January 29th, 2014
01:21 AM ET
9 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. Thomas

    Ten deployments , we have been at war too long .

    Thank you Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg for your service over and beyond the call.

    January 29, 2014 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  2. Kathy

    Obumma, you are unbelievable...to use an American Hero to uplift yourself...do you think your wife is now proud of America and will you ever understand American exceptionalism ?

    January 29, 2014 03:19 am at 3:19 am |
  3. Harold Read

    To bad the Obama hates the military.
    Did he step in to prevent veterans benefits from being eliminated? Nope, but he let programs helping criminal immigrants stay funded.

    Did he allow veterans visit their memorials during the 2013 Obama Govenment Shutdown? Nope, but he did allow thousands of criminal immigrants protest against US Law in the "closed" National Mall.

    January 29, 2014 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  4. Marie MD

    Cory deserves so much credit but let's not forget that amid the applause from the teaklans they have also voted to cut back on money to help veterans.
    It's like so many people. They look good on the outside but are evil inside.
    Cory is a true hero who has gone through something most of us, hopefully, will never know or have to endure.
    This is why we need to keep up the fight to help our veterans regardless of what the rethugs want to do against them.

    January 29, 2014 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  5. with a grain of salt

    I'm pretty sure the gop showed us what they think about veterans with the memorial fiasco, they couldn't care less, but actually thought you were stupid enough to blame the Democrats, so they did it, disgusting.

    January 29, 2014 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  6. Joseph Ogwuda

    In a world where govt play politics with everything.Is good to know than men like Cory Remsberg still believe in duty,honour and sacrifice.It is our collective duty to make sure his sacrifice is not in vain.Thanks to Cory.

    January 29, 2014 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    I find it most unfortunate that the demagogues come out of hiding when the President salutes a war hero, thanking him for his service. I am sure that most every man and woman wearing the uniform felt as if he were thanking one and all. I know I did.

    January 29, 2014 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    He was nothing but a prop for Obama.......and in that end, he allowed himself to be USED, for political purposes.

    No soldier, who has fought for our country, and suffered greatly as a consequence of their service, should be used as a prop by politicians who do zero service to their country, THEMSELVES........no matter what political party they represent.

    I didn't like it when Bush did it, either.

    January 29, 2014 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    Thomas
    Ten deployments , we have been at war too long .

    Thank you Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg for your service over and beyond the call.
    -----------------

    Indeed. For as long as my four grandchildren (ages 12, 12, 10, 4) have been on this earth, America has been at war.

    America salutes a true hero: SFC Cory Remsburg.

    January 29, 2014 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    "No soldier, who has fought for our country, and suffered greatly as a consequence of their service, should be used as a prop by politicians who do zero service to their country, THEMSELVES........no matter what political party they represent. "
    -------------------------------------
    Did you say that to the Republicans who photo bombed the veterans groups that were trying to gather at the war memorials during the government shutdown?

    January 29, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  11. O'drama ya Mama

    Kathy

    Obumma, you are unbelievable...to use an American Hero to uplift yourself...do you think your wife is now proud of America and will you ever understand American exceptionalism ?
    January 29, 2014 03:19 am at 3:19 am |
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    But its perfectly ok to use 4 dead Americans as political ammo against your opponents? If Obama had not done what he did last night no on in America would know who this brave man is.

    January 29, 2014 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  12. smith

    This was the one part of the STOU that politics was put aside for a moment. More people shoud follow that example.

    January 29, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. FidyCents

    Progressives running the Democrat party loath the U.S. Military and what they do. They want it and the nations defenses torn down, and the money sent to nationalize all of healthcare. This is why you should never allow a liberal to get close to a servicemember.

    January 29, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    FidyCents

    Progressives running the Democrat party loath the U.S. Military and what they do. They want it and the nations defenses torn down, and the money sent to nationalize all of healthcare. This is why you should never allow a liberal to get close to a servicemember.
    ------------------------
    What about Republicans and TV reporters? It seem Republicans don't like reporters. We watched in 2012 as Bachmann walk away from a camera faster than an Olympian, and did so wearing high heels. Last night, we watched in horror as Grimm threatened to toss a reporter off of a four story balcony. Cameras seem to bring out the worst in Republicans, too. When they speak to one, they have this characteristic habit of lying.

    January 29, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  15. Lizzie

    Rudy NYC, remember "Service people hurt in the line of duty should PAY for their own health insurance" remember "Soldiers serving 20 years, don't deserve a pension".
    There are SO many WOUNDED soldiers, what have you done lately.

    January 29, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. Sniffit

    "will you ever understand American exceptionalism ?"

    Best healthcare system in the world!!! EXCEPT it's not.
    Best schools in the world!!! EXCEPT they're not.
    Best opportunities in the world!!! EXCEPT they're not.
    Best economy in the world!!! EXCEPT it's not.
    Best government in the world!!! EXCEPT it's not.
    etc etc etc
    Most deluded people in the world.

    What...you thought there was another exception?

    January 29, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Lizzie

    Rudy NYC, remember "Service people hurt in the line of duty should PAY for their own health insurance" remember "Soldiers serving 20 years, don't deserve a pension".
    There are SO many WOUNDED soldiers, what have you done lately.
    -------------------------------------
    I did more than Mitt Romney. I paid my fair share of taxes.

    January 29, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. yolanda

    Wow. Professor Rudy is comparing (Fidy Cents) comment on Progressives disliking veterans to Repubs disliking reporters. Congratulations. We now have a winner for the Deflector of the Year. Gosh Rudy, it appears that you don't practice what you preach. Shocking.

    January 29, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. Wake up People!

    Liberals, democrats, progressives or whatever you want to call us, do not hate the military, and we do support and respect our troops. I get so sick of the apparently psychic RWNJ's that post here questioning our patriotism.

    My father and grandfather served. My grandfather was in the Army during WWII, but that doesn't count right? And my father was in the AF and served in the Korean War. Do you know how much disrespect my grandfather and many other black soldiers received from their fellow white soldiers???
    Please stop spewing your stupidity.

    January 29, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    yolanda

    Wow. Professor Rudy is comparing (Fidy Cents) comment on Progressives disliking veterans to Repubs disliking reporters. Congratulations. We now have a winner for the Deflector of the Year. Gosh Rudy, it appears that you don't practice what you preach. Shocking.
    -------------------------
    Progressives disliking veterans? Where did that accusation come from? Please don't tell me that it comes from the recent budget agreement, which most Republicans voted for and most Democrats voted against, that came out of the House that cut off some veterans' benefits.

    The fact of the matter is that Repubilcans demanded that refunding sequestered items in the budget would require that something else had to be cut. Democrats held Republicans' feet to the fire. Republicans wanted to restore Defense spending, and so they made the cuts to veterans' benefits in order to avoid looking like hypocrites.

    January 29, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  21. littljohnny

    Threatening the reporters life over a question he asked? Sorry Mr. Congressman; you're true colors are showing and you just ruined your career.

    January 29, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Lizzie

    Rudy NYC, remember "Service people hurt in the line of duty should PAY for their own health insurance" remember "Soldiers serving 20 years, don't deserve a pension".
    ------------------------
    Nope. I do remember the Bush administration starting two wars and cutting VA benefits, which shut down VA facilities. Look at what they did to Walter Reed Hospital.

    January 29, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  23. tom l

    "will you ever understand American exceptionalism ?"

    Best healthcare system in the world!!! EXCEPT it's not.
    Best schools in the world!!! EXCEPT they're not.
    Best opportunities in the world!!! EXCEPT they're not.
    Best economy in the world!!! EXCEPT it's not.
    Best government in the world!!! EXCEPT it's not.
    etc etc etc
    Most deluded people in the world.

    What...you thought there was another exception?
    =======

    Come on, Sniffit. None of those have anything to do with the definition of American Exceptionalism and you know it. So, one more time, I will give you the true definition of "American Exceptionalism" and perhaps you will be honest enough when you respond to someone. American Excpetionalism is the thought/theory that we are the only country in the world where anyone can be anything. You can start with nothing, or very little, and still be successful and have a wonderful life. We need look no further than our president as proof that American Exceptionalism is alive and well. It also refers to the fact that we are a unique country where we are actually free from a ruling tyrant, we are a democracy and we have personal liberty. That is American Exceptionalism.

    Your answer is so revealing and shows what you really think of our country. I think it's sad. The oddest thing of your response is that your answer to almost everything that is wrong with America is to infuse the govt to help. Odd.

    January 29, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  24. tom l

    @Rudy
    "I did more than Mitt Romney. I paid my fair share of taxes"
    =========

    Wow, man. This is why people on here say you make things up. Your comment is a complete non-sequiter. Why not mention Sarah Palin while you're at it? You have no proof of what Romney paid or did not pay in taxes. Is the IRS after him? Has he been accused of a crime for avoiding taxes? No and no. You have nothing but conjecture and speculation. And if you ever want to go into amounts of money actually paid, rather than percentages, I'm pretty sure that Romney has paid more taxes than all of us on these boards howling at the moon combined. And let me know if you would like to go into how much money and time the man donated because, again, he crushes all of us combined. All that appears to be happening with your response is your latent jealousy of him because there really isn't any other reason for your response or why his name was even brought up.

    PS...I think I have a crush on Yolanda. She's awesome :)

    January 29, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  25. smith

    I guess some people can't put aside their political differences to show some respect to a wounded servicemember..smh.

    January 29, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
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