenced on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (D-Day), beginning at 6:30 AM British Double Summer Time (GMT+2). In planning, D-Day was the term used for the day of actual landing, which was dependent on final approval.

The assault was conducted in two phases: an airborne assault landing of 24,000 British, American, Canadian and Free French airborne troops shortly after midnight, and an amphibious landing of Allied infantry and armoured divisions on the coast of France commencing at 6:30 AM. There were also decoy operations mounted under the codenames Operation Glimmer and Operation Taxable to distract the German forces from the real landing areas.

The operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history, with over 160,000 troops landing on 6 June 1944.

Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normandy_landings

70th Anniversary - 6.6.1944

The 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy

From June 5th to August 21st 2014, Normandy will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy with due splendor and emotion. This year’s anniversary will be a time of national and international contemplation and communion.

Traditionally, annual commemorations of the Landings of June 6th 1944 have always been major events for Basse-Normandie, all the more so on the occasions of quinquennial and decennial anniversaries, where the international aspect is especially prominent.

And because this will likely be the last decennial anniversary to take place in the presence of actors in and witnesses to those momentous events, it will be a particularly special occasion; welcoming a still large number of the remaining men and women who act as guardians of this “living memory” – probably for the last time and in celebration of a great anniversary – will indeed be cause for heartfelt emotion.

The anniversary will also provide a fitting opportunity for transmission of memory and the sharing of those fundamental values for which so many young men were willing to make the supreme sacrifice: peace, freedom, brotherhood and the dignity of humankind.

The presence of the liberators of Normandy, France and Europe will be a fresh occasion for us to show them our undying gratitude, and to stand alongside them in associating our young people with the various commemorative actions so as to make the event an essential step in transmission of memory. A range of educational initiatives are already underway across the region.

The June 6th Landings are of cardinal importance in the collective memory of the English-speaking world, which is why the 70th anniversary will also include a message of thanks and unfailing friendship from the French people to the British, American and Canadian peoples.

We shall be no less committed to expressing our unbounded gratitude to the Poles, Dutch, Belgians, Australians, Greeks, Luxembourgers, Norwegians, Czechs, Slovakians, New Zealanders and Danes, all of them France’s liberators, who will also have a place of honor in the commemorations and remembrance initiatives.

The choice of the Sword Beach sector for holding the international ceremony on June 6th 2014 will also enable fitting tribute to be paid to the 177 men of Kieffer’s Commando Battalion, who were the only French soldiers to take part in ground operations on D-Day, alongside their British comrades.

In addition, as in 2004, this anniversary will also be a milestone in the process of Franco-German reconciliation, keeping alive the spirit of the Élysée Treaty.

And finally, it will be an occasion to remember the heavy price that the civilian population had to pay for the liberation of Normandy and France, and to pay tribute to the heroism shown by the Norman people in 1944. Alongside the necessary tribute paid to the soldiers that lost their lives, we should also remember those who found themselves at the mercy of military strategy and caught up in a rain of fire in the midst of the fighting.

In the spring and summer of 2014, the eyes of the world will be on Normandy; it will be an occasion for the region to show the world its dynamism, its many assets, and its determination to build a future without forgetting the past.

For more: http://www.the70th-normandy.com/?lang=en

C-SPAN Full Video: http://www.c-span.org/video/?319831-1/dday-70th-anniversary-international-ceremony

D-Day 70th Anniversary

RENDER HONORS - U.S. President Barack Obama and World War II veterans render honors as the U.S. Army Color Guard presents its colors at the Normandy American Cemetery during the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, June 6, 2014. DOD photo by Marvin Lynchard

RENDER HONORS – U.S. President Barack Obama and World War II veterans render honors as the U.S. Army Color Guard presents its colors at the Normandy American Cemetery during the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, June 6, 2014. DOD photo by Marvin Lynchard

U.S. Department of Defense
70th Anniversary of D-Day and The Invasion of Normandy Tribute


POTUS @ US Military Academy & VPOTUS @ Air Force Academy 2014 Commencement

05/27/2014

U.S._Military_Academy_West Point

 The United States Military Academy develops cadets to live honorably, with uncompromising integrity, as U.S Army officers in service to the nation. The United States Military Academy has been educating, training, and inspiring leaders of character for our United States Army and for the nation for more than 200 years. West Point provides a 47-month leader-development program steeped in academic rigor, military discipline, and physical challenges, all built upon a moral-ethical foundation. The academy is an internationally recognized institution for academic, military and physical excellence, and we are proud that today’s cadets will become tomorrow’s military, public and private-sector leaders.

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President of the United States, Barack Obama, will be the graduation speaker for the U.S. Military Academy’s Class of 2014. The ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 28.

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U.S. Military Academy’s Class of 2014
President Barack Obama – Commencement Speaker
Wednesday, May 28@ 10:00 AM ET
Michie Stadium, West Point, NY

Live Stream: http://www.usma.edu

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The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA or Air Force) is a military academy for officer candidates for the United States Air Force. Its campus is located immediately north of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado, United States. The Academy’s stated mission is “to educate, train, and inspire men and women to become officers of character, motivated to lead the United States Air Force in service to our nation.” It is the youngest of the five United States service academies, having graduated its first class in 1959. Graduates of the Academy’s four-year program receive a Bachelor of Science degree, and are commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Air Force.

Candidates for admission are judged on their academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, athletics and character. To gain admission, candidates must also pass a fitness test, undergo a thorough medical examination, and secure a nomination, which usually comes from the member of Congress in the candidate’s home district. Recent incoming classes have had about 1,200 cadets; historically just under 1,000 of those will graduate. Tuition along with room and board are all paid for by the U.S. government. Cadets receive a monthly stipend, but incur a commitment to serve a number of years of military service after graduation.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Air_Force_Academy

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Vice President Biden to speak at Class of ’14 graduation ceremony

4/25/2014 by U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs –  usafa.af.mil

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to be the guest speaker for this year’s graduation ceremony here.

Biden is the 47th vice president and this will be his second visit to the Academy. He was also the commencement speaker for the Class of 2009 graduation ceremony.

Graduation for the approximately 1,000 members of the Academy’s Class of 2014 is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., May 28, at Falcon Stadium.

The ceremony is scheduled to end with a flyover by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

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United States Air Force Academy’s Class of 2014
Vice President Biden – Commencement Speaker
Wednesday, May 28 @ 12:00 PM ET
United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs in El Paso County, CO

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Memorial Day 2014

05/24/2014

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service.

Memorial_Day

National Memorial Day Observances
Monday, May 26th – 3:00 pm Local Time

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Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery

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150th Anniv. of Arlington National Cemetery & Kyle J. White – Medal of Honor Recipient

05/11/2014

May 13, 1864 – Arlington National Cemetery is established when 200 acres (0.81 km2) around Arlington Mansion (formerly owned by Confederate General Robert E. Lee) are officially set aside as a military cemetery by U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.

About Arlington National Cemetery

The Army National Cemeteries Program, consisting of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia and Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in Washington, DC, are under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Army. The Secretary of the Army consolidated authorities and created the Executive Director of the Army National Cemeteries Program to effectively and efficiently develop, operate manage and administer the program.

Arlington National Cemetery performs 27 to 30 funeral services each day. The grounds of Arlington National Cemetery honor those who have served our nation by providing a sense of beauty and peace for our guests. The rolling green hills are dotted with trees that are hundreds of years in age and complement the gardens found throughout the 624 acres of the cemetery. This impressive landscape serves as a tribute to the service and sacrifice of every individual laid to rest within the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.

ANC Fact Sheet: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/docs/ANC%20Overview,%20October%202013.pdf

Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery is one of the country’s oldest national cemeteries. The cemetery’s rolling hills mark the final resting place for more than 14,000 veterans, including those that fought in the Civil War. The cemetery offers a final resting place for residents of the Armed Forces Retirement Home – Washington.

150th Anniversary

2014 marks the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Arlington as a national cemetery. Arlington National Cemetery was created out of necessity during the American Civil War and has become a national shrine for hundreds of thousands active duty military members and veterans who have served during times of war and times of peace. The history of our nation can be seen every day – America’s heroes are buried here from every American conflict, from the Revolutionary War to the conflicts of the 21st century, and will continue to be for generations to come.

Arlington at 150: Honor the Tradition, Remember the Sacrifice, Explore the History
Starting in May 2014, Arlington National Cemetery will host a series of events to commemorate this important milestone in Arlington’s history, starting with a wreath laying ceremony at the gravesite of Army Pvt. William Christman, who was the first military burial at Arlington and concluding with a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on June 16, the day Arlington was established as a national cemetery.

ANC 150th Anniversary Events
May 13, 2014: Wreath Laying Ceremony at the grave of Pvt. William Christman, the first military burial at Arlington;
Section 27, grave 19; 9 a.m. (Free)
May 13, 2014: Lecture on the History of Arlington National Cemetery, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Free)
May 19, 2014: Special Guided Tour: The American Civil War, 2 to 5 p.m. (Ticket required)
May 20, 2014: Special Guided Tour: Uncle Sam’s Little Wars, 2 to 5 p.m. (Ticket required)
May 21, 2014: Special Guided Tour: World War I: Bringing our Heroes Home, 2 to 5 p.m. (Ticket required)
May 22, 2014: Special Guided Tour: World War II: The Greatest Generation, 2 to 5 p.m. (Ticket required)
May 23, 2014: Special Guided Tour: U.S. Military and the Cold War, 2 to 5 p.m. (Ticket required)
May 30, 2014: Renaming ceremony for the Old Amphitheater, part of the Decoration Day Observance co-hosted with the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 5 p.m. (Free)
June 2, 2014: Special Guided Tour: The American Civil War, 2 to 5 p.m. (Ticket required)
June 3, 2014: Special Guided Tour: World War I: Bringing our Heroes Home, 2 to 5 p.m. (Ticket required)
June 4, 2014: Special Guided Tour: Late 20th Century to the Present, 2 to 5 p.m. (Ticket required)
June 5, 2014: Special Guided Tour: Monuments and Memorials, 2 to 5 p.m. (Ticket required)
June 6, 2014: Special Guided Tour: Medal of Honor, 2 to 5 p.m. (Ticket required)
June 13, 2014: “Arlington at 150” Observance Program: A tribute to Arlington’s Past, Present and Future; Memorial Amphitheater; 8:30 p.m.; pre-show starts at 8 p.m. (Free)
June 16, 2014: Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Memorial Amphitheater, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 9 a.m. (Free)

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For more: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil

.ANC Explorer app enable family members and the public to explore Arlington’s rich history.

Medal of Honor

President Obama to Award Medal of Honor

On May 13, 2014, President Barack Obama will award Kyle J. White, a former active duty Army Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.  Sergeant White will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a Platoon Radio Telephone Operator assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on November 9, 2007.

Sergeant White will be the seventh living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.  He and his family will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/04/15/president-obama-award-medal-honor
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May 13, 2014
President Barack Obama awards Kyle J. White
the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry
White House


2015 US Government Budget

04/01/2014

gopbudget

Why Paul Ryan’s Budget Is A Fantasy

Rep. Paul Ryan, the chair of the House Budget Committee, released the fiscal-year 2015 House Budget proposal on Tuesday, a largely political document that will help shape the partisan debate ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.

As with some of his past budget proposals, Ryan will have trouble explaining the details and the means that get to the end — a balanced budget. This year, the consensus on the most implausible parts of his plan comes on two fronts.

The first are the levels at which non-defense discretionary spending is set in the budget. Discretionary spending is comprised of  spending on programs that have to be reauthorized by Congress every year, not including entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

The second is an accounting trick that is likely to be controversial, and that some call a gimmick.

The last year of the budget window, 2024, gives a good example of what Ryan does to balance the budget:

  • He ups non-defense discretionary cuts by $50 billion in 2024.
  • He assumes lower war spending by about $25 billion that same year.
  • He still needs a trick to get the budget to complete balance. Ryan uses a “dynamic” scoring method that helps balance his budget — one that could generate controversy. The “macroeconomic feedback effect” assumes the macroeconomic effects of cutting deficits will lead to about $74 billion in savings in 2024.

The non-defense discretionary spending levels, especially in the last year, seem to be the most implausible part of the budget. In 2024, per the budget, the non-defense discretionary spending levels would be $467 billion — a 22 percent cut from post-sequester levels.  In raw dollars, that’s lower than it was in 2005. It’s also much lower than the 2013 level of $576 billion.

Loren Adler, a research director at the  at  Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told Business Insider it would “c ertainly be one of the toughest pieces to feasibly achieve.”

In inflation-adjusted terms, it amounts to about a 29 percent cut from current levels. According to a Senate Democratic aide, it’s also 28 percent below the average amount of the non-defense discretionary spending levels during the Bush administration.

By 2024, the Ryan budget adds $483 billion to defense spending beyond sequester-set spending caps. But to get overall savings, the budget cuts $791 billion from non-defense discretionary spending.

“NDD levels by end of budget window totally implausible — damage to safety net as well,” Jared Bernstein, a former Obama administration economist and now a senior fellow at the left-leaning  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said in an email.

Ryan also uses the accounting trick to achieve balance. It’s a method he hasn’t employed in past budgets, and one that usually isn’t used by the Congressional Budget Office when scoring legislation. Ryan says the “macroeconomic feedback effect” of the deficit-cutting provisions in his budget will amount to $175 billion in savings over the 10-year budget window. And about $74 billion of that will come in the last year — coincidentally providing the U.S. with a $5 billion surplus.

Here’s Ryan’s reasoning for doing so:

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated several times over nearly 20 years that congressional action to reduce deficits will ultimately result in lower interest rates and faster economic growth by freeing up savings for use in productive investment. In addition, CBO has estimated that the positive economic effects of deficit reduction will feed back into the budget and further reduce deficits and debt over the medium and longer term.

Ryan notes the CBO used such dynamic scoring, for example, in 1998, when analyzing the 1998 bipartisan budget resolution that planned to balance the budget. But in general, the CBO says it does not usually analyze the macroeconomic effects due to several reasons (emphasis added):

Doing macroeconomic analysis of all proposed legislation would not be feasible; nearly all legislation analyzed by CBO would have negligible macroeconomic effects anyway (and thus negligible feedback to the federal budget); and estimates of macroeconomic effects are highly uncertain.

In his budget last year, Ryan included guidance about the macroeconomic effects to argue how his budget would be even better for deficits than the numbers showed. However, he did not employ the scoring method to achieve a balanced budget.

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Republican budget proposes deep cuts in domestic programs

4/1/14 2 hours ago By David Lawder – Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Representative Paul Ryan, the leading Republican voice on budget policy, rolled out a new fiscal blueprint on Tuesday that calls for deep cuts in domestic programs, increased defense spending and a goal of erasing annual deficits in 10 years.

Ryan’s budget, called the “Path to Prosperity,” has almost no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate but is expected to serve as a campaign manifesto for Republicans in November’s congressional elections.

It proposes to kill President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare reforms and revives cuts in social programs such as the popular Medicare entitlement for the elderly that Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, has proposed in other recent budgets.

The plan calls for savings of $5.1 trillion over a decade, with the goal of reaching a balanced budget by 2024 with no new tax revenues but increased defense spending.

Nearly $2.1 trillion would be saved over a decade by the proposal to kill Obamacare, according to the plan.

A sweeping overhaul of Medicare has been slightly revised, with phased-in changes applying to workers 55 years old and younger, compared to last year’s proposal which affected workers who were 54 and younger.

The document aims to bolster Republicans’ credentials as the party of fiscal prudence, but could open them up to fresh attacks from Democrats, who are calling for steps to reduce the gap between the rich and poor.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/republican-budget-proposes-deep-cuts-social-programs-143537137–business.html;_ylt=AwrTWVVA.TpT_kMAeebQtDMD

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Pelosi Statement on Ryan Republican Budget

April 1, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released this year’s version of the House Republican budget:

“Today, Republicans have laid out their vision for a less prosperous America, demonstrating, yet again, the weakness of their arithmetic and the strength of their indifference to the concerns of struggling middle class families across the country.  They are proving the lengths they will go to protect the special interests at the expense of the public interest.  They are undermining seniors, students, and the middle class, crippling our economic competitiveness, and gutting our nation’s investments in the future – all to protect loopholes for the wealthy few and corporations that ship jobs overseas.

“Under this Republican budget, the wealthy and well-connected wouldn’t be asked to pay even a little more.  But seniors would be asked to pay more for preventive services and prescription drugs and see the end of the Medicare guarantee.  Families would witness devastating cuts to research, innovation, education, clean energy, and manufacturing, ceding economic leadership to other nations.  All Americans would see a budget that rejects comprehensive immigration reform, with its promise of job creation, stronger small businesses, a growing economy, and a shrinking deficit.

“Democrats have a better approach: creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, investing in our infrastructure and our children’s education, closing the opportunity gap, and responsibly reducing the deficit.  Together, we can reignite the American Dream and build an economy that works for everyone.”

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Hoyer Statement on Republican Budget for Fiscal Year 2015

April 1, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in response to the House Republican budget for Fiscal Year 2015:

“No one ought to be surprised at the budget unveiled by Chairman Paul Ryan and House Republicans today, which once again asks those with less to give more and those with more to give less.  This year’s Republican budget builds on the disastrous approach Republicans have followed over the past three years, embracing the painful and irrational sequestration cuts and slashing funding that supports investments in opportunity, growth, and security.

“While anyone who looks at the FY2015 Republican budget can readily see that it would do serious damage to our economy and society, Republicans do their best to hide the extent of the damage.  As in previous years, Chairman Ryan relies on gimmicks, magic asterisks, and spurious accounting assumptions to presume that his budget will achieve its anticipated deficit savings.  Additionally, his budget ends the Medicare guarantee as we know it, turns Medicaid into a block grant, repeals the Affordable Care Act [aka ObamaCare], fails to invest in job creation, and does not include any new revenue.  His budget simply doesn’t work – and would lead to significant harm for our country.

“Last week, I delivered a speech in which I called on both parties in Congress to maximize every opportunity to move us closer toward the long-term fiscal sustainability that our country needs.  Our budget process is just such an opportunity; unfortunately, House Republicans chose to make it a partisan messaging exercise rather than a real effort to achieve balanced deficit savings and invest in the programs that strengthen our economy, grow our middle class, and help more of our businesses and families Make It In America.”

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Statement by the White House Press Secretary on the House Republican Budget

April 01, 2014

To build real, lasting economic security for the middle class, the President and Democrats in Congress have a plan to grow our economy from the middle out, not the top down, and create more opportunities for every hardworking American to get ahead. Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress do not have a plan that works for the middle class and the House Republican Budget is the same old top-down approach. Because of a stubborn unwillingness to cut the deficit in a balanced way by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and well connected, the House Republican Budget would slow the economy, stack the deck against the middle class, and threaten the guaranteed benefits seniors have paid for and earned.

The House Republican Budget would raise taxes on middle class families with children by an average of at least $2,000 in order to cut taxes for households with incomes over $1 million. It would force deep cuts to investments in our roads and bridges, scientific research to cure diseases like Alzheimer’s and at every level of education from early childhood to community college. It would end Medicare as we know it, turning it into a voucher program and risking a death spiral in traditional Medicare. Instead of ensuring that Americans earn a fair wage for a hard day’s work and lifting millions of people out of poverty, the House Republican approach undermines Americans working hard to support their families by slashing food stamps and Medicaid. And rather than expanding health coverage for all Americans and making it more affordable, it would repeal the Affordable Care Act, raising health care costs on families and businesses and eliminating coverage for the 3 million young adults who have gained coverage by staying on their parent’s plan, the millions of people who have signed up for private insurance plans through the Marketplaces, and millions more who can continue to gain coverage through Medicaid.

The House Republican Budget stands in stark contrast to the President’s Budget, which would accelerate economic growth and expand opportunity for all hardworking Americans, while continuing to cut the deficit in a balanced way. The President has put forward a Budget that rewards hard work with fair wages, equips all children with a high-quality education to prepare them for a good job, puts a secure retirement within reach, and ensures health care is affordable and reliable, while at the same time asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share and making tough cuts to programs we can’t afford. And by paying for new investments and tackling our true fiscal challenges, the President’s Budget builds on the progress we’ve already made to cut the deficit by more than half since 2009 and cuts the deficit as a share of the economy to 1.6 percent by 2024. It also stabilizes the debt as a share of the economy by 2015 and puts it on a declining path after that.

Budgets are about choices and values. House Republicans have chosen to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest rather than create opportunities for middle class families to get ahead. The President believes that is the wrong approach and that we should instead be making smart investments necessary to create jobs, grow our economy, and expand opportunity, while still cutting the deficit in a balanced way and securing our nation’s future.

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A State-by-State Breakdown of the Damage That Would Be Caused by the House Republican Budget

Amy Brundage April 09, 2014 05:13 PM EDT

House Republicans this week are voting on a budget that protects tax breaks for the wealthiest rather than create opportunities for middle-class families to get ahead. It is the same old top-down approach and would raise taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of at least $2,000 in order to cut taxes for households with incomes over $1 million.

As in previous years, the House Republican Budget proposes deep funding reductions that would result in severe cuts to critical areas that are needed to support job creation, economic growth, a strong middle class, and assistance for lower income individuals, especially when compared to the overall level of investment in the President’s budget. Since House Republicans aren’t willing to identify specifically what they actually want to cut, one way to assess the potential damaging impact is to look at what would happen to key programs if the cuts compared to the President’s budget were applied evenly across the board.

The results show the potential extent of the damage across the country. Within a few years:

  • In Florida, 290,000 seniors benefited from the closure of the Medicare Part D prescription drug donut hole in 2013 alone and at least that many likely would have to pay more for their needed medications in future years.
  • In California, more than 50,000 fewer students would receive Pell Grants to help them pay for college.
  • In Ohio, the proposed Medicaid block grant would cut federal Medicaid funding for the state by more than $30 billion over the next decade, likely resulting in more uninsured individuals and less care for those still covered.
  • In Texas, 12,000 fewer children would receive Head Start services.
  • In Pennsylvania, more than 100,000 people would lose job search assistance.
  • In Missouri, 1,700 fewer victims of domestic violence would be served through the STOP Violence Against Women Program.

A full list of state-by-state impacts can be found here.

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President Obama’s 2015 Budget Proposal

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