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Veterans Day Celebrated; Musharraf News Conference

Aired November 11, 2007 - 16:00   ET


COLIN POWELL, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: With the name of the soldier to die first at the top of the right wall. The east wall. The names flow chronologically down the row to the right until reaching the earth to then flow spiritually through the earth and emerge at the bottom left and march upward to the top of the west wall to complete the cycle of life and death.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN, ANCHOR: Those are words from the former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. And then solemn ceremonies in Europe as well. Here's now a look at a tribute in England where November 11th is still called Armistice day, marking the treaty signing in 1918 that formally ended World War I. Every week we bring you CNN i- Reports. Today, some special ones on this Veterans Day. Our Josh Levs is here with a closer look at that.

JOSH LEVS, CNN, CORRESPONDENT: Because obviously, the president, all these big officials all over the world celebrate this world and talk about veterans. But so do Americans everywhere. And one thing we wanted to give you a platform today to just share your stories with us, your stories, your photos, these kinds of things. We've received a lot and what we're calling our salute to troops and we want you to have this look.


LEVS (voice-over): A song by a mom who misses her son, Brandon Sebastian.

FEMALE: God only knows the tears I cry. The anxious feelings down deep inside. Thinking of you...

LEVS: Among the many photos and stories sent in by CNN I-Reporters about their loved ones in Iraq. Shannon's husband James and their 6- week-old daughter in a last goodbye before his 15-month deployment. He's far from alone.

FEMALE: A picture of you with the big brown eyes staring at me. It brings me to my knees.

LEVS: (Naedra) Edwards left four kids at home and a husband who had just returned from his own deployment to Iraq when she was sent. Robin Chran's husband, Allen, with his best friend, she says, part of a canine unit that helps track down bombs. Our kids and I want to let them him and everyone know how proud we are of him, she writes.

Esther Gomez wants her friend, marine First Lieutenant Nikki (Delance), to know that she's thinking of her and that everyone hopes she stays safe. Some i-Reporters sent photos of troops working in Iraq.

FEMALE: A few more days you'll be coming home...

LEVS: Welcoming daddy home. This was Captain Kenny Rockwell on his R&R in July before he had to return to the war. Nathan Elliott's R&R was his first time holding his son in eight months but then there are the reunions that last longer. Captain Eric Tangerman returned after 15 months welcomed by his wife and three children. Captain James Mitchell returned after 16 months. For some who returned, a new beginning. Lance Corporal Jerald Boyd married his elementary school sweetheart, Sara. But many just like Deborah Weyerstrahs hope and pray every day for their loved ones far away.

FEMALE: God keep him safe tonight.


LEVS (on-screen): And of course, those are the sentiments of so many Americans today and people all over the world as you've been seeing. A lot of people thinking right now, on Veterans Day, about those one day who will one day be veterans. Our active troops right now fighting the fight on behalf of this nation as were in England and also elsewhere. So, Fred we've been receiving a lot of these and obviously it's very emotional. We wanted to take this opportunity to share those stories and note the salute to troops from CNN.

WHITFIELD: And it's nice because it gives us an opportunity and everybody an opportunity to get to know as best we can, you know, through an image or through kind of a poignant story who a lot of these servicemen and women are.

LEVS: And we, in our industry, we talk about the war all the time. I want to talk about the war, the war boils down to these individuals who are fighting it for the nation. And obviously no matter where you stand on any war, the fact is these people do this unbelievable thing and the sacrifice we're seeing right there, it is a nation that has chosen to send them and they lay their lives on the line for this, for our nation. So obviously, it's just a huge debt. And people can still send in. It's not over.

WHITFIELD: Yes. This is Veterans Day and we're able to kind of compile these. We are encouraging people to continue to send in more images, more stories so we can go to know better.

LEVS: Right. Just go to I'm sorry. Absolutely, yes. I mean all they got to do is and click I-reports. The photos, the stories, keep sending them and we're going to keep sharing them on air and also online.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, Josh.

LEVS: Thanks.

WHITFILED: And coming up, at the half hour, we've got much more to talk about. Ways in which people are paying tribute. Helping out America's veterans. Dan Caulfield is one of them. He is a founder of hire a hero. His nonprofit website hooks up service members with employers and helps vets find good jobs. He's a veteran himself so he knows what a lot of veterans are going through when they return from war, the kind of help that they could use to help find a job and try and restore their lives once again.

And in his first news conference since imposing a state of emergency, going overseas now, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced a time frame for national elections. But it's what he didn't say that complicates the run-up to the vote. The latest now from CNN's Karl Penhaul in Islamabad.


KARL PENHAUL, CNN, CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He called a news conference, even though his own emergency powers knocked independent media off the air in Pakistan. General Pervez Musharraf had a message designed to upset international criticism that his state of emergency marked a slide to dictatorship.

PRES. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTAN: I would request the election commission to hold the elections as soon as possible, as fast as possible. Which means if you calculate, 45 to 60 days from the 20th of November, we should have the elections before the 9th of January.

PENHAUL: But there's a catch. The president isn't saying when he will lift emergency rule.

MUSHARRAF: I do understand that emergency rule has to be lifted. But I cannot give a date for it. We are in a difficult situation and therefore, I cannot give a date.

PENHAUL: That may make it difficult for some candidates and political parties to campaign for general elections in January. Under emergency power, Mr. Musharraf has banned political rallies and repeatedly in the last week sent in security forces to break up gatherings with canes and tear gas. Some key opposition figures are under arrest. Their homes surrounded by police and barbed wire. Addressing another key international demand, Musharraf pledged to quite as army chief as soon as Pakistan's courts confirm his re- election as president. That could be sooner rather than later, after Musharraf fired uncompliant supreme court justices and replaced them with his allies.

MUSHARRAF: The moment we give a decision on the removal of the notification, on allowing us the notification, I shall take the oath of office as a civilian president of Pakistan.

PENHAUL: Musharraf repeated assertion Sunday that emergency rule had been necessary to fight an up tick in Islamic militant attacks. But said the decision had not been easy. MUSHARRAF: It wasn't easy, a bitter pill to swallow. There's no doubt about it. There's no doubt that this was the most difficult decision I've ever taken in my life.


PENHAUL (on-screen): A decision that Mr. Musharraf's war on terror ally, President George Bush, has been pushing him hard to reverse. Karl Penhaul, CNN, Islamabad.

WHITFIELD: And reaction now from the White House to today's announcement. Spokeswoman Dana Parino says the administration is hopeful.


SANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What we've called for is free and fair elections. We want them to happen as soon as possible. We're glad that he clarified for the Pakistani people that there would be free and fair elections. As to the date, we'll just see how that goes. The president has also said that the emergency rule would need to be lifted. So as the situation evolves, we'll continue to watch it and carefully monitor to see where it's going.


WHITFIELD: And notice she mentioned free and fair elections. But General Musharraf's critics say a prolonged state of emergency would make a fair vote unlikely if not impossible.

And now take a look at these pictures that was a bridge under construction. Now it's a pile of destruction. How did it happen? That's next in the NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: We're keeping an eye on Venezuela today after yesterday's street protests in the capital against proposed changes to the country's constitution. Opposition and human rights groups organized the demonstrations in Caracas and they say the changes threaten individual rights and are really a power grab by President Hugo Chavez. The marches were peaceful, after several days of protest but that eventually disintegrated into clashes. Here now is CNN's Harris Whitbeck.


HARRIS WHITBECK (voice-over): Sonia Ramirez, a 65-year-old retired secretary is well equipped for her role as an opposition protester.


WHITBECK: She's one of tens of thousands who see demonstrating in the streets as their last recourse against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's desire to change the country's constitution. To, they say, consolidate, his hold on power. RAMIREZ: It's all the power for the president and nothing for the people.

WHITBECK: The opposition is concerned about Chavez's intention in proposing the reforms.

RAMIREZ: Because there are 69 new articles that we don't know really what it means.

WHITBECK: On a street corner right in the path of the marchers, Orlando Godoy sells copies of the proposed changes. For the last ten years, he has sold copies of every piece of Venezuelan legislation. He says people who don't know what they mean simply haven't read them. And says he supports Chavez's initiative. As he tells us that, a by stander listens in. Getting angry, she starts arguing with him, telling him he doesn't know what he's talking about.

The fact that the changes being proposed are so fundamental to the way Venezuela runs its business, the inside opinions about them are quite passionate and that means street protests are bound to continue at least until election day. Harris Whitbeck, CNN, Caracas.


WHITFIELD: And for the first time in four years, the United Nations human rights envoy is on the ground in Myanmar. Carlo Sergio Pinero flew in to Yangon today. He had been barred from the country since November of 2003. Well, now he's on a mission to find out how many people were killed or detained in the government crackdown on pro- democracy demonstrators back in September. Pinero says he's determined to gain access to prisons and detention centers and that he'll cut short his trip if he doesn't get full cooperation from the country's military rulers.

Road to recovery. A city tradition is back in the big easy. See why New Orleans has reason to celebrate today.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN, METEOROLOGIST: And I'm meteorologist Jacqui Jeras in CNN's severe storm center. We've got storm after storm after storm lined up in the Pacific, but how is it going to affect you in the east? We'll let you know coming up.


WHITFIELD: The Canadian government is investigating how a bridge under construction suddenly came crashing down. It happened yesterday in southern Ontario. Construction workers were pouring concrete on top of the bridge when it collapsed. You see right here the end result. At least five of them were hurt, one seriously actually. Fire officials say it's amazing no one was pinned under all that twisted metal and cement. Thankfully that didn't happen.

Meantime, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are at the site of a major oil spill in the San Francisco Bay. They're trying to find out why a container ship hit a shield surrounding a bay bridge support tower on Wednesday. There was heavy fog at the time around the bay, and 58,000 gallons of oil actually spilled into the water. A preliminary coast guard report does blame human error. The spill has killed dozens of birds and of course polluted many beaches and piers.

Well, the price of oil, speaking of oil, is within striking distance of $100 a barrel. That's a pretty big number. But what does it mean for you and me? Higher gas prices, larger heating bills, even a more expensive gallon of milk perhaps. And guess what? No help from Washington in sight they say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are not going to affect the price at your pump. Not going to happen and it may be a good thing.


WHITFIELD: Well, it is the trouble with oil, a special report coming up tonight at 10:30 p.m. Eastern. You'll hear more from Frank Sesno there.

Well, let's check in with Jacqui Jeras in the CNN weather center. Boy, this has been a pretty busy weather weekend, we've seen snow, we've seen rain, we've seen too much drought. What else?

JERAS: Yes, I know and there's more of all of that to come unfortunately. And the west, really going to get pounded in the next couple of days. We're talking about a good four plus storms waiting out there in the Pacific just to affect you folks across the west. But one other thing about those storms is that they could bring the first significant chance of rain to parts of the southeast. Most of the storms are going to take more of a northerly track. So you're going to see rain in the west and maybe head across Great Lakes and into the northeast. But this is the first shot that we've had in a long time in helping out the drought just a little bit.

So, in the meantime, let's get where it started which is in the west at this time. There you can see across parts of the Great Basin, the intermountain west, there's the wet weather. This is storm one that we're dealing with. The snow is heavy at times, especially in the higher elevations. In the (inaudible) range here, we're going to see about three to nine inches, above 7,000 feet. And over here in Wyoming, even Casper, you're getting rain right now, that's going to be changing over to some snowfall tonight and through tomorrow. Three to five inches expected in the valley. And you could see as much as six to ten inches off into the mountains.

Now, we're looking at some rain on the tail end of that across parts of California, certainly some welcome news. And check this out, down towards San Diego, oh yes, when was the last time you've had some rain? We got a nice little line trying to set up, could bring in some light sprinkles, could see a good tens of an inch or so. As this storm system pulls out by tomorrow, unfortunately high pressure is going to start to build in here across the southwest. And that means those strong Santa Ana wind are going to be blowing in and there's a critical fire danger here across southern parts of California. But while this part of the country is going to be seeing the break, our next storm system is going to start to impact in the Pacific northwest and look at this tight curl here. This storm, this storm is wound up and is much more powerful than the one that we're dealing with right now. So we have high wind watches which had been posted on the coast of Washington and Oregon, where winds tomorrow are expected to be between 30 and 40 miles per hour. Gusts as strong as 60 miles per hour. So that's mostly into the coast. But even if you live in Portland, over towards Seattle, you could see gusts in this range, maybe around 30 to 40 miles per hour. So it's going to be tough travel tomorrow and those winds of course coming in along with the rain that you already have.

Elsewhere across the country for tomorrow, we've got some showers pushing in here across really the corn belt states and on into the Ohio River Valley. High pressure still controlling you here into the southeast. But as these fronts get a little closer, we'll watch for that chance of rain to spread further to the south. And for those of you with the exceptional drought conditions in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and up into parts of the Carolinas and Virginia, we could be seeing rain really the best opportunity is going to come into play we think on Wednesday. So there is some good news sometimes.

WHIFIELD: Oh, OK. That's hopeful. Since we're on track for the good news stuff as, you know, we head into the New Orleans area, I want to tell you a little bit about the streetcars. Perhaps when you've been to New Orleans, ever been on the streetcars?

JERAS: I have actually.

WHITFIELD: Don't you love it?

JERAS: Beautiful.

WHITFIELD: Well, apparently now, a sign of progress there in New Orleans, because they have decided to allow the streetcar, the St. Charles Avenue streetcar to continue service a few more miles now after Hurricane Katrina, of course, that and everything else was derailed and just a few months ago you were able to travel a few miles on this St. Charles avenue streetcar. Well, now they've added something like six more miles. So folks are really excited there, feeling like maybe this is somewhat symbolic of their recovery.


DONNA HUBBARD, BED & BREAKFAST OWNER: It has the transportation and the convenience of getting back and forth into the city downtown, the convention center, the French quarter area. It just makes it much more convenient for our guests.

DR. SHOREY PAYNE, NEW ORLEANS VISITOR: It's much more than public transportation, it's history and it's culture and I think that adds the whole charm of New Orleans, just riding the streetcar.


WHITFIELD: And it's so great. So six more miles of that 13-mile route has been reopened and now the hope is, according to New Orleans officials, that perhaps the entire system might be back on track by next spring.

Well, on this Veterans Day, we are honoring the soldiers who have served this country. But who serves them when they return to civilian life? Finding a job isn't always so easy. But one man has actually come up with a way to help out all the vets.

And hunting for heroes, how the sport is being used to help lift the spirits of wounded soldiers. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


WHITFIELD: Happening right now, President Bush is marking Veterans Day with a veterans group in Waco, Texas. In remarks delivered within the past half hour, Mr. Bush paid special tribute to the troops now serving in Iraq. He called their service noble and necessary and he vowed as commander in chief that their sacrifices will not be in vain.

Well, it seems so simple. Use the internet to match military vets looking for a good job with companies looking for good employees. Well, it wasn't really happening, until Dan Caulfield stepped in. He joins me now from San Diego with Dan, good to see you.


WHITFIELD: And happy veterans day to you as a former marine or I guess once a marine always a marine, right? You served between 1990 and 1994. So you know firsthand the kind of challenges that a lot of military vets are coming up against when once they leave the service and especially after coming back from war, trying to find a job. So tell me about how you designed this website and how you wanted to help fill the gaps?

CAULFIELD: Well, hire a hero is, or is a national not-for-profit charity and the mission is to eliminate what we call the military service penalty. The military service penalty is the name that we gave the high unemployment for recently discharged veterans, usually between two and five times the national average for the young 22 to 24-year-olds that come home after serving our country in this global war on terror. Worse than the unemployment rate is the high underemployment rate where these same young people come home and take the jobs that they could have gotten right out of high school. This doesn't make any sense to anybody. After, we have invested one out of four of our tax dollars in training these young people, it doesn't make any sense that they're not coming home getting jobs.

WHITFIELD: Right, they are highly skilled, skills that you just can't learn in any other industry or vocation. So, why is this happening, have a lot of these military service people told you exactly what they're learning when they go for these, you know, much more highly skilled jobs, are they giving you any explanations? CAULFIELD: Well, yes. Since 1994, the companies that I have led have helped over 250,000 young military people find quality, meaningful employment. And what we learned after helping so many people in the employment process is that what's happening out there with this military service penalty is really a result of the demographics in our country. The military today is a very small minority. So for example, in 1946, we had one in ten of our, one in ten of the people that lived in this country were in the military. And still then, the movie of the year was called "The Best years of our lives" about three people and how hard it was to transition. Nowadays...

WHITFIELD: All right. Let's talk about the transition. It seems to me that is where the difficulty arises. You come back from war or you leave the service and now you're pursuing a job or a new career and so folks are coming to you because what, they're not getting a positive response from employers on their own, they're needing you to help get them, you know, a foot in the door to get a job? Explain the scene for me, what's happening to a lot of vets coming to you and why.

CAULFELD: In a world where only one in 175 people serve in the military, the people that are doing the interviewing in this country, primarily college graduates, have no context to understand the military experience. So what happens is if you end up in an interview with a person who has never met anyone in the military, which most 40- year-olds and under in our country have never in even met a person in the military, they don't have any context to evaluate what the military experience is and what their value is.

So the way you get a job in this world is through networking. It's more about who you know than what you know. So in a world where so few people have served, it's that much more important for military people to come home to a network of people that understand the value.

WHITFIELD: So using I guess your context then of a lot of who you know, how are you helping to pair up some of these vets or service people with the right jobs? What are the jobs and what kind of success rate are you finding?

CAULFELD: One, we help one in ten of our job seekers find jobs through our online social network. So like Myspace, what we are doing is we are leveraging online social network. We augment that with local networking.

WHITFIELD: What are the jobs?

CAULFELD: We have well over 200,000 jobs and they're across the board. And the trick here is, it's not the individual skills of the 8,000 military occupational specialties that are necessarily important here. What's important is that there are 22 to 24-year-olds. Who cares what they did? The fact is through military training, they've been trained to use their initiative to problem solve. They have -- they are certified, drug free and good corporate citizens and probably the most diverse work force in our country. It makes sense that they would get jobs --

WHITFIELD: Does it frustrate you that it meant you being inventive enough to come up with a Website like this to help place service people into more fitting jobs and that it shouldn't be much easier for someone who has served in war, someone who has served this country to get a job?

CAULFELD: Well, it should be. But the facts are that they're coming home to people that just don't recognize the value. The good news is, there are many, many employers, more than enough employers to employ every person that's come back. The trick is, it's very hard for the employers to have a constant source of where to connect with these people. That's where we come in. That's where the social network comes in, built on a local network of military friendly employers who are just being good neighbors. It's more about who you know than what you know.

WHITFIELD: Dan Caulfeld, thanks so much. or you said both places.

CAULFELD: Yes, we're a not-for-profit and we depend on donations.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much for time.

This is a military man that I think a lot of folks would find to be unforgettable. He became known as that John Wayne dude from hurricane Katrina. Lieutenant General Russell Honore helped get things on track in New Orleans. Now he's back to training young men and women for war. He joined us this morning as part of our special Veterans Day coverage and talked to CNN's T.J. Holmes about war, respect, and serving your country.


LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE, U.S. ARMY: Well, it appears to be if we are what we watch and when you watch, you sometimes see more attention to Hollywood starlets than we do to those who served or those who have served. We came out of World War II with about 16 million veterans and passing on at a rate of about 1,000 a day. There is still quite a few of them around, and it is an honor. I was with a couple of them yesterday to see -- because they are the champions to keep Veterans Day alive.

And America, who a great -- owe a great amount of gratitude to its veterans. But not all the time that gratitude is shown out on public. On Veterans Day, it is a big day and we'll have parades. But that has to also be turned into deeds in terms of our keeping adequate funding to our veterans hospitals. We have a tremendous job in this nation to continue to take care of those who have served and who are in need.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Who is failing them? You mentioned more attention on starlets. That's on us in the media. Also, the federal government and the citizen's responsibility, who does this, fall on?

HONORE: Things happen in America when American people want it to happen. We need resurgence in our patriotism that being a patriot in America shouldn't be something that's talked about in the back closets. It should be praised and those who serve this nation, who have kept America free and who kept the world free.

Remember, we fought World War I; we fought World War II, Vietnam, Korea. And in each case, those countries have continued to flourish as a result of the freedom that's been paid for in the sweat and blood of our veterans.


WHITFIELD: After that interview, the general stepped away to be grand marshal of the Veterans Day parade right here in Atlanta.

Showing support for the nation's troops comes in many shapes and forms. A group in Texas has come up with a unique way to honor injured heroes. More now from Sherman Cho of our affiliate KHOU in Houston.


SHERMAN CHO, KHOU: Sun rise over El Campo. Quiet wetlands and the silence is broken. Duck hunting season has been open a week now. And these men know their way around firearms. James Orlowski is a sniper. Wounded in Baghdad.

JAMES ORLOWSKI, WOUNDED SOLDIER: And they shot an RPG at the house, one hit where I was sitting. It threw me about five feet.

CHO: He's spent the last several months at Brook Army Medical Center. He appears to be one of the luckier ones.

ORLOWSKI: Most guys up there are burned or walking around with their prosthetics on.

CHO: So this weekend, 18 injured servicemen were given a hunt for heroes. The group has taken some 200 injured servicemen hunting this year to also say thanks to them. And it had problems in the beginning.

BILLY HODGES, HUNTS FOR HEROS: A lot of people just don't like hunting. We've overcome that.

SAM RODRIGUEZ, WOUNDED SERVICE MAN: A stress reliever is what it is. You don't even have to hunt. You can come out and sit by the fire.

CHO: The veterans tell us they are grateful and without regret.

ORLOWSKI: I saw the second plane hit the twin tower and from there I just knew that's what I wanted to do.


WHITFIELD: Heroes comes in lots of shapes and sizes. I talked to a hero earlier today as well. Senator Chuck Hagel served his country during Vietnam War and was awarded two purple hearts for his actions. Today, his thoughts on service to a country and who's not doing enough. He was participating in the Vietnam War 25-year memorial there in Washington, D.C. You'll hear from him a little later.

On many levels, he's not your average grandpa. Take a look right here. Former president again proving his age is nothing but a number, still very courageous there.

And then what happened right here? It's a question a lot of people were asking when they saw these pictures. The answer straight ahead in THE NEWSROOM.


WHITFIELD: Those who done it before say the first step is a real doozy. Take a look, Mr. President. George Herbert Walker Bush, sky diving with a little help from the U.S. Army Parachute Squad yesterday. This isn't his first plunge. You know that. You remember the first pictures of seeing him do this on his 80th birthday.

Of course, he's bailed out before, but during World War II. Well, this time we're told is the highlight, the reopening of his presidential museum. He says he's planning on yet another jump, another two years from now on his 85th birthday. Not bad for a man who recently had hip replacement surgery.

And now other news across America. Miami police say they've taken a bad cop off the streets and he's allegedly not just bad, he's fake. Police say they discovered Rene Gonzalez's roof when he pulled a motorist over and took his wallet. The real police were nearby and nabbed Gonzalez a few blocks away. Bad cop.

Well there are more questions and answers in a possible robbery and kidnapping case out of Oklahoma City. Police say surveillance tape suggests that the 27-year-old manager of this restaurant was a victim of a hold-up and abduction Friday night at closing time. The funny thing, she reappeared the following day. So police aren't sure that she was indeed kidnapped.

And you can take this out of the pages of the adventurers in parking, taking place in Queen City in Cincinnati. The driver of this pickup truck says he tried backing out of his parking spot from a two-story garage and then something, somehow went terribly wrong and he went through the brick wall to the ground below. Fortunately he's OK. His car not so good, his ego, bruised as well.

Toy recalls, seems like they're in the headlines every day. Worrying parents all over, but there are safer alternatives out there that you didn't know. A look at non-toxic toys, yes, there are some available.

And coming soon to a store near you, yummy, ham flavored soda. Just in time for the holidays.


WHITFIELD: On the road again sorry, Willie Nelson. Our CNN's election express with senior political analyst William Schneider, he's bound for Las Vegas and you made a pit spot in Utah. Yesterday, Denver. I hope you dressed properly and packed properly for this road trip.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANAYST: I am indeed. It's been a beautiful road trip. Gorgeous scenery and just a little while ago, we saw a cow being airlifted by a helicopter. How often do you see that in Atlanta? We are headed for Las Vegas and I'll be talking about what we're expecting to see there in the silver state.

WHITFIELD: We can't wait for that. If only you had a camera handy for that cow being lifted, I would have loved to have seen that one, too. We'll talk soon.

Let's talk toys. And all the fears over toxic chemicals contaminating these toys and prompting so many recalls. Many parents are trying to figure out which toys are safe, which ones are deadly, what do you do? Some are emptying out their toy chests and they're going organic. Lindsey Seaver (ph) from our Ohio affiliate WBNS has the story.


LINDSEY SEAVER (ph), WBNS: The building blocks of childhood are life's simple pleasures. So a Fredericktown, Ohio business went back to the basics. Even for kids life suddenly isn't so simple.

SUSIE LITTLE, STORE OWNER: People are getting rid of stuff and realizing what's on -- does it have lead paint, is it toxic, and with our stuff, you don't have any of those worries. Because there isn't anything toxic on it.

SEAVER (ph): Susie Little owns a natural home. She started by manufacturing organic furniture.0

LITTLE: Our wood is local. We use natural finishes on everything. And it's all locally produced.

SEAVER (ph): Retailers soon asked for natural toys. She enlisted the craftsmanship of nearby families, many Amish. She didn't realize massive toy recalls would have more people asking.

LITTLE: In the last six months, 30 to 40 percent growth just in our toys and our cribs.

SEAVER (ph): It is not a living but a lifestyle. Little has five kids and another on the way.

LITTLE: With this one a new baby coming I think about all the toys that are out there and I just think, I want to make sure that there's none of that stuff for my baby.

SEAVER (ph): So what her homegrown toys lack in flash --

LITTLE: It's not electronic but still entertaining.

SEAVER (ph): They make up for in safety. But after kids, they are too busy to notice.

Lindsey Seaver (ph), Ten TV News.


WHITFIELD: Perhaps you need to be hitting the grocery stores soon, because this is hitting the shelves. A new soda for the holidays. Unique beverages, flavors like ham, eggnog and a Christmas tree? Jones Soda Company is also making Hanukkah themed sodas. So if you're thinking about thanks, but no thanks, think about this. A portion of the soda's proceeds actually go to charities. So perhaps you need to take one, at least for good will for the holiday season.

Well, we wanted you to know on this Veterans Day about the honor and sacrifice of actually guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns. For the privileged few who do it, it's not just a job; it is a way of life. What it takes to stand watch over one of America's most sacred shrines.


On this Veterans Day, we remember Korea. It is sometimes called America's forgotten war. Well, today veterans of the Korean War remember that bloody conflict and the more than 33,000 U.S. troops who never returned home. Here now is CNN's Brianna Keiler.


PHIL ACKERT, U.S. MARINE CORPS (RET): You got that feeling, you know, you walk into a house where you feel somebody is watching you. That's the way it was.

BRIANNA KEILER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Phil Ackert was a 21- year-old marine sergeant from upstate New York leading his squad in a fight for their lives. It was 1952, when U.S. forces were fighting Chinese troops in Korea.

ACKERT: We they dropped so many rounds in on us, it was pathetic.

KEILER: Ackert's men saw hand-to-hand combat and the young sergeant was wounded during a four-day battle.

ACKERT: Probably a 76 round and it hit between myself and, again, Sergeant Pickler, my sidekick, my buddy.

KEILER: The round killed his friend. Ackert was hit in both legs. Still, he kept fighting. Eventually, American forces triumphed in the bloody fight that was later known as the battle of Bunker Hill.

ACKERT: I probably never knew until I came back to the states. Hill 122 is what we knew it as.

KEILER: Less than a year later in 1953, a truce agreement would end three years of combat after the American death toll topped 33,000. But decades later, Ackert now 76 and living in northern California, still bears physical and emotional scars from a war that's often referred to as the forgotten war.

ACKERT: Another Asian war, far, far away. People weren't concerned at all about it. I felt sorrier for the Vietnam vets. But at least they did get recognition.

KEILER: Ackert visited recently with fellow marines in Virginia Beach.

ACKERT: I served with the greatest guys in the world. The greatest. They never came any better.

KEILER: They too were survivors of a war lost in popular memory sometime between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Vietnam War. A war that is remembered or so it seems to those who fought it, mainly by the men who were there.

Brianna Keiler, CNN.


WHITFIELD: And paying homage to war vets is an everyday duty for the soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns. Have you ever thought about what it takes to do this job? Here now is an up close and personal look at their sacrifice.


SGT. CHRISTOPHER PICACHE, RELIEF CMDR. TOMB OF THE UNKNOWNS: Everything we do here is for the unknowns. So when we go out there and guard them, it's not about the public or the visitors, it's all about what our job, our mission for them.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Present arms!

SPEC. MATTHEW PEROVICH, TOMB GUARD, 2004-PRESENT: We do it for families who don't know where their loved ones ended up and don't know what happened to them. And for all they know, it could be their brother or sister.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Your whole life revolves around it. It's a mentality and lifestyle. It can take six months to 14 months to complete training. A lot of soldiers don't realize how much they have to sacrifice in order to make it through this training. On a day-to- day basis, it can take four to ten hours every day to get your uniforms squared away.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): We have fellows that tailored their underwear so there wouldn't be a bulge in their uniform.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): To get shoes good enough to go outside takes about 20 to 40 hours. To repair them day-to-day can take about six.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): The seasons can be very hard on a guy. The winter can be brutal. I had incidents where I had isles from my ears, ice packed on my head, hands soaking wet and freezing. Every time you hit that rifle it was painful.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): There was a huge snowstorm in Washington, D.C. And the civilian guards had to work to keep the mat clear and the plaza career so we could change the guard because you're doing it 24 hours a day, regardless of the weather.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Then you have the heat. The heat would get to you in a way that it would just literally weaken you physically and emotionally. PEROVICH: It's one of the greatest honors a soldier can have. Being here and honoring those people who did everything. They just didn't give their lives, they gave their identity. The time off is not just sleeping, sleep and eat and hanging out. You're fixing any deficiencies that you had the previous work day to raise the standard. Our standards will remain perfection. And no one can achieve true perfection. But we do as best we can and going out there every day, knowing you're putting your best foot forward. And the honor is pretty awesome.


WHITFIELD: The next hour of THE NEWSROOM starts right now.






WHITFIELD: Next in THE NEWSROOM America's poignant tribute to its veterans of war.


(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): In England, [ inaudible ]


WHITFIELD: Plus, the so-called unloved soldiers, appreciation for how Americans treat their warriors.