January 29th, 2014
01:21 AM ET
3 months ago

A bipartisan outpouring for wounded war hero at State of the Union

(CNN) - It’s a partisan see-saw that marks when Democrats and Republicans stand and applause at a State of the Union address. Tax cuts – cue Republicans, raise the minimum wage – hurrah go the Democrats.

But on Tuesday night, an Army soldier with a heroic and remarkable story obliterated that custom, receiving arguably the most heartfelt expression of bipartisan gratitude any Congress could muster – a nearly two-minute standing ovation.

Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg was seated beside first lady Michelle Obama as President Barack Obama heralded his sacrifice in Afghanistan.

During his final tour of duty in October 2009, Remsburg was severely injured by a roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The blast left him in a coma for three months. He was partially paralyzed and brain damaged.

Obama said Remsburg is blind in one eye and struggles with movement on his left side.

“Cory is here tonight,” Obama said as cameras fixed on the Army Ranger in his full-dress uniform.

“And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit. Cory!”

As those packing the House chamber jumped to their feet and erupted in applause, Remsburg stood and gave the crowd a thumbs up. Obama reciprocated by saluting him.

Obama first met the 30-year-old at the 65th anniversary of D-Day at Omaha Beach in 2009, before the roadside bomb blast.

“Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program, the ceremony – he was a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner, sharp as a tack,” Obama said during the speech. “We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch.”

Obama again met Remsburg at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, as he lay in the hospital after the bomb blast nearly killed him.

“He couldn’t speak; could barely move,” Obama said. “Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, hours of grueling rehab every day.”

According to a lengthy profile of Remsburg in the New York Times, Obama met privately with the soldier in Phoenix in August 2013, where Remsberg “did something that neither Mr. Obama nor military doctors would once have predicted: he stood up and saluted his commander in chief.”

For his heroism, the Arizona native was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
During the speech, Obama used Remsburg’s story to convey the broader point that Washington can get things done, even though they may seem near impossible.

“My fellow Americans, men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy,” Obama said.

“Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. … But if we work together; if we summon what is best in us the way Cory summoned the best in him, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow – I know it’s within our reach.”

soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    tom l wrote:

    Your entire statement makes no sense and you should actually be commending the man for not only paying way more money into the system than either you or I but the fact that he did so when he could have paid less legally.
    --------------------------------–
    It wasn't designed to make sense. It was bait. I even told you as much. I'm not surprised to see that you're still biting, and still expecting a different result.

    January 29, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. with a grain of salt

    Tom l. What we are doing there is making Cheney richer.

    January 29, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. Jason

    Can we fire Congress and Obama and put some of our wounded warriors in charge?

    They have something our politicians don't understand. They put their country before their party.

    January 29, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. The REAL Truth...

    @Donna – Socialism is the precursor to fascism and communism.
    -----------------------------
    Donna, thanks for the laugh. Not sure how you arrived at your conclusion, given fascism and communism being ideologically polar opposites. But that's the GOP mindset for ya..

    January 29, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. with a grain of salt

    The truth and Donna's ideologies are like oil and water.

    January 29, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. The REAL Truth...

    @Tom I – First, you accuse him of not paying his "fair share" yet he paid 14% of his income which I would guess would amount to a far greater amount than either you or I paid combined.
    Second, he willingly did NOT take deductions that he could have so he actually paid more than his fair share. He didn't make the rules but you have proven that he sure as heck did abide by the rules
    Third, why should he show his tax returns? He paid what he legally should have (actually way, way more) and you whine and kvetch. Is the IRS investigating him for unpaid taxes? No. Nice strawman argument. Kudos to you.
    -------------–
    Wow Tom I, where to start??? Talk about "whine and kvetch" !!
    I see the usual myopic rw approach to defence of the wealthy not paying their [equitable] fair share.. which is the bland "he paid more than us – combined!" approach. Sure he paid more in terms of actual $$ (no arguments there)... a LOT more, as he should..he earned a LOT more...$42 MILLION according to his 2012 return. He paid roughly 14% in taxes, ignoring some deductions that would have further reduced his rate. All true.. and completely irrelevant. IT'S NOT ABOUT the DOLLAR AMOUNT... IT's ABOUT EQUITABLE rates for the wealthy.

    A more reasonable question would be how many earning $42 THOUSAND paid only 14%!! Most likely had a higher nominal rate as a percentage of earnings. There were probably very few that were also able to take that 15% cap gains rate and many of the deductions he claimed (eg: Show Horse expenses, all legal under current tax laws.)

    Every Presidential nominee from BOTH parties have always released prior years tax returns... but not Mittens. He didn't want his prior years returns released as they may have quickly shown how much a part of the privileged class he was/is, and how little he actually pays relative to his income levels.

    January 29, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. Silence DoGood

    @Donna
    The REAL Truth...
    @Donna – Socialism is the precursor to fascism and communism.
    ---------–
    Donna, thanks for the laugh. Not sure how you arrived at your conclusion, given fascism and communism being ideologically polar opposites. But that's the GOP mindset for ya..
    ---------–
    Donna: You can go online and actually read the definitions of the words you are using. Not on a liberal site, just on any political education site. Right now you might as well be saying "giraffe is avocado to gremlin".

    January 29, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    " he paid 14% of his income which I would guess would amount to a far greater amount than either you or I paid combined."

    Yes, someone please cue up "In the Arms of an Angel" so we can all have a good cry in sympathy for Mittens suffering at having to pay a grossly lesser tax percentage than families that are struggling to make ends meet because that percentage was still "more money than we'll see in our lifetimes" just like the 85%+/- of that fortune he was left with. Poor little guy. The 1%'s victimhood is neverending. Clearly, they are the most oppressed and persecuted group of people evah and our oppression of them must stop. For just 35% of your earnings per year, you too can help an insanely rich buffoon pay only 15% of their earnings in taxes. Won't you donate today?

    January 29, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Sniffit

    " he paid 14% of his income which I would guess would amount to a far greater amount than either you or I paid combined."

    Yes, someone please cue up "In the Arms of an Angel" so we can all have a good cry in sympathy for Mittens suffering at having to pay a grossly lesser tax percentage than families that are struggling to make ends meet because that percentage was still "more money than we'll see in our lifetimes" just like the 85%+/- of that fortune he was left with. Poor little guy. The 1%'s victimhood is neverending.
    ---------------------------
    More than you'd make in a lifetime? Heck, you got a tax credit for a horse, which supposedly used for physical therapy but somehow made it to London 2012, a credit that was almost twice what the average person makes in a year. Did you know that the horse even had its' own private jet?

    January 29, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. joe

    No class. He should not be serving in congress. And to those who sympathize with this man, thank you for making our world a less civil and polite place.

    January 29, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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