Taking the Hill with Patrick Murphy | November 10, 2013
>>> welcome back to "taking the hill," live from the 9/11 memorial and museum. as we honor our nation's veterans , it's fitting we should be on this hallowed ground . many of the newest veterans enlisted because of the events that took place here that day 12 years ago. we said we will never forget. now we extend that simple slogan to the millions of men and women who answered the call to arms . it's a mission my next guests are dedicated to. joining me is joe daniels , president and ceo of the national september 11th memorial and new see yum and u.s. army captain jenna , who founded the veterans project in honor of her husband, who was killed in action in iraq . guys, thank you so much for being here with us today. joe, tell us about the memorial but also what you've done leading up to veterans day here this weekend.
>> well, we wanted to acknowledge just like you said on this very sacred ground where 2,983 names are around the 9/11 memorial pools. we wanted to acknowledge the sacrifice of veterans . so many of which signed up for the military as their response to 9/11. this whole week we've been welcoming them. we've been welcoming their families. the number of first responders who were veterans who chose to continue their service as a police officer , as a firefighter. it's been great to see tens of thousands of the general public come here and pay their respects to our veterans .
>> yeah, and you get about almost 20,000 people visit here a day.
>> exactly. we've been open about two years. we opened on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. we've had 10.5 million people visit in that time. all 50 states , more than 175 countries. it really has become the physical embodiment of the coming together that we saw after 9/11 itself. it's been really, really tremendous.
>> yeah, one of those veterans we talked about enlisting because of that day is jenna . you signed up when you were a freshman at johns hopkins university . can you tell us your story?
>> i was a senior in high school when the attacks happened. it got me thinking about what more i could do in the future to contribute to this country that actually is not my own by birth. i came to the united states when i was 10 from scotland. i became a citizen a few years after i started college so that i could contract and become an officer in the army. it was there that when i was going through training in rotc that i met my husband. we got married shortly after i graduated from college. he was three years older and was on his second tour in iraq when he was killed in action. you know, the reason that i'm here today is in large part because of all of the things i was fortunate enough to learn from him. i developed, i think, into much of the person i am now because of the lessons he taught me and the things that when i was that young. i mean, 18 years old. the things that i learned.
>> what year was it he was killed?
>> it was april 7th , 2007 . i decided thereafter to change some things i was doing some things at the time. i was in law school on an educational delay but getting ready to go in the army myself. i decided i wanted to do that sooner rather than later. i withdrew from school at the time. i went on active duty , deployed to iraq and later just this past summer to afghanistan . but even then, i still felt there was more i could do. that's where i founded the captain jonathan grassbaugh veterans project at the ohio state university college of law .
>> thank you for flying in to be here today from ohio . what does that project do?
>> what we're doing is essentially helping veterans that are coming back to ohio . ohio has 900,000 veterans , over 900,000 that are currently in the state, which is the sixth highest in the country. a lot of them have significant legal issues that they don't have any other place to turn for advice when they come home. so what we're doing is taking law students, pairing them with practicing attorneys, many of whom are in the ohio national guard as jag attorneys, and those students are working with those lawyers to provide veterans with free legal services in landlord/tenant disputes, credit card issues, all these things that can cause such a stress. really, if we can just address them earlier in the process, it can become a much better situation for everybody involved. that veteran can go on to do greater things with their life.
>> yeah, that's awesome. real quick, joe, the yellow roses. can you explain to the audience what they are?
>> sure. we had an idea that on this special week we would acknowledge the veterans who died on 9/11 with yellow roses placed in their names. you can see there's a particularly high concentration. that section over behind my shoulder is the section of the pentagon where so many active duty military were serving. down farther on the south pool is the 440 first responders that died on 9/11. a tremendous amount of which were veterans . it's important to recognize their sacrifice beforehand as well.
>> and how about the museum? when will this open?
>> we'll open this in the spring of 2014 . what people will see is not just a history of what happened on the day of 9/11 but how people came together. particularly for those, for our military, we will show what the sacrifices that have been made over in afghanistan and iraq and other places around the world and people will understand that 9/11 was an incredibly pivotal event that affected millions of peoples lives.
>> jenna , your transition back from iraq and afghanistan , how was that?
>> i think i was one of the lucky ones . i had the family support. i had the friends that would put up with me when i had maybe a rough day . a lot of that had to do with the fact that i didn't deal initially perhaps in the way that i should have with some of the fallout of losing jon. certainly it made going over there difficult. it made coming home from there difficult. but i've been fortunate to have their support. the thing is, i know that not everyone is so lucky. that, to me, is one of the biggest reasons why we need projects like the wounded warrior project and why i decided to take what was the insurance money from jon's death and use that as the endowment money to fund the project at osu. to me, there's nothing greater that money could ever buy.
>> well, both of you, thank you so much. the story is so powerful. we're honored to have you here today.
>> thank you.
>> that wraps up this hour of "taking the hill." one final note before we go. tomorrow, as you know, is veterans day , a time to honor america's living heroes. some from past wars, some now just returning from active military theater . they may be your brother or sister, father or mother, son or daughter, even your neighbor. if nothing else, tomorrow give their sacrifices a thought or two. give them a moment of appreciation for the freedoms that you have, which they have fought so valiantly for. in the past hour, i thought we shed light on some of the hardships these veterans face when they come back home from war and perhaps we can all provide some solutions and ideas and assistance to veterans so they don't have to take the hill here at home alone . thanks for joining us. i'm patrick murphy . up next is "weekends with alex