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CNN NEWSROOM

President Obama Honors Veterans; War Strategy Session; Nidal Hasan on the Radar

Aired November 11, 2009 - 10:59   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. It is November 11th, Veterans Day. And here are the top stories for you in the CNN NEWSROOM.

You are looking live now at Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Live coverage this hour as President Obama honors the men and women who protect America.

Armistice Day in Europe. Countries mark the allied victory over Germany in World War I.

And the tragedy at Fort Hood. Did federal terror agencies bungle several opportunities to head of last week's shooting spree. Congress wants answers.

And good morning again, everyone. I'm Tony Harris. And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

President Obama leading the nation in honoring America's veterans. You're looking at live pictures from the annual Veterans Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery. The president taking part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Let's watch and listen.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

HARRIS: President Obama marking this Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery with the annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. The president will deliver remarks in about 25 minutes, and we will have live coverage for you right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

All right.

Thousands of people are going to various memorials in Washington D.C. Live pictures now of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

More of our Veterans Day coverage is straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: Live picture now from Arlington National Cemetery. You see there just going out of the frame the military Color Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The president making his way over to the memorial amphitheater, where he will be making remarks in about 20 minutes.

You know, on this Veterans Day, the nation is focused on those who fought, as well as those serving now. Many of you are divided on the issue of Afghanistan.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 40 percent of Americans favor the U.S. war in Afghanistan, 58 percent oppose it. When asked what President Obama should consider when making decisions about the Afghan war, 52 percent say the president should follow the recommendations of generals, 48 percent want him to consider other matters as well.

The president meets with his war council later today to discuss strategy in Afghanistan. We now know four options are on the table.

Live now to CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr.

And Barbara, the president will obviously discuss those options today during -- I believe this is the eighth meeting on Afghanistan strategy?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: When you keep count, Tony, that's what it looks like. This is number eight. When the president finishes these solemn ceremonies this morning at Arlington National Cemetery, on a cold, rainy day here in the nation's capital, back to the White House for more meetings about Afghanistan.

We are told, indeed, four options on the table. The official word is that the president has not made any decisions and is still thinking about all of this. The unofficial word is that there is a Pentagon-favored option. And if the president decides to listen to his generals, that will mean more troops for Afghanistan.

Sources telling CNN that the option, if you will, is to send about 34,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. This would include three Army brigades, a Marine unit. These are the units that are next in line to go anyhow, but it would, in fact, happen sooner. It would be a plus-up of the overall force levels there, plus a number of additional forces.

The real thing at the end of the day, when the decision is made, when the announcement is made, is to see what kind of additional combat power it puts on the ground, combat power to fight the Taliban and military power to help protect the Afghan people against the Taliban, which General McChrystal says is the top priority. Still to be sorted out, the betting money is by the end of the month, once the president returns from that Asia trip, we will begin to see an announcement -- Tony.

HARRIS: OK. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us.

Barbara, thank you.

President Obama discussing options and listening to advisers about troop levels in Afghanistan. We're listening to you.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. This is Kurt (ph) from Naples, Florida.

No. Don't send any more troops. Bring home our troops now from Afghanistan, please.

Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. This is Diane (ph) from Port St. Lucie.

I am appalled that the president has not sent troops over there at the request of the general. I feel with this delay, others could perhaps could have been spared if he would have acted more timely instead of running around for the Special Olympics -- for the Olympics for Chicago. I say, get with it. Do what you have to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Tony. My name is Ama (ph). I would like to comment.

I think we need to think twice before sending troops to Afghanistan. There has to be a very good strategy thinking, as the Afghanistan government is very corrupt. And, you know, yes, of course, we need to support our troops. However, we need to have kind of good strategy thinking.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HARRIS: Got to tell you, hundreds of you have called, and you continue to call, and we invite you to call. Here's the phone number: 1-877-742-5760. Let us know what you think the U.S. should do next in Afghanistan.

Tomorrow night at 9:00, he backed President Obama's run for office. Now Al Gore talks about what he thinks the president should do about the war in Afghanistan and why he says time is running out to take on global warming. Watch Al Gore on CNN's "LARRY KING LIVE," tomorrow, 9:00 Eastern.

Remembering those who have gone before us. In London, the queen and Duke of Edinburgh attended an Armistice Day ceremony at Westminster Abbey. Three of the remaining four World War I veterans from the United Kingdom died this year. The fourth lives in Australia.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: Let's see here. Let's set the scene.

You're looking at -- you'll see two scenes here in just a moment from the nation's capital on this Veterans Day. Right now you see people gathering at the Vietnam Veterans Wall. We are trying to get the World War II memorial up, but we are having some difficulties with that shot. But we'll get it fixed and show you that scene as well. A ceremony will be held here at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

We've got a powerful story from a Vietnam veteran to share with you now, one of the many i-Reports we're getting today here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Our Josh Levs has that for us -- Josh.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tony, you know, we're following what a lot of people are sending us in every which way, including via the i-Report system. And one of our i-Reporters went and spoke with a Vietnam veteran, and he talked about how difficult it was to come back and how much that differed from how it had been after World War II.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL BOSSMAN, VIETNAM VETERAN: People were behind it. Nobody was behind Vietnam, or at least not a lot of people.

World War II guys came back on cruise ships. It took three weeks, sometimes a little longer. And it was that time they had that they could decompress.

I left Vietnam at Benoit Airport at 8:30 at in the morning on a Sunday, and I got into Travis Air Force Base at 7:30 a.m. Sunday. And at 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, I was involved in a rocket and grenade attack.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEVS: We'll be hearing more from him later this hour about what it was like for him and some of the other Vietnam veterans to come back, what was going on in America at that time, and the challenges that he and so many other veterans faced at that point.

And Tony, we're also hearing a lot and thinking a lot about the veterans of today and the people who are off fighting. Really quickly, before I lose my time here, I want everyone to see a special we have up at ireport.com. It's right here.

And when you're at the main page of ireport.com, you can click and learn about some of today's troops and veterans who are no longer serving. But one of them I want to point out right here, this is from one of today's soldiers. And it says, "Proud father," posted by his mother.

And it says, "He's a first-time father. I know this is hard on him, but he's a soldier who is dedicated to defending our freedom. I think Nathan and all his comrades, past and present, for defending my freedom."

This is Nathan Kelly (ph) holding his baby there. That's from his mom, Pam Marshburn (ph).

And we've got lots more on ireport.com. A lot of emotional stuff, Tony, we'll be seeing later this afternoon.

HARRIS: I love that story from the Vietnam veteran. I know you have more for us later from that man's particular story, but I've got to tell you, I've been watching the pictures from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall throughout the morning. You're struck by a couple things.

First of all, as you take a look at the live pictures now, the families there, many year after year after year, paying tribute to their fallen loved ones. And then I've also been struck by the veterans who are clearly coming together and remembering stories and hugging and tears and laughter, Josh, as they reminisce. And I guess, I can only assume, talk about the old days and the new days as well.

LEVS: I'm glad you said that, because, you know, we, as a nation, think about our veterans today. We don't take that much time to think about what the veterans do today. And a lot of veterans today are think about their fallen comrades, but also times that they shared. And you're right, laughter and happy moments and real life.

HARRIS: Yes.

LEVS: And it's a beautiful thing in so many ways to see, what our nation does today.

HARRIS: Look at that. That scene right there is a microcosm.

All right, Josh. We'll talk to you in just a couple of minutes.

Let's do this -- let's get you caught up on our top stories right now.

British police say they've arrested a United Airlines pilot just minutes before he was supposed to take off for Chicago. They say he was intoxicated. The airline has suspended the pilot pending the outcome of the investigation.

Millions of Brazilians were plunged into darkness for hours after a massive power outage last night. Can you imagine? About 10 states were left without electricity. Car traffic stopped and people were trapped in elevators and subways.

Most of the power was restored this morning. The outage happened when a major hydroelectric dam lost power, but it's not exactly clear why.

A Tennessee woman orders up an extremely happy meal. The 23- year-old won $1 million in the McDonald's Monopoly game. Apparently, her drink cup had the winning pieces.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRANDI FUTCH, MILLION DOLLAR WINNER: I don't think it's really set in yet. It's unreal.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS: Ms. Futch -- yes, that's her name -- Ms. Futch reportedly will receive $50,000 a year for the next 20 years. Oh, happy day.

OK. Live pictures now of the amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery.

We are awaiting President Obama's remarks. We're back in the NEWSROOM right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: And once again, a live picture now of the memorial amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery, where in just a few moments, President Obama will be offering his remarks on this Veterans Day. And of course when those remarks begin, or just before, we will take you there live.

Friends describes her as Mighty Mouse. Police Sergeant Kimberly Munley is one of the heroes in the Fort Hood tragedy. She stopped the shooter with four bullets, but was wounded in the process.

Today, Officer Munley talked with Oprah Winfrey. "The entire incident," she says to Oprah, "was very confusing and chaotic. Many people outside pointing to the direction that this individual was apparently located, and as soon as I got out of my vehicle and ran up the hill is when things started getting pretty bad and we started encountering fire."

Boy.

You know, one of the dozens wounded in the shooting spree, Specialist Logan Burnette, he had multiple gunshot wounds, but somehow crawled to a door where an unidentified soldier pulled him to safety.

Burnette talked exclusively with CNN from a hospital in Killeen, Texas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPEC. LOGAN BURNETTE, FORT HOOD SHOOTING VICTIM: We heard the shooter continue to move to the opposite side of the building as he continued to fire. Very, very quick re-loader on that weapon. He was very swift, very tactical with what he was doing.

As he moved, me and two other soldiers in the cubical -- I wish I could remember their names -- decided it was time for us to get out of that building. So we grabbed each other. They helped me up to my feet because I couldn't move.

I started to run. As I started to run, I fell again, not realizing I couldn't use my left leg from where the bullet entered my hip at.

Made it about halfway to the front door. At the front door, I fell again. And at this point, I was, you know, grabbing all straws. I stood myself up again, threw all my body weight -- and as a big guy that's a lot -- towards that door as hard and as fast as possible. Once I hit that front door, I began to low-crawl about five meters up a hill, just, you know, pushing my body forward with everything I had.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: Let's turn our attention now to the investigation at Fort Hood. The Joint Task Force on Terrorism is taking plenty of heat today. The feds had suspect Nidal Hasan on their radar, but concluded his questionable activities did not add up to a threat.

Here's CNN's David Mattingly at Fort Hood.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We know Major Hasan's activities caught the attention of a joint task force investigating possible terrorist activity, but the question is, how far up the chain of command did that information go?

(voice-over): At a somber memorial service surrounded by families of the fallen soldiers, the president had strong words for alleged gunman Nidal Hasan.

BARACK H. OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice in this world and the next.

MATTINGLY: As the families grieve, the FBI was going through the trash outside Hasan's mosque in Killeen, Texas. And in Washington, growing questions about possible missed opportunities, with the Pentagon saying it was never told of a terror investigation that uncovered Hasan's relationship with a radical cleric.

Senior investigative officials tell CNN Hasan communicated at least 20 times with Anwar al Awlaki, who had close relationships with two 9/11 hijackers. Investigators reviewed those communications, determined they didn't appear threatening, and were consistent with Hasan's research as a psychiatrist.

Former Bush White House homeland security adviser Fran Townsend says it's often difficult to put the pieces of different investigations together.

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: It's very difficult for investigators to get all of that information in one place, especially when he's not the overall target of the investigation.

MATTINGLY: Hasan himself is saying nothing to investigators. He's under guard in the intensive care unit of this Army medical facility in San Antonio.

COL. JOHN GALLIGAN (RET.), NIDAL HASAN'S ATTORNEY: Let's ensure that the process is followed, that the investigation is complete, and that we proceed with the same kind of impartiality that we would want in any case involving anyone, including ourselves.

MATTINGLY (on camera): Hasan's defense attorney says he has received no notice of any pending charges from the Army, and he says he will seek to have his client physically and mentally examined to make sure that he is capable of participating in his defense.

David Mattingly, CNN, Fort Hood, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: And tonight at 10:00, "Through the Eyes of the Victims." Dr. Sanjay Gupta is granted access to soldiers wounded in the Fort Hood shootings. He goes one-on-one with the survivors to recreate the ordeal and look ahead to the road to recovery. That's tonight, "AC 360," 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Take a look at this. That's amazing. A major league rock slide to be sure in Polk County, Tennessee. A news crew from affiliate WDEF was shooting cleanup of a rock slide when another mountain crumbled. Some of the rocks as big as houses. Transportation workers say it will take at least a week to get 64 reopened. That feels optimistic, but they say they can do it. We'll take them at their word here. Let's get to Rob Marciano. Have you seen anything quite like that? That's amazing isn't it?

MARCIANO: Certainly amazing. Talk about rolling tape at the right time there. They had a problem in eastern Tennessee about a month or so ago with interstate 40 enduring something similar but I've never really seen something like that. That's cool stuff. Nobody hurt and you're right, if they can get that thing open in a couple...

HARRIS: That would be pretty amazing.

MARCIANO: I think it's going to take a while. But apparently they'll go in there by hand and just dig it out opposed to blasting it out which they did on 40. I'm not sure whether the rains that the southeast triggered that but it certainly didn't help, Tony.

This is all associated with Ida, as you know. So let's talk more about that. What's left of Ida across southern Georgia in through the Carolinas and it's actually going team up with some energy that may very well spell more trouble for folks up the Atlantic seaboard. We'll talk more about that in a second.

Midsection of the country looks good. Northwest a little bit of storminess there. The storminess across the Carolinas has some heavy rain with it. It's spurring some flooding that's of the moderate stage and in some case approaching major stages across northern Georgia, again including the Atlanta metropolitan area.

So, this is an area that is just now recovering from the floods that they saw, historic floods just a month and a half ago. Here's the forecast across the lower low country of the Carolinas, five inches or so in Wilmington, could see upwards of eight in the next two days across the Hampton Roads area and through the Delmarva peninsula. With that we're looking at area of low pressure here that's going to not only bring rain, but a lot of wind and some pounding surf for a good couple days. This is going to be a long duration wind and rain and wave event for this part of the coastline and it will stretch all the way up into southern Jersey as well.

So, this is going to be a bit of an issue for those folks to say the least. Check out some of the rain totals that we saw here across the southeast. Atlanta saw 4.5. We average about 4.5 for a month, for the month of November. To get that in one day is certainly a record. As a matter of fact, we haven't seen that much rain at the airport at least Tony since hurricane Dennis in 2005.

HARRIS: We remember how bad it was in September. It was ridiculous here.

MARCIANO: It was and in some spots, some areas, some neighborhoods are seeing floods not quite as bad but approaching that sort of bad deja vu. So we'll report that to you as those pictures come in.

HARRIS: Appreciate it. Thank you Rob, best to you.

MARCIANO: Likewise.

HARRIS: We'll have pictures now. If you see a veteran today, how about giving him or her a salute. If you know a vet, you can do better than that. People are in Washington, DC today to reflect on those who keep this country safe. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... where generations of heroes have come to rest and generations of Americans have come to show their gratitude. There are many honors and responsibilities that come with this job, but none is more profound than serving as commander in chief.

Yesterday I visited the troops at Ft. Hood. We gathered in remembrance of those we recently lost. We paid tribute to the lives they led. There was something that I saw in them, something that I see in the eyes of every soldier and sailor, airman, marine and coast guardsman that I have had the privilege to meet in this country and around the world and that thing is determination. In this time of war we gather here mindful that the generation serving today already deserves a place alongside previous generations for the courage they have shown and the sacrifices that they have made.

In an era where so many acted only in pursuit of narrow self- interest, they've chosen the opposite. They chose to serve a cause that is greater than self, many even after they knew they would be sent into harm's way. For the better part of a decade, they have endured tour after tour in distant and difficult places. They have protected us from danger and they have given others the opportunity for a better life. To all of them, to our veterans, to the fallen and to their families, there's no tribute, no commemoration, no praise that can truly match the magnitude of your service and your sacrifice.

This is a place where it is impossible not to be moved by that sacrifice. But even as we gather here this morning, people are gathering all across America, not only to express thanks of a grateful nation, but to tell stories that demand to be told. There are stories of wars whose names have come to define eras, battles that echo throughout history, the stories of patriots who sacrificed in pursuit of a more perfect union, of a grandfather who marched across Europe, of a friend who fought in Vietnam, of a sister who served in Iraq. They're the stories of generations of American who left home barely more than boys and girls, became men and women and returned home heroes.

When these Americans who had dedicated their lives to defending this country came home, many settled on a life of service choosing to make their entire lives a tour of duty. Many chose to live a quiet life trading one uniform and set of responsibilities for another -- doctor, engineer, teacher, mom, dad. They bought homes, raised families, built businesses. They built the greatest middle class the world has ever known. Some put away their medals, stayed humble about their service and moved on. Some carry shrapnel and scars found that they couldn't. We call this a holiday but for many veterans it's another day of memories that drive them to live their lives each day as best as they possibly can.

For our troops, it is another day in harm's way. For their families, it is another day to feel the absence of a loved one and the concern for their safety. For our wounded warriors, it's another day of slow and arduous recovery. And in this national cemetery, it is another day when grief remains fresh. So while it is important and proper that we mark this day, it is far more important we spend all our days determined to keep the promises that we've made to all who answer this country's call.

Carved into the marble behind me are the words of our first commander in chief when we assumed the soldier, we did not lay aside the citizen. Just as the contributions that our service men and women make to this nation don't end when they take off their uniform, neither do our obligations to them. And when we fulfill those obligations, we aren't just keeping faith with our veterans, we're keeping faith with the ideals of service and sacrifice upon which this republic was founded.

Now, if we're honest with ourselves, we'll admit that there have been times where we as a nation have betrayed that sacred trust. Our Vietnam veterans served with great honor and they often came home greeted not with gratitude or support, but with condemnation and neglect. That is something that will never happen again. To them and to all who have served in every battle in every war, we say that it's never too late to say thank you. We honor your service. We are forever grateful. And just as you have not forgotten your missing comrades, neither, ever will we.

Our service men and women have been doing right by America for generations and as long as I am commander in chief, America's going to do right by them. That is my message to all veterans today as my message to all who serve in harm's way, to the husbands and wives back home doing the parenting of two, to the parents who watch their sons and daughters go off to war and the children who wonder when mom and dad is coming home, to all our wounded warriors and to the families who laid a loved one to rest, America will not let you down. We will take care of our own.

And to those who are serving in far-flung places today, when your tour ends, when you see our flag, when you touch our soil, you will be home in an America that's forever here for you just as you have been there for us. That is my promise, our nation's promise to you.

Ninety one years ago today the battlefields of Europe fell quiet as World War I came to a close. We don't mark this day each year as a celebration of victory as proud of that victory as we are. We mark this day as a celebration of those who made victory possible. Today we keep in our minds the brave men and women of this young nation, generations of them, who above all else believed in and fought for a set of ideals.

Because they did, our country still stands. Our founding principles still shine. Nations around the world that once knew nothing but fear now know the blessings of freedom. That is why we fight in hopes of a day when we no longer need to. That is why we gather at these solemn remembrances and reminders of war to recommit ourselves to the hard work of peace. There will be a day before long when this generation of service men and women step out of uniform. They will build families and lives of their own. God willing, they will grow old. And some day their children and their children's children will gather here to honor them. Thank you. God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

HARRIS: The president of the United States, President Barack Obama paying tribute to those who have kept America safe and keep America safe by defending America, Veterans Day remarks from the president at Arlington National Cemetery.

We want to take a moment here to reflect on the sacrifices of one particular group of veterans. They are the aging heroes of World War II and many have never seen the memorial built in their honor and dedicated in 2004. Honor flight is a program that flies World War II veterans from around the country to see the memorial at no charge. We had the privilege of following nearly 80 veterans on that trip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's awesome. It's so big. I never imagined it would be this big.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The troops are on their way.

FRANK BALES: My name is Frank Bales and I'm from Idaho originally. August 18th, 1944, is when I crashed. That was a horrible mistake we shouldn't have got down. We shouldn't have even been hit that day. We were the only plane in the group to get hit. And some German gunner must have had a moment of ecstasy. I got one. I got one. That was a bad day and so four fellas were killed in the crash. Five of us survived. I almost didn't. I was declared -- reported to the base as deceased but I wasn't.

MARCUS LONG: My name is Marcus Long. I was a third class petty officer. I was a ship's cook. My battle station was the number one gun turret. We served in the South Pacific and our first engagement was in the Marshall Islands. We went on to Guam, Saipan (ph) (INAUDIBLE) went to the (INAUDIBLE) and also the Phillipines and Iwo Jima. The (INAUDIBLE) I think that they called it a turkey shoot when they shot down over 200 Japanese airplanes that day. These pictures we made on Guam playing baseball over there. I look at this photo right here not realizing how young I was and I'm 84 years old today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: World War II first Marine division.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really an honor to be here today with all those who have served.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's very important that there is a memorial for all of the fellas that didn't come back like my brother and my stepbrother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I miss a lot of my buddies. We went in the service together and they didn't make it back and we miss them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: That is terrific. Let's run that again next hour. The team hates when I do that, but let's run that again next hour. That's good stuff. If you'd like to learn more about honor flight, visit our impact your world website. That's at cnn.com/impact. You'll also find information on other organizations that honor our nation's troops this Veterans Day and throughout the year. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: You know, many veterans carry their war wounds on the inside. The combat paper project is trying to fix that by encouraging veterans to express themselves through art. The material they use in that art? Their uniforms. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

DREW MATOTT, FOUNDER, COMBAT PAPER PROJECT: It starts to float. And so if you don't beat the military uniform hard enough, we like to drop the roll, like, as soon as we put the fiber, the combat paper project through its workshops seeks to allow the veteran to kind of deconstruct their uniform and deconstruct their experiences in a very comfortable environment and create cathartic works of art.

ZACH CHOATE, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: When I got out, I'd been through, I'd gone through some injuries out of a tour in Iraq and I started to kind of struggle with the transition, civilian life and everything and I came across a group of guys that kind of felt the same way. And through this group of Iraq veterans, you know, I started to hear about the combat paper project as a way of kind of healing. MATOTT: A lot of the men and women will bring in images from their tours since they came home and they'll print those images onto the paper that they made from their uniform and then they'll print text along with it. So, they create these individualized, pieces of art on the uniform. Veterans will bring their uniforms in, and they'll just start deconstructing them by separating the buttons and then cutting them up. And some of them don't, you know, they kind of hang out and watch. But really part of the cathartic activity is just sitting around and talking to each other about their experiences.

CHOATE: The perfect bonding experience with these guys, you know, hearing their stories and while we were stripping down our uniforms.

MATOTT: Since they've come home, they all kind of seem like they're kind of undergoing the same troubles and the same kind of experiences. So, they're really are able to kind of bond over this.

CHOATE: To be able to take away a piece that has a little bit of somebody else is, I don't know, it's a good reminder that you are, you know, not in this alone. You are all in it together.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

HARRIS: Boy, more good stuff. We want to share with you more of a powerful story from a Vietnam veteran. One of the many iReports we're getting today in the CNN NEWSROOM, and Josh has that for us. And Josh, the first bit that you shared in the first half hour of the program was really strong.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah and we're going to hear more from him right now. In fact Tony, let me go straight to this. I want you to see the video because this will help set the scene for what we're talking about here. This is called the moving wall and it's a half-size replica of the Washington, DC Vietnam veterans memorial. It's been touring the country for more than 20 years. And people come there to pay their respects including a man we heard from earlier this hour. Our iReporter Julie Ellison talk with this Vietnam veteran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL BOSSMAN, VIETNAM VETERAN: I was drafted. And, you know, when -- when that happens and you're asked to do something, then you do it. So, we all went over there, because our country asked us to. You come back and have things the way they were. It wasn't right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEVS: It's heartbreaking.

HARRIS: Yeah.

LEVS: And, you know, he's bringing us back to this history and the time that so many Vietnam veterans that came back to a country that was not, you know, the kind of receptive welcome that they were looking for. I will tell you, because it's another piece of this picture here, but as this wall travels, we have another iReport video.

Some people turned out to pay their respects, even cheer for this wall. It shows you the way times have changed and this is some of the young people in Medford, Wisconsin who did turn out and they're thanking veterans for their service to the country.

And speaking about service, before I lose you here, let's zoom back into the board behind me. We have a special section, cnn.com/veterans that has all sorts of information and over here at ireport.com, I want you to check on some of these pictures.

I'm going to show you one right here, Tony that I think you'll like, salute to my wife and this one was sent to us from Stanley Drew. His wife Tina, is serving over there. We encourage you to send in your stories as well. We have a graphic for you. Here's how you can send in your thoughts, your ideas, your stories, your videos, your family's story too, cnn.com/josh. It's up on the blog, facebook and twitter at joshlevscnn. We'd love to hear from you.

HARRIS: Josh are we able to track how many veterans are in the country right now?

LEVS: We are. In fact next hour I'm going to tell you how many, how many have been wounded, surprising numbers about veterans in America.

HARRIS: Appreciate it, thanks Josh.

And here's a look at what we're working on for the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM, defending the man accused of killing 13 people in the Ft. Hood shooting rampage. The lawyer for Nidal Hasan explains why he took the case.

Senate Democrats try to wrangle enough votes to pass health care reform.

Plus your views on preventing Federal dollars for paying for abortions. We're back in a moment.

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HARRIS: Why don't we slip in a little business news before the top of the hour. The bond market is closed on this Veterans Day, but the stock market is open for business. So, how's business? Let's check in with Susan Lisovicz now at the New York Stock Exchange. Good to see you, Susan.

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tony, good to see you. It looks like it could be six for six for the Dow industrials going into today. The blue chips have gained about 500 points and we have a parade on this Veterans Day if you will of green arrows yet again.

Let me give you one highlight. Toll Brothers, big home builder says new orders up, cancellations down. Toll Brothers' shares up 14.5 percent. So, we're celebrating that. The Marines rang the opening bell on this Veterans Dday and we wave the flag here every single day. Right behind my head, you can see what is the very bottom of what is a 30-foot flag, American flag, that hangs there every single day.

HARRIS: Yeah.

LISOVICZ: To celebrate the greatness of this country and of our veterans' contributions to it.

HARRIS: Well said, Susan, see you in just a couple of minutes. Thank you.