President Obama brought both sides of the political divide together during Tuesday’s State of the Union address as he paid an emotional tribute to injured Afghanistan veteran Ranger Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg.
The president drew a standing ovation from Republicans and Democrats for the war hero who was left in a coma for three months in 2009 after a roadside bomb hit his convoy outside Kandahar during his 10th deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq.
As Remsburg, 30, watched on from the public gallery as a guest of first lady, Michelle Obama, President Obama told the packed house how the hero continues to be an example to Americans each day as he works on his recovery.
‘Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit’ and that he reminds us that ‘America has never come easy.’
In an emotional moment, a visibly touched Remsburg then stood to acknowledge the sustained applause from the house as Michelle Obama smiled broadly at him and gave him a thumbs up.
Then, the wounded soldier gave a thumbs-up in the direction of President Obama – who replied in kind and then saluted Sgt. Remsburg.
It was a unifying moment and the high point of a policy laden speech that was filled with the president’s threats to use his executive powers to bypass Republicans on legislation on Capitol Hill.
t was toward the end of Obama’s address when he gestured toward the uniformed man from Phoenix seated next to first lady Michelle Obama and described the difference between the Remsburg he’d met the first time at Omaha beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day— ‘sharp as a tack’— and the wounded warrior his fellow soldiers found face-down in a canal, underwater, with shrapnel in his brain.
‘The next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak; he could barely move,’ Obama said to the now-silent crowd in the House chamber. ‘Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day.’