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Forever Young Veterans Day Special With Michael Reagan And Diane And Daniel Hight | MSOM Ep. 871

November 12, 2023 Episode 871
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Forever Young Veterans Day Special With Michael Reagan And Diane And Daniel Hight | MSOM Ep. 871
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Author and Talk Show veteran Michael Reagan, the oldest son of former President Ronald Reagan joins the show to discuss The Regan Legacy Foundation, and Diane and Daniel Hight come on to discuss their organization Forever Young Veterans.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to Making Sense of the Madness. We have a very special commercial free Veterans Day episode for you. We've got Michael Reagan. He really needs no introduction. He has a legendary talk show host at New York Times, bestselling author. We're going to be talking about the Reagan Legacy Foundation and much more. And then we've got Diane and Daniel Height from the forever young veterans. You're not going to want to miss this one. Buckle up and get ready to make sense of the Madness.

Speaker 3:

Raise your right hand and repeat after me. I state your name, I declare the government. You solemnly swear, you solemnly swear To support and defend, to support and defend To the Constitution of the United States, to the Constitution of the United States Against all enemies. Against all enemies, foreign and domestic, foreign and domestic, and to bear true faith and to bear true faith and to leave them to the same and to release them to the same, then I will obey, and I will obey the Order of the President of the United States and the Order of those officers Appointed over me, appointed over me According to regulations, according to regulations and uniformed code of military justice and uniformed code of military justice. So help me God. So help me God.

Speaker 4:

So help me God. So help me God. We celebrate Veterans Day on the anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I, the Armistice that began on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The timing of this holiday is quite deliberate in terms of historical fact, but somehow it always seems quite fitting to me that this day comes deep in autumn, when the colors are muted and the days seem to invite contemplation. It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country, in defense of us, in wars far away. The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise, but most of them were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives the one they were living with and the one they would have lived with when they died. They gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up everything for our country, for us, and all we can do is remember. I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. In memory of those who gave the last full measure of devotion, may our efforts to achieve lasting peace gain strength. Let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their value and born for their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.

Speaker 5:

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility. I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor Will light our country and all who serve it. We shall pay any price there, any burdens, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

Speaker 1:

And we are back, and we just happen to be joined by someone who happens to be the son of someone speaking in that very powerful Veterans Day video. Michael Reagan, thank you so much for joining us. And I will tell you, I think that all those years later, hearing your father, ronald, speak about our Veterans, how does that make you feel in retrospect, especially right now, in light of military conflict breaking out all over the world and possibly involving the United States?

Speaker 6:

You know, I listen to that opening and I think to myself my first thoughts. Where are they now? And we can't find them now. I'm lucky to be Ronald Reagan's son and Jane Wyman's son, to be born and raised in a family of such leaders, and my dad just really put an exclamation point on it all, and it brings tears to my eyes just listening to him speak, and I listen to lift up those who are willing to give their lives so you and I can do this show and talk together, and our other friends who are listening and following. No, it's. It's it's unbelievable feeling of pride, and what hurts me is the fact that today's young people have no idea of history. I played golf a few years ago with a young man, 25 years old, and I was headed to Normandy, france. I've been asked to raise the flag at Normandy, france, and I told this young man that I was headed to Normandy. I was asked to raise the flag in the American cemetery and the young man said to me why is there an American cemetery at Normandy France? I've never heard of it. And I thought to myself, oh my God. And then I remembered he's. He's not the abnormal, he's the normal. Young people don't know why, and I ended up playing golf with him. I looked at him. I said did you think D day was when your report card came home? Because so many things you need to learn about this and we need to educate our youth. Educate our young so they're not out in the streets, you know, pointing fingers in America, but out in the streets thanking and praising America of who we are and what we've done to help not only ourselves but help the world.

Speaker 1:

Well, it is rather disappointing that right now we do seem to be in a generation that doesn't know history, and those that do not know history are doomed to repeat it. But then again, the leadership is clearly not there. I mean, I think that you would agree with me that obviously Joe Biden isn't running anything and can barely speak. So how are we supposed to advocate this to our youth and the importance and really try to shy away from a global war type scenario, when they don't understand the history, they don't understand the historical nature of World War two, they don't understand the historical nature of the Revolutionary War, which was so integral in really creating the first society based in a free humanity and not just Democratic principles but a constitutional Republic of checks and balances and accountability? We no longer have accountability right now, michael.

Speaker 6:

You're right, but my father and my mother didn't count on the school system to teach me the history of the United States, even though I would learn it there. I learned it in the front seat of a station wagon at eight years old, riding out to the ranch with my father, and he would regale me with the songs of all the military the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard and tell me stories about this country. He would tell me the history of the country and I think too often we think someone else is going to teach our children about the history of the country and if we leave it up to others, you see what happens. We're seeing it in the streets of America today, instead of us taking the lead and us in fact teaching our children about the history of the United States and the greatness of the United States. That's where I learned it and I've tried to pass it down. I think we've done a pretty good job. To my son Cameron, to my daughter Ashley, so they're proud of America. Yes, all of us have issues and problems, like any family has issues and problems, but the reality of it is America is great because of who we are and what we've done and right now I said this on the other day there's no lexivalence, there's no Vakohavl, there's no helmet cold, there's no Lady Thacker, there's no Pope John Paul II and there's no Macau Gorbachev out there. There's nobody to say to the world stop. This is ludicrous what we're doing. We're going to Armageddon and you people are ledius. There's nobody to say stop. There's not that cadre of leaders working together towards a common goal freedom for everybody. And when you don't have that, you have the issues that we have today and the world looks at America for leadership, and when we don't lead, the world falls apart.

Speaker 1:

Gorbachev, by the way, who you famously debated back in the day. I want to get to the Reagan Legacy Foundation. How did this come about? And then how can people support that foundation?

Speaker 6:

Well, the Regulatory Legacy Foundation came about early on when the USS Ronald Reagan was commissioned and christened back in early 2000, 2001. And we wanted to do something for the kids to serve aboard the USS Ronald Reagan. So we put together a scholarship program where we provide scholarships to the men and women to serve aboard the USS Ronald Reagan. We give $1,000 scholarships for those on board. On board there's a program you can go to on the ship and they ask if they qualify for a scholarship from us. But we do something else. We also give scholarships of $2,000 to family members of those on the ship who are trying to better their education and better their lives. And you ought to see the excitement of one of the family members getting checked from us, because nobody else does that. But we do that through our program. We just sent out some checks in June. We're sending more checks out when it comes into the holidays, now towards Thanksgiving and Christmas. So if people want to help, they can go to Regulregulacasyfoundationorg and what they can do is just make a donation. Whatever the donation might be $1, $5, $10, $20, whatever you want to make we just pull the money together and then send the scholarships out to the young men and women aboard the USS Ronald Reagan. I love doing that to honor my father, to honor the kids that serve on that ship, which right now sits out in the South China Sea. She is the head of the Seventh Fleet, so when you hear them talk about the Seventh Fleet, she is the Seventh Fleet out there between Taiwan and North Korea, between Taiwan and China. She's the one going to keep the peace in that area of the world. So to be able to support those kids on the ship, especially now with a ship that was supposed to come home months ago to get refitted up in Washington state has been made to stay out there in the South China Sea because of what's going on in the world.

Speaker 1:

Well, that's great, because now you can also support them geopolitically, and not just financially. And financially, let's be honest, it's tough times here in this country. Inflation is through the roof. Like you said, the holiday season is upon us. What would you say to those that are struggling right now, especially in this economy, in an election cycle? I mean, are we going to be able to get out of this?

Speaker 6:

Well, the proof is, elections count. Elections have consequences. And I was saying to somebody earlier today you can be angry and mad at all you want in Donald Trump, and I get it. I understand it. But a friend of mine who literally hates Donald Trump, voted for Biden the last time was saying to me I don't like Donald Trump at all, but I looked back and say, but look what he accomplished as president of the United States. Everything was good and I voted against him because I hated him. I didn't hate his policies, but I hated him. And we need to figure out this next election 2024. We need to figure out what's good for America, what's really good for all of us, what's good for a president who's going to raise up the economy and lower inflation? And think about America again. We quit loving America years ago. It didn't start with Biden. It started way before Biden, where kids learned to hate America and gave all the reason to hate. We need to learn to love America again. I think that starts in our own home starting to love America again. And once we begin to love America again, I think we'll start voting correctly again and we'll get this turned around. But we're saying the same thing, much of the same thing back in the late 1970s, when Jimmy Carter was president of the United States. It took one election to turn it around the election of my father, and we could do it again with the right person and the right people around him.

Speaker 1:

Well, I think that you're right. When we have to take personal responsibility for what's going on in our homes, our children's education system, the economy in general. I always tell people look, you have to have a plan, but at the same time, what you have to be able to convey this to other people so that they understand. I think it's great that your friend has come around and realized you know what these policies were actually good for the country. But unfortunately I was just barraged by this massive media campaign to demonize the guy. I may not have liked the personality to begin with and you know, tds is a real thing. Trump derangement syndrome in many of these cases caused people to vote for somebody, in my opinion, who was not cognizant back in the debates beforehand and was clearly kept out of the public eye. Michael, what would you like to leave the audience with? And one more time, let people know how they can support the Reagan Legacy Foundation.

Speaker 6:

Learn all you can about America. Really study the history of this country. Read the history of these men and women now who have given everything so you and I can have discussions. Learn how to love again. You know one of these things I tell people my father said at dinner table at Thanksgiving, at Christmas, with two children who voted against one child who marched on Washington DC when he was president of the United States, but they were still allowed to be at the table and have dinner at Thanksgiving and at Christmas. You don't shun people because you may disagree with them on this issue or that issue. Learn to embrace people. Ronald Reagan was elected by people who disagreed with him politically, but they liked and loved Ronald Reagan. If we find that candidate, if we find that person who's going to be the most likable and most loved, we'll win again. But you got to learn to love and not hate in order to move America forward.

Speaker 1:

Michael, thank you so much and by the way.

Speaker 6:

The Reagan Legacy Foundationorg is where you can go to help us out with the kids.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Thank you again so much for spending time with us. We really do appreciate it. Before we get to the forever young veterans, the mother-son combo of Diane and Daniel, we're going to go to this video right now. Another very powerful video. This is the Veterans Day Special. Stay tuned.

Speaker 7:

You know, you see these veterans walking around the streets of your town, but very few of us know what's really going on inside of them. They are suffering silently and they need us. When I started for every young in 2006, I had no idea the changes that would take place in the lives of our veterans.

Speaker 2:

I wasn't emotional in the war. I was a hired killer. But things change when you get old. Well, I got me a jet flag. I don't know anybody, my buddies had any, so I thought I had a real trophy. I don't need it anymore, but I have a journey to get that flag to these people. Welcome to my house. I used to be in this, but not anymore, and I don't want to be in this at all, and I know you don't. I don't feel like a hero. I never was, but this tells me that I still got a heart.

Speaker 7:

When it comes to honoring these heroes, get ready for the unexpected, like the story of KT Robbins, who fell in love with a French girl during World War II.

Speaker 8:

Her picture never, never left me. I kept it all this year. If you don't ever kiss your first love, never. And that was my first love and I was hoping one day I would get to go back to see her. But I never dreamed it would happen. But for every young made it happen. She really got up out of her chair and started to come to meet me and we hugged and we kissed. We loved each other. We'd always loved each other. Really Every time I hugged her I would hold her on the picture that long and something like this happened to her. It made me cry. When I met her, when I left. When I left, I cried.

Speaker 7:

Originally I had started it just to bring joy into their lives and grant some small individual wishes, but it has become so much more.

Speaker 9:

This week, 24 World War II veterans from Tennessee and Mississippi made a pilgrimage to see the World.

Speaker 10:

War II Memorial in Washington DC for the first time.

Speaker 11:

It's a great thing. It's a great feeling to realize that people turn their parts to bring us to these places. We still honor the people who did not come back. They're the real heroes. We just did what we were expected to do.

Speaker 7:

Each star represents 100 men that died.

Speaker 8:

I hope I can represent the true heroes that didn't come back.

Speaker 1:

They fought in a war.

Speaker 7:

So many of our veterans from war realized that they have PTSD and they have just dealt with this in their own way, and that is why going back to where they fought gives them the opportunity to find this type of healing.

Speaker 2:

I just feel that this gratitude to be able at my age to come back one more time and pay my respect to these guys. I fought with some of these they're a beard here. I just kind of feel obligated and appreciate so much. Seven times I've been able to come back to this and I pay my respects to these guys because I couldn't bring them back to home.

Speaker 7:

We've had so many family members tell us I've learned more about my dad on this trip than all the years living with him.

Speaker 12:

They don't want to do it.

Speaker 13:

Every time I come in here and talk to anybody, it's emotional.

Speaker 2:

But I can't have it.

Speaker 7:

It's just there, WT Hardwick, a POW brought back four generations of his family.

Speaker 11:

I want them to tell their children that they walked on the beach where I made the invasion Flags mark his headstone. So I'll let you lead the way.

Speaker 1:

You see, right there, yeah, yeah, bless your heart, bless your heart, bless your heart, bless your heart, bless your heart, bless your heart, bless your heart, bless your heart Bless your heart.

Speaker 8:

Bless your heart. Bless your heart. Bless your heart. Bless your heart. Bless your heart. Bless your heart. Bless your heart.

Speaker 1:

Bless your heart healing and we are back with Diane and Daniel height of forever young veterans. Thank you, guys, so much for joining us. And Diane, let's start with you. What was the moment that you knew that you were actually going to do something and put this together and take an idea into fruition, and what was that first move like?

Speaker 7:

Well, I know this might sound silly, but I had this feeling that I had a calling and I didn't know what it was. I just felt this nudging and appalling to do something and I went into my bedroom and I got down on my knees and I prayed and I said God, what is this that I'm feeling? And at this time and the evening, 530 at night, is when this took place I never watched the national news ever and I was always cooking dinner for my family, and so my husband was on a trip and my children were gone because they were older, and I went in and turned on the TV and there was a nonprofit in Indiana and they were granting a wish for a 92 year old lady and she had always wanted to ride in a race car at the Indianapolis 500. And so they had her going around the racetrack 200 miles an hour, she gets out of her car and she's got on racing gear and oh, just the joy on her face. And when I saw it, because I've always loved the elderly I thought this is what I'm going to do. However, I wanted to honor our veterans. I told you before about my dad, and he became an alcoholic after World War II and I just wanted to give back to the World War II veterans, because my dad was so patriotic, he loved America, but he had never asked for anything from our country, and so I thought if I could just do some small wishes to bring joy, then that would just make them happy and it would make me happy too. And I could do this in memory of my father. And so we did start doing some small wishes. They didn't stay small very long, but here's what we found. We found that our veterans were suffering just like my dad and their families were suffering just like ours, and I realized at that point that they needed us desperately. And then I knew that we were going to go from small wishes and we still grant wishes but we were going to have more of a mission on honor and healing.

Speaker 1:

Well now, that's been dozens of missions. You've expanded greatly. You've produced some of the best videos I've ever seen on the subject. We're going to show some of those videos as well. Daniel, when do you get involved in this?

Speaker 14:

I got involved back in 2013. I was actually in TV news, started as a photographer, ended up becoming on-air reporter. So I've always been fascinated with just stories in general and I tell you what going on these trips with these veterans, taking them back to the places where they fought, and having the opportunity to capture these stories has been. I mean, it's almost a dream job. I mean, there's other duties that I do, but that's one of the I guess you could say one of my passions is telling their stories and they're easy to tell because they're gosh so much sacrifice involved in what they've done and so many of them still carry so much of that pain and to watch it unfold you know, with Jeff Williamson getting down with that cross and kneeling for a buddy that he had lost and to witness this and capture it on film has been really remarkable for me.

Speaker 1:

And you're not just affecting the lives of the veterans themselves, as you state in the video. There are so many family members that are like, oh my God, I never knew this about my father. I didn't understand what was going on. This has been extremely insightful, so we're going to go to one of those videos and we're going to go to the one on the DC trip. Let's hit that clip.

Speaker 11:

That was something when you step off that plane and these people there waving flags, clapping, that blowed me away. I really wasn't expecting that, since I've been back from Vietnam when I come home didn't. Nobody want to hear about it. I mean, they just didn't care. But it just seemed like people finally woke up and realized we did a good job.

Speaker 7:

When we go on our trips of honor, we just see miracles take place, because, as we honor them, the walls begin to crumble and healing begins. Right now, just for a moment, I would like for you to mention some of the people. We can never forget them, or their names. William Blackman, david Kuhn.

Speaker 10:

Jason Tilden.

Speaker 11:

I hate to get emotional in front of somebody, but I've seen in there that I wasn't the only one that way.

Speaker 7:

It is a very difficult road to go down. They have to be willing to hurt in order to heal. They enjoy the camaraderie and it doesn't matter if they are a man or a woman where they served their rank, their brothers and sisters, their family, and because of it they can share their stories with one another, and that's a very important part of their healing.

Speaker 13:

That affected me more than anything the fact that a group of total strangers can come together and get that close to that shorter length of time, because we all have something in common.

Speaker 1:

What a powerful experience it must have been. I'd love to get your insight on that, but I also know trips like that are not cheap, so I also like you to tell our audience how they can get involved so that more experiences like that can be had.

Speaker 14:

Jason, we've got more veterans on our waiting list right now than we have funds to take them either to Washington DC or back to the places where they fought. So people really can play a huge role in bringing honor and healing to our nation's heroes, and they can go to foreveryoungbetsorg. There's a button in the top right hand corner of the website where you can make a donation, and you can choose to get one time or set up a recurring gift, which we love, because then we can make plans based on those recurring gifts, and so it's a very simple, easy way to give.

Speaker 7:

And also we're going to Normandy for the 80th anniversary in June of 24 and we have a lot of money to raise. We have about 15 World War II veterans on the list right now. We have three D-Day vets and we have two more that are going to. Let us know if they're going to go so we can have five. We have several Normandy vets. We have a lot of combat vets that fought all the way through France and Belgium, luxembourg, into Germany. One of the World War II veterans that were taken with us is a Normandy vet, tim Canire, and he was a medic and he went into Normandy and his story is incredible because a lot of people may not know this and I am one of those. He told me that when he got into Normandy they assigned him to the men that had lost their minds during the invasion, so he took care of them. And then he goes up to the Battle of the Bulge and we returned him to the 75th anniversary of Belgium and we were able to go to the exact place, the building where he served as a medic and took care of the wounded. And then he went on into Germany and he was one of the first after liberation that went into Buchenwald concentration camp to take care of the survivors. So you see the kind of men that we are returning, and they are 96 to 102. So they are getting up in years, but we have medical teams that go with us, we have physicians and we take very good care of them, but we need people to help us get them over. It's just so important for them to return. This is the 80th, so will they be able to go to many more anniversaries? I don't think so. That's why this is really urgent.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, and you think about that. You know 96 to 102. Think about how young these people were literally not 18 years old. Some of these people were as young as 16 and then early 20s, in a global conflict that really has defined the rest of the world since that point. I want to go to another story. I want to go to Skip Funk's story. Again, these stories are incredible and I hope my audience takes note and participates by making that donation. Let's go to the clip.

Speaker 10:

My name is Skip Funk and I was a Marine Corporal at Kaysan, vietnam. I had just come off a radio watch. It was five in the morning when the first round of incoming hit the base and I know that it was the first round because it landed about three feet from my bunker. And when this thing hit I thought the end of the world had happened. And that was my first experience under fire. We were mostly defensive, we couldn't get out and they couldn't get in. We knew that they really didn't want the base for, if nothing else, propaganda purposes, but we just absolutely were not going to let them have it. We just connected and I would go down to his bunker or he'd come down to mine at least two or three times a week and we would just sit and talk. And he was from Bear River City, utah, and he was on his second tour in Vietnam. We were under this terrible barrage and somebody hollered out we need help and I ran out of the bunker and I looked down and I saw it was Gary's bunker and I ran down there and we started lifting sandbags and debris and everything, getting it out of there, trying to get down to the men that were trapped and when we got down there there was nothing we could do for any of them. It was just so horrific and I picked up what I think was Gary and carried it to an ambulance and off they went. I will remember that moment well for the rest of my life because I can still see it as clearly today as it was then. I don't know. I just thought right then. This is getting to be kind of personal now. Now, four years ago, we had a forever young trip to Washington DC and we went to the Vietnam Wall and when we got there myself and another Marine I told him. I said, phil, let's walk down to the end of the wall and then turn around and then slowly come back this way. And he said, okay, let's do that. Emily, one of the ladies in our group stopped us as we're walking toward the end of the wall. She said let me take your all's picture. Later, when I looked at the picture and enlarged it, you could see Gary's name very plainly there on the wall. I mean, what are the eyes of that happening? There are over 58,000 names on that wall, and what are the eyes of me stopping where one name would show up over my shoulder, gary was telling me skip. I know that you're here and I want you to know. I appreciate you coming and I love you, brother. I call it a God moment.

Speaker 1:

And we are back. I want to focus a little bit in on the Vietnam veterans, as we've seen a few of them. You know, a lot of these people did feel disregarded and misrepresented when they came back and obviously from very traumatic experience, we've seen the emotions break out just in these videos alone. What are your memorable moments? Some of those with some of these Vietnam veterans on these trips?

Speaker 7:

I absolutely adore the Vietnam vets. We were honoring the World War II veterans and the Korean War veterans for so many years and then, of course, because of their ages, we started working with the Vietnam veterans and I didn't know how it was going to be because I didn't know very much about the Vietnam Vietnam war compared to war two or to Korea. But they are so wonderful to work with. They are open and so grateful and so appreciative. It has been the most amazing experience. We have done quite a few Vietnam groups. We have been to DC with them many times. But we did have a wish from a 25th Infantry Division, larry DeBesh. We were in DC and he said to me you know what I really want? I would love to go to the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. And he said, if you could take me there, it would be the greatest thing that ever happened to me, it would be the highlight of my life. And I thought, well, if it means that much to him, then maybe this is something that we should build a trip around. And so we did. We started getting 25th Infantry Division veterans from Vietnam and we took some other vets as well, some that were attached to the 25th and we went there in September and it was just one of the most amazing wishes and let me tell you this is encouraging. If you have any doubts about the young people in America, go visit the 25th Infantry Division Because when we brought our veterans in there and there were all these young people and we're talking early 20s men and women there weren't any phones. They were so engaged in our vets and it was like they were rock stars. It was so fun to see some of the active duty men and women say oh, there's a door gunner, I've never met a door gunner before. Oh, there's a Huey helicopter pilot, I've never met a Huey helicopter pilot before. It was just so much fun. And there were one. There was.

Speaker 1:

And I speak to the camaraderie of the generations of those that have served in the military forces and how you know they don't look at them in a negative light. They're excited to hear their experiences and what they dealt with, and I'm sure that is very effective in the morale of these veterans as well. I mean, we saw it in the video and the video work, by the way, is absolutely tremendous. Daniel, you know, coming from media, you know the importance of putting together a story that's palpable in order to get that funding so you can create more stories like that. So could you speak to that aspect of putting together these little mini documentaries?

Speaker 14:

Yeah, I mean, I think it really has kind of changed the course of our organization, you know, because you can take some pictures, you can put them up on social media. That's wonderful, but when you get to see and you can feel that emotion, it really does help people out there kind of understand what these men went through. And so you know my mother's. She's an incredible human being. I've really enjoyed being a part of this organization and watching her. You know love on the veterans and then I get to, you know, tell their stories and put them out there for the world, because stories really do have a way of moving us and changing us. And I'm just so grateful for the veterans that they will allow me to tell their stories. And I think it kind of goes back to what Mike Reagan was saying just a little earlier. It's a perfect way to educate the younger generations. I mean they all stuck on our phones. You know, let's tell the stories of the veterans so that they can learn a little bit of history and sacrifice and the fact that the freedoms they have is because of these men and women.

Speaker 1:

And you know that Michael Reagan segment was absolutely fantastic, but I didn't realize it was going to get as emotional as it did. I mean, this is, you know, a talk show, but you guys are right there in the mix of it. I bet it often gets emotional. How often are you kind of overpowered by those emotions and maybe even have to take a step back for a moment and reconvene and get yourself together? It has to be a lot.

Speaker 7:

It happens often. And when we go to Washington DC we spend four nights there. So it's about relationships. So we'll have the roundtable time where we go and they just open up and talk. And you know what I hear on these trips constantly. I've never told anyone this before. How often do we hear that sentence? We will have veterans that will say I have tried to commit suicide several times. I have never told anyone this before. Our Vietnam veterans, they have suffered in so many ways to be able to honor them. And let me tell you, we honor them from the minute we leave until we get back and when we see how much it means to them, it is very emotional. And then when they began to just open up and pour out their hurts, it's emotional. And we see many, many times to where they are weeping over things that have happened to them. But you know what, when we're on these trips, we give them so much love, so much respect, so much honor that it's healing for them.

Speaker 1:

So let's go to this next story, let's go to the Ken Wells story. Again, another powerful segment here from Forever Young Veterans.

Speaker 12:

I'm Ken Wells. I spent nine years in the Air Force flying Air Force, flew Air Force during the Vietnam War and was captured and was a prisoner of war during about 15 and a half months. At that time, the particular mission that I was on on the 18th of December of 1971 turned into an air-to-air mission. We ended up chasing some MiG-21s up and across North Vietnam into Red China and then jumped by two more MiGs as we were trying to egress back out of there. You know, you hear about people that say their lives flashed through their minds. That kind of happened to me too, just thinking about my family. My wife at that point was nine months pregnant do any day to have her first child. So I'm obviously thinking about her and our unborn baby. Going through your mind is what you need to do to prepare for this. At daybreak the next morning when we started hearing Vietnamese in the jungle area. Shortly after that, we were actually captured. They stripped me down to my fruit of the looms, tied my wrists and elbows together behind my back, tied two ropes around my neck one out front, one out back, and off. We went through the jungle. Well, 1971 was a very difficult year, not only for me, but for my wife and her entire family. On the 4th of March of 1971, my wife's brother, rodney D Osborne, was flying in an Army Security Agency aircraft in North Vietnam. His aircraft was shot down. He was one of five crew members killed that day. So the same year that Candy was dealing with the death of her brother and then, all of a sudden, her husband was captured. After we'd been there a couple weeks, a guard had pulled us out of our cell for a while, for a couple hours. When we got brought back to our cell, we found a piece of candy on the floor, a piece of paper wrapped around it, and it was a note. It was from the old guys that had been there and it started out by saying welcome to the zoo. There are 79 prisoners in this camp other than yourselves. You three are the only three that have been in this camp less than five repeat, five years. When we found that out, I think we no longer felt sorry for ourselves. We tried to think of how we could help these guys and through that note we set up way to communicate. I could see the hole in the end of the building that they had drilled through and actually they had to drill it up high so the guards wouldn't find it. So one man had to stand on the shoulders of another man just to get up to that hole. They'd stick a wire through the hole and they'd flick it up and down once for a dot, twice for a dash, and use a Morris code to send to me. Then he could see my whole hand through the porthole and I could transmit back to him using the visual alphabet, similar to American sign language. So we communicated that way about an hour every day. These old guys, they had about 40 questions that they asked us To send us, all the information you can think about in the outside world in the last five years. It kind of gave us a purpose for being there and a purpose for the day. What we're concentrating on, how can we get this information to them without being caught? And if you were ever caught communicating, you were tortured for it. I spoke at a medically based dinner. There was a bunch of doctors in Sarasota, florida. One time I was telling my story and a gentleman came up to me afterwards and introduced himself and he said my name is Mike Andrews. I was the man standing on the shoulders of the other guy to communicate to you. So they really appreciated whatever information we could send to them and it, like I say, gave us purpose. One of the hard questions they asked us was when do you think we're going to get out of here? I said, well, we're going to get out on the 29th of March of 73, because that was my wife's birthday. As soon as the last man's foot hit the ramp, the ramp came up, the engines were started, we taxied out, pulled on the runway and I don't think two words were spoken the whole time, because they had lied to us so many times during our captivity. We just didn't even know if this is for real until we got airborne and the gear came off and then the whole place broke loose. We knew we were going home and by the time we flew to the Philippines and got to the hospital there and I called my wife at home. It was the 29th of March of birthdays. I want people to appreciate freedom. Whatever you think of when you think of freedom, just know that it is a privilege and something we need to protect and hold on to. And that may have just been the most powerful of the stories.

Speaker 1:

I mean, it's really a story of human ingenuity, survival and humanity just completely and totally incredible. We've got a little less than 10 minutes left in the broadcast. I'd like to focus on what you guys are doing now. What's coming up aside from that big Normandy trip? Because I know that again, you've done dozens of these missions. It will probably be hundreds, maybe even thousands before it's over, but you've already affected hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. So what's coming up for? Forever young veterans.

Speaker 7:

Well, there's several things that we are working on. Of course, we're trying to raise funds for Normandy, but we did a show in 2013, 2015, for World War II veterans. It was the biggest celebration. It was like Broadway and it was amazing. But you know, we want to do something for our Vietnam veterans. Of course, it's going to be a little different than doing a World War II show, but one thing that we can do for them is we can honor them, we can show them respect and love, and that's what we're going to do. So in October of 24, we're going to be doing this presentation, like we did for our World War II veterans, for Vietnam veterans in Memphis.

Speaker 1:

ForeverYoungVetsorg is where people can support you guys. Go ahead, Daniel.

Speaker 14:

We've also got trips to DC planned for our veterans. So World War II, korea, vietnam, really any veteran that's 65 years and older you don't have to be a combat veteran to take part in that and we find that the Washington DC trip is really powerful for the Vietnam veterans. We haven't taken a trip back to Vietnam yet. We actually have one planned for 2020 and well, you know what happened during that year. So that kind of got squelched. But we just find the DC trip to be just the sweet spot for the Vietnam veterans because a lot of them are very hesitant to go and to deal with. You know, they never got that welcome home and so a lot of them saying I don't want to bring that back up, I don't want to deal with it. But DC tends to be that perfect environment. We had a veteran that came with us in May and he, you know, he had a buddy that was, I guess you'd call him a buddy, but he was a replacement that had come in and he had carried this weight with him for so long. His buddy came in as a replacement and wasn't battle hardened at all, and so the guys in his little unit there would just pick on and they called him Cherry Boy and Cherry Boy got wounded and Doug was standing right there with him and said and you know, as he was laying there on the gurn and he goes, cherry Boy, huh, and that soldier ended up dying. And so this veteran for 50 years has carried that. He felt terrible. I'm going to get emotional just talking about this because it's really impactful. But in the video you saw Doug with his hand on the wall and his buddy there consoling him, and he had gone to the wall to ask for forgiveness, and we saw a total change in Doug after that, and it was a beautiful thing to see. And so we see things happen like this, and so that's why we're planning these trips to DC. We want to get more of our Vietnam veterans in on those trips. We want to give them the welcome home that they never got and help them release some of the burden that they carry, even if it's just a little bit, we want to help.

Speaker 7:

I want to say something about Doug. His wife said to me when he got back from that trip they had a little welcome for them at the airport. And she said when I saw Doug his eyes were different. And so she said to him something must have happened there, because you don't look the same.

Speaker 1:

Well, talking about DC, I think it is kind of that perfect place. Now, first of all, I'm no fan of DC and the politics that go on there, but historically, what you and you know I've been DC many a time it is very beautiful at some of the historical sites and obviously you know not only the White House and the capital, but you do have these memorials, you do have the Smithsonian, etc. The George Washington Memorial. It's just so rich in history. And then for the veterans it's also a very large military place. It's a place that you can walk around and you'll actually see people in uniform and I think that interaction absolutely helps, especially for those that may have never been to DC before. So do you see that in the people that have never been there before, like they're surprised? And it really is that mending moment.

Speaker 14:

Jason, I would argue that they are 100% blown away because they have no idea. I mean, it's kind of like what you're saying. They think of DC is this, you know, as a swamp or whatever. But there are, there are some good people in DC and they just come out and they shower the veterans with love and praise and gratitude and I think it is almost shocking to the veterans, especially our Vietnam veterans, who never, you know, you know Washington DC could, could very well, have been the center of the dishonor that they received when they came home in the 70s, and so they are surprised.

Speaker 7:

Yes, and it's a military trip to. One of the most special things that we do is the wreath laying at the tomb of the unknown soldier, and so we have four veterans that do this and we allow the group to pick the four men or women we have ladies to that do the wreath laying and that is a highlight for them and that it means everything to them. They often speak about how that was healing to them to be able to do that.

Speaker 1:

We've got a few minutes left in the broadcast. What would you like to leave the audience with? And let them know again forever young vetsorg is where they can support you and I'm encouraging my audience, big or small. Make that donation today, go ahead guys.

Speaker 7:

Well, we lost a lot of men and women in our wars and we have a lot of veterans that came back, but they left a part of them over there and, just like my dad, that have suffered so much. I want our veterans to know that you have a family at forever. Young veterans, we care deeply about you and we want to honor you, no matter how big or small. We would love for you to reach out for us, to us and for those of you who want to help us continue this very important mission. Please contact us. I have never taken a salary. I do this totally for my dad I. This is my gift to him to be able to help his comrades and to help those who have fought. It means everything to me. So we would just really love to hear from you, and anything you can do would be greatly appreciated.

Speaker 1:

Diane, daniel. Thank you guys so much. We really do appreciate you forever. Young vetsorg is how you guys can get involved. I hope that everybody enjoyed this commercial free Veterans Day broadcast. I want to thank everybody for joining us Monday through Friday, 6pm Eastern time, over at amp news. Dot us where the truth lives and remember it's not about right or left, it's always about right and wrong. I absolutely love you guys and we'll see on the flip side.

Speaker 9:

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Honoring Veterans and Promoting Historical Education
Honoring Veterans and Loving America
(Cont.) Honoring Veterans and Loving America
Honoring Veterans and Healing Together
Honoring Veterans Through Storytelling
Honoring Young Veterans and Seeking Support