President Obama Announces $3.4 Billion Investment to Spur Transition to Smart Energy Grid
Applicants say investments will create tens of thousands of jobs, save energy and empower consumers to cut their electric bills
ARCADIA, FLORIDA – Speaking at Florida Power and Light’s (FPL) DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, President Barack Obama today announced the largest single energy grid modernization investment in U.S. history, funding a broad range of technologies that will spur the nation’s transition to a smarter, stronger, more efficient and reliable electric system. The end result will promote energy-saving choices for consumers, increase efficiency, and foster the growth of renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
The $3.4 billion in Smart Grid Investment Grant awards are part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and will be matched by industry funding for a total public-private investment worth over $8 billion. Applicants state that the projects will create tens of thousands of jobs, and consumers in 49 states will benefit from these investments in a stronger, more reliable grid. Full listings of the grant awards by category and state are available HERE and HERE. A map of the awards is available HERE.
An analysis by the Electric Power Research Institute estimates that the implementation of smart grid technologies could reduce electricity use by more than 4 percent by 2030. That would mean a savings of $20.4 billion for businesses and consumers around the country, and $1.6 billion for Florida alone — or $56 in utility savings for every man, woman and child in Florida.
One-hundred private companies, utilities, manufacturers, cities and other partners received awards today, including FPL which will use its $200 million in funding to install 2.6 million smart meters and other technology that will cut energy costs for its customers. In the coming days, Cabinet Members and other Administration officials will fan out to awardee sites across the country to discuss how this investment will create jobs, improve the reliability and efficiency of the electrical grid, and help bring clean energy sources from high-production states to those with less renewable generating capacity. The awards announced today represent the largest group of Recovery Act awards ever made in a single day and the largest batch of Recovery Act clean energy grant awards to-date.
Today’s announcement includes:
- Empowering Consumers to Save Energy and Cut Utility Bills — $1 billion. These investments will create the infrastructure and expand access to smart meters and customer systems so that consumers will be able to access dynamic pricing information and have the ability to save money by programming smart appliances and equipment to run when rates are lowest. This will help reduce energy bills for everyone by helping drive down “peak demand” and limiting the need for “stand-by” power plants – the most expensive power generation there is.
- Making Electricity Distribution and Transmission More Efficient — $400 million. The Administration is funding several grid modernization projects across the country that will significantly reduce the amount of power that is wasted from the time it is produced at a power plant to the time it gets to your house. By deploying digital monitoring devices and increasing grid automation, these awards will increase the efficiency, reliability and security of the system, and will help link up renewable energy resources with the electric grid. This will make it easier for a wind farm in Montana to instantaneously pick up the slack when the wind stops blowing in Missouri or a cloud rolls over a solar array in Arizona.
- Integrating and Crosscutting Across Different “Smart” Components of a Smart Grid — $2 billion. Much like electronic banking, the Smart Grid is not the sum total of its components but how those components work together. The Administration is funding a range of projects that will incorporate these various components into one system or cut across various project areas – including smart meters, smart thermostats and appliances, syncrophasors, automated substations, plug in hybrid electric vehicles, renewable energy sources, etc.
- Building a Smart Grid Manufacturing Industry — $25 million. These investments will help expand our manufacturing base of companies that can produce the smart meters, smart appliances, synchrophasors, smart transformers, and other components for smart grid systems in the United States and around the world – representing a significant and growing export opportunity for our country and new jobs for American workers.
The combined effect of the investments announced today, when the projects are fully implemented, will:
- Create tens of thousands of jobs across the country. These jobs include high paying career opportunities for smart meter manufacturing workers; engineering technicians, electricians and equipment installers; IT system designers and cyber security specialists; data entry clerks and database administrators; business and power system analysts; and others.
- Leverage more than $4.7 billion in private investment to match the federal investment.
- Make the grid more reliable, reducing power outages that cost American consumers $150 billion a year — about $500 for every man, woman and child in the United States.
- Install more than 850 sensors – called ‘Phasor Measurement Units’ – that will cover 100 percent of the U.S. electric grid and make it possible for grid operators to better monitor grid conditions and prevent minor disturbances in the electrical system from cascading into local or regional power outages or blackouts. This monitoring ability will also help the grid to incorporate large blocks of intermittent renewable energy, like wind and solar power, to take advantage of clean energy resources when they are available and make adjustments when they’re not.
- Install more than 200,000 smart transformers that will make it possible for power companies to replace units before they fail thus saving money and reducing power outages.
- Install almost 700 automated substations, representing about 5 percent of the nation’s total that will make it possible for power companies to respond faster and more effectively to restore service when bad weather knocks down power lines or causes electricity disruptions.
- Power companies today typically do not know there has been a power outage until a customer calls to report it. With these smart grid devices, power companies will have the tools they need for better outage prevention and faster response to make repairs when outages do occur.
- Empower consumers to cut their electricity bills. The Recovery Act combined with private investment will put us on pace to deploy more than 40 million smart meters in American homes and businesses over the next few years that will help consumers cut their utility bills.
- Install more than 1 million in-home displays, 170,000 smart thermostats, and 175,000 other load control devices to enable consumers to reduce their energy use. Funding will also help expand the market for smart washers, dryers, and dishwashers, so that American consumers can further control their energy use and lower their electricity bills.
- Put us on a path to get 20 percent or more of our energy from renewable sources by 2020.
- Reduce peak electricity demand by more than 1400 MW, which is the equivalent of several larger power plants and can save ratepayers more than $1.5 billion in capital costs and help lower utility bills. Since peak electricity is the most expensive energy – and requires the use of standby power generation plants – the economic and environmental savings for even a small reduction are significant. In fact, some of the power plants for meeting peak demand operate for only a few hundred hours a year, which means the power they generate can be 5-10 times more expensive than the average price per kilowatt hour paid by most consumers.
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REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT DSCC/DCCC RECEPTION
Miami Beach, Florida
October 26, 2009
7:12 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Hello, everybody! Hello, hello, hello! Hello, Miami! Thank you, guys. This is a pretty enthusiastic crowd here. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you, man!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. (Applause.) What did Bill Nelson say to you all to get you — (applause?) All right, I can tell this is a somewhat informal crowd here. (Laughter.) Nevertheless there are some formal acknowledgements that I want to make.
First of all, one of the greatest partners I could ever ask for in turning this country around, we are so proud of her, please give a huge round of applause to Nancy Pelosi. (Applause.) She’s got a pretty impressive team — one guy from up north, Chris Van Hollen, who’s doing unbelievable work on behalf of the DCCC. (Applause.) But also a couple of Floridians who are doing outstanding work: Debbie Wasserman- Schultz — (applause) — and Congressman Kendrick Meek. (Applause.)
My former colleague and, you know, I don’t care what he does politically because he’s an astronaut — (laughter) — so that above all is most impressive to me. But he also happens to be one of the finest public servants we have, Bill Nelson. Thank you, Bill. (Applause.)
We’ve got wonderful members of our DSCC/DCCC host committee, give yourselves a big round of applause. (Applause.) And finally, I don’t know — is Alex still here? If she’s not, I want to make sure that she gets acknowledged anyway. Alex Sink was in the house. (Applause.) And I just saw that Congressman Grayson is here as well; give him a big round of applause. (Applause.)
It’s good to be back in Florida. (Applause.) I want you to know I love you and I appreciate everything that you’ve done. (Applause.) A lot of you were on the front lines of our campaign. You spent countless hours knocking on doors and making phone calls –
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We did!
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, we did! Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the obligations that I have to every American who put all their hopes and dreams into a cause that wasn’t just about winning an election, it was about changing the country.
And, you know, it’s been less than a year — although I know it seems longer — it’s been less than a year since the Obama family packed up, moved into the White House. I’m here to report Sasha and Malia are doing great. (Applause.) Michelle is an outstanding First Lady. (Applause.) We now have Bo, so that I’m not always surrounded by women in my house, Bo and I. (Laughter.) We share the doghouse sometimes. (Laughter.)
But it’s important to remember what happened when we walked through the door, because there’s been some selective memory out there going on. We were facing the worst economic crisis we’d seen since the Great Depression. Losing 700,000 jobs a month. Our financial system on the brink of collapse. Economists were worried that we were going to slip into a depression.
That’s why we acted swiftly and boldly and we passed a Recovery Act that’s made the difference in the lives all across Florida and all across America. Put tax cuts into 95 percent — into the pockets of 95 percent of working families and small businesses all across the country. We extended unemployment insurance for 16 million Americans; gave COBRA coverage that was 65 percent cheaper to people who are out there looking for jobs in this unbelievably difficult economic climate. We provided relief to states so they wouldn’t have to lay off teachers and cops and firefighters. According to initial reports, we’ve saved 250,000 jobs just in schools across America. (Applause.) We’ve given — we’ve given loans, supported loans to more than 30,000 small businesses — including more than 13,000 (sic) in this state — which created thousands of jobs in the private sector.
But here’s the thing about the Recovery Act people don’t seem to remember. It wasn’t just the most progressive tax cut policy in American history. It wasn’t just emergency relief for states and individuals. It was also — people don’t realize this — the single largest federal investment in education in our history. (Applause.) It was the largest investment in clean energy in our history. (Applause.) It was the largest boost to medical research and basic research in our history. (Applause.) It was the single largest investment in infrastructure since Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System back in the 1950s. (Applause.) And that’s putting people back to work all across Florida and all across America.
But we didn’t stop there. We passed the Lilly Ledbetter because we think women should be paid the same as men. (Applause.) We lifted the ban on stem cell research and began restoring science to its rightful place. (Applause.) We extended health care to 11 million children across this country — 4 million of whom never had insurance. We passed a national service bill named after Ted Kennedy, encouraging people to give back all across this country. (Applause.) We passed laws that prevented fraud in housing, prevented unfair rate hikes and fees charged by credit card companies. We passed a law to protect our children from big tobacco companies.
For the first time in our history we put into place a national policy aimed at both increasing fuel economy and increasing — and reducing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks sold in the United States. (Applause.)
So here’s the bottom line. In nine months we’ve already had — if we just stopped now, we’d already have one of the most productive legislative sessions in history. If we just stopped now. And you made it possible. (Applause.) But of course, that’s just what we did domestically.
Internationally, we’ve begun a new era of engagement. We’re working with our partners to stop the spread of nuclear weapons — (applause) — we’re seeking a safer, more secure world free of nuclear weapons. We’re working in concert with nations on every continent to stem the economic downturn, to deal with climate change. We banned torture. We’re rebuilding our military. We’re reaffirming our alliances. We are going to close Guantanamo. We are serious about this. (Applause.) We’ve made good progress taking the fight to al Qaeda, from Pakistan to Somalia –
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Won the Nobel Peace Prize. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I did that too. (Applause.) That was — that was unexpected. (Laughter.)
And of great interest to the folks here in Miami, we have reopened a climate of diplomacy and goodwill with Latin America that had been — had been frayed very badly. (Applause.)
But look, let’s face it — the reason you’re here tonight is because we’ve got more work to do. Too many people are out there looking for work. Too many people are seeing their hours cut. Too many Americans subject to the whims of insurance companies and are losing their health insurance or can’t afford health insurance at all. Too many good people are worried about whether they’re going to be able to retire. A lot of seniors having to go back to work. Too many people losing their homes.
So this is not news to you. You’ve seen it in your own communities, you understand the enormous stress that families are under. But here’s the thing I want everybody to understand. When we ran we knew we weren’t going to solve every problem in nine months. Right?
THE PRESIDENT: At least I hope you understood that. What we understood was is that we had dug a deep hole for ourselves and we were going to have to work really hard — first to get ourselves out of the hole, to make sure that we yanked this economy out of a potential catastrophe — and then to start rebuilding, both domestically and internationally. And that’s what we’re doing.
So now is the time for us to build a clean energy economy that will free ourselves from foreign oil and will generate new green jobs in the process — (applause) — and will help save the planet. Now is the time to transform our education system and we are making enormous progress on the education front. (Applause.) Now is the time to start putting in place strong rules of the road to prevent the kind of financial catastrophe that we saw on Wall Street.
And now is the time to pass health care. (Applause.) We’re not going to wait another year or a year after that or a year after that. Now is the time to do it. (Applause.)
And if you’ve been following what’s been happening in Washington — all the naysayers — you remember, I mean, back in August, “oh, this thing is dead, it’s terrible, people are out” — and what did we do? We just keep on working. Because we understand that premiums have doubled over the past decade — and they’ll double again in the next decade if we do nothing. We know that there are millions who have been denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. We know that we have no choice but to make sure that we’ve got a health system in this country that makes it more safe and secure for people who have health insurance, provides health insurance to people who don’t, and make sure that we’re driving down costs for everybody — families, businesses and our government. And that is what we are going to accomplish. (Applause.) Nobody is going to be able to stand in the way of progress on this front.
We are closer than we’ve ever been to passing health insurance reform — closer than we’ve ever been. But it’s not going to get easier from here on out; it’s going to get harder. Now is the time when all the special interests start saying, “oh, this is really going to happen,” and “we might lose some of our profits.” And they start paying big lobbyists and they start, you know, twisting arms.
And that’s why all of you are so important. See, you can’t just count on change happening in Washington. You’ve got to make it happen. You’ve got push. (Applause.) I promise you, members of Congress listen to you a lot more than they listen to me. (Laughter.) And so the more that you guys are organizing and mobilizing and understanding that our job is not done, it’s not — it’s barely begun, the better off we’re going to be.
When I ran for the presidency nobody gave us a chance. But part of the excitement of our campaign — and some of you remember because some of you were there from the very beginning — some of the excitement was not that it was easy — it was that it was hard; that we understood that we were trying to pull off something that had not been done before.
Well, governing is even harder than campaigning. (Laughter.) But — but that same sense of energy, that same sense of commitment, that same willingness to just keep on working and going at it, day in, day out, even when things seem tough, even when it looks like what we’re trying to achieve isn’t going to happen — that’s how we end up — we end up doing things that nobody expects. And that’s where we’re at right now.
So I just want all of you guys to understand that I am not tired — I’m just — I am energized. (Applause.) I am excited. I’m still fired up. I’m still ready to go. (Applause.) And if all of you are fired up and ready to go with me, then I guarantee you that we’re going to get health care passed — (applause) — we’re going to get education reform, we’re going to get an energy bill that works, we’re going to get financial and regulatory reform and we are going to keep on working until every American is able to get a decent job that pays a living wage, a good education for their kids, a retirement that is secure, health care for every single American. That’s what we’re working for. (Applause.)
Thank you, everybody. God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.)
DAILY GUIDANCE AND PRESS SCHEDULE FOR
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2009
In the morning, the President will depart Miami and travel to Sarasota, Florida. The departure from Miami International Airport and the arrival at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport in Sarasota are open press.
The President will tour DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Arcadia. The President will then deliver remarks at DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, announcing Recovery Act funding for a variety of Smart Grid technologies that will modernize the nation’s electricity grid, enhance reliability, promote efficiency and allow for the integration of clean, renewable energy — all while helping consumers save money.
Later, the President will travel to Norfolk, Virginia to deliver remarks at a rally for Creigh Deeds at Old Dominion University.
The President will return to the White House in the evening.
Statement by the President on the Anniversary of the Peace Treaty between Jordan and Israel
Today marks the anniversary of the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, signed fifteen years ago near the Israeli-Jordanian border. As we honor this historic event, we remember that peace is always possible despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The courage of King Hussein and Prime Minister Rabin demonstrated that a commitment to communication, cooperation, and genuine reconciliation can help change the course of history. Today we honor the foresight of these leaders who stared down the past’s doubters and stood together in the interest of common progress. As we work with Arabs and Israelis to expand the circle of peace, we take inspiration from what Jordan and Israel achieved fifteen years ago, knowing that the destination is worthy of the struggle.
STATEMENT FROM PRESS SECRETARY ROBERT GIBBS ON HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM
“The President congratulates Senator Reid and Chairmen Baucus and Dodd for their hard work on health insurance reform. Thanks to their efforts, we’re closer than we’ve ever been to solving this decades-old problem. And while much work remains, the President is pleased that at the progress that Congress has made. He’s also pleased that the Senate has decided to include a public option for health coverage, in this case with an allowance for states to opt out. As he said to Congress and the nation in September, he supports the public option because it has the potential to play an essential role in holding insurance companies accountable through choice and competition.”
Remarks Of President Barack Obama In Jacksonville, FL: “Fulfilling America’s Responsibility To Our Armed Forces”
Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery
Fulfilling America’s Responsibility to our Armed Forces
Naval Air Station Jacksonville
October 26, 2009
Hello Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
Thank you, Secretary Mabus, for the introduction and for your service. I know we’ve got a lot of naval aviators here. And Ray is a former surface warfare officer. But don’t hold that against him. Because Ray Mabus is doing a terrific job as Secretary of the Navy.
I want to thank all your outstanding local leaders for welcoming me here today: Admiral Tim Alexander; your C-O, Captain Jack Scorby; and your Command Master Chief, Jeff Hudson. To Chris Scorby and all the spouses with us—you hold our military families together and we honor you, too.
It’s great to be here at one of America’s finest naval air stations. But we also have folks from Mayport and Kings Bay. We have every service represented—Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and United States Marines from Blount Island.
Now, military communities like JAX take care of their own—your people, your families. But keeping you strong also takes the civilian community beyond the gate. So we thank Mayor John Peyton and all your great neighbors, the people of Jacksonville, for their incredible support.
Keeping you strong also takes leaders in Congress, like those here today: two great friends of JAX—Representatives Ander Crenshaw and Corrine Brown; and a leader who fights for you as a member of the Armed Services Committee, Senator—and Army veteran—Bill Nelson.
Keeping you strong takes something else—a country that never forgets this simple truth. It’s not the remarkable platforms that give the United States our military superiority. Although you have some pretty impressive aircraft here. It’s not the sophisticated technologies that make us the most advanced in the world. Although you do represent the future of naval aviation.
No, we have the finest Navy and military in the world because we have the finest personnel in the world. You are the best-trained, best-prepared, best-led force in history. You—our people—are our most precious resource.
We were reminded of this again, with today’s helicopter crashes in Afghanistan. Fourteen Americans gave their lives. And our prayers are with these service members, their civilian colleagues and the families who loved them.
And while no words can ease the ache in their hearts today, may they find some comfort in knowing this: like all those who give their lives in service to America, they were doing their duty and they were doing this nation proud.
They were willing to risk their lives, in this case, to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for al Qaeda and its extremist allies. And today, they gave their lives to protect ours.
Now, it is our duty, as a nation, to keep their memory alive in our hearts and to carry on their work. To take care of their families. To keep our country safe. To stand up for the values we hold dear and the freedom they defended. That is what they dedicated their lives to. That is what we must do.
So I say to you and all who serve: of all the privileges of serving as President, I have no greater honor than serving as your Commander-in Chief. You inspire me. And I’m here today to deliver a simple message—a message of thanks to you and your families.
By being here, you join a long, unbroken line of service at Jacksonville—naval aviators from World War II to Korea to Vietnam, among them a great patriot named John McCain. You embody that sailor’s creed: the “spirit of the Navy and all who have gone before”—Honor, Courage, Commitment.
In recent years, you’ve been tested like never before. We’re a country of more than 300 million Americans. But less than one percent wears the uniform. And that one percent—you and all those in uniform—bear the overwhelming burden of our security.
After months of exercises in the Pacific and stopping narco-traffickers off South America, you—the “Mad Foxes”—joined the recovery of that Air France crash off Brazil.
After hundreds of combat missions over Iraq and Afghanistan…when Somali pirates kidnapped Captain Richard Phillips, you—the “Fighting Tigers”—were first on the scene. And others among you—the “Nightdippers”—were part of the carrier group that brought our captain home.
You’ve delivered medical care to people around the world, as my wife Michelle saw this summer when she welcomed back to port the Comfort—including those of you from Naval Hospital Jacksonville.
And like thousands of sailors in today’s Navy, you’ve gone ashore to meet the missions of our time, like the “Desert Lions” who served in Iraq.
Today, we also send our thoughts and prayers to all the folks from Jacksonville on the front lines at this very moment: pilots and aircrews around the world, Navy corpsmen on the ground in Afghanistan. And those of you—the “Dusty Dogs”—who’ll deploy next month to the Persian Gulf. You’re going to make us proud.
But there is no service without sacrifice. And though few Americans will every truly understand the sacrifices that you and your family make—day in day out, tour after tour, year after year, I want you to know this.
Your dedication to duty is humbling. Your love of country is inspiring. The American people thank you for your service. We honor you for your sacrifices. And just as you have fulfilled your responsibilities to your nation, your nation will fulfill its responsibilities to you.
That’s the message that I offered to the inspiring Gold Star families I met with a few moments ago—families who have made the ultimate sacrifice and whom we honor. And that’s the message I bring to you and all our forces, families and veterans—around Jacksonville and across America.
You’ve made the most profound commitment a person can make—to dedicate your life to your country. And perhaps give your life for it. So as your commander-in-chief, here’s the commitment I make to you.
To make sure you can meet the missions we ask of you, we’re increasing the defense budget, including spending on the Navy and Marine Corps. This week, I’ll sign that defense authorization bill into law.
To make sure we’re spending our defense dollars wisely, we’re cutting tens of billions of dollars in waste and projects that even the military says it doesn’t need—money better on spent on taking care of you and your families and building the 21st century military that we do need.
To make sure we have the right force structure, we’ve halted reductions in Navy personnel and increased the size of the Marine Corps. And this year—the first time in the history of the all-volunteer force—the Navy and every component of every branch of the military, Active, Guard and Reserve, met or exceeded their recruiting and retention goals. Yes, that’s due in part to tough economic times. But I say it’s also a testament to you and everyone who volunteers to serve.
To make sure you’re not bearing the burden of our security alone, we’re enlisting all elements of our national power—diplomacy, development and a positive vision of American leadership in the world.
And while I will never hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests, I also promise you this—and this is very important as we consider our next steps in Afghanistan:
I will never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm’s way. I won’t risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary. And if it is necessary, we will back you up. Because you deserve the strategy, the clear mission, the defined goals and the equipment and support you need to get the job done. That’s the promise I make to you.
As you meet your missions around the world, we will take care of your families here at home. That’s why Michelle has been visiting bases across the country. That’s why the Recovery Act is funding projects like improvements to your hospital and a new child development center at Mayport. It’s why we’re increasing your pay, increasing child care and helping families deal with the stress and separation of war.
Finally, we pledge to be there when you come home. We’re improving care for our wounded warriors, especially those with Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injuries. We’re funding the Post-9/11 GI Bill—to give you and your families the chance to pursue your dreams. And we’re making the biggest commitment to our veterans—the largest percentage increase in the VA budget—in more than 30 years.
These are the commitments I make to you; the obligations that your country is honor-bound to uphold. Because you’ve have always taken care of America, and America must always take care of you. Always.
You know this. It’s the spirit you live by every day. It’s the pride—and yes, the anxiety—when you wave goodbye to your loved ones on the tarmac. It’s the joy—and relief—when they come home safe. And it’s the dignity and respect you show every fallen warrior who comes home to Jacksonville, like the navy aviator you honored two months ago.
Navy Captain Michael Scott Speicher. The kid from Orange Park. Loving husband. Devoted father. Based at Cecil Field not far from here. Then, on the first day of Operation Desert Storm, he was taken from us. And in the long years that followed, a Navy family and this city would endure the heartache of the unknown.
Through all those years, no one missed Scott more—or fought harder to bring him home—than his wife Joanne. His friend and former Navy pilot Buddy Harris. And their children: Meghan, Michael, Madison and Makenzie. They were among the Gold Star families I met with, and we thank them for being here with us today.
Then, this summer, the news came. After 18 years, after all the dashed hopes, we found him. Scott’s remains were finally coming home. The evening news and morning papers told the story of that day. But few told the story of the days that followed.
It’s the story of how you greeted the plane upon landing—hundreds of sailors—and escorted his flag-draped casket to your chapel. How Navy honor guards kept constant vigil, through the night, as so many of you passed by to pay your respects. How thousands of you—sailors and civilians—lined the streets of this base as you gave Scott back to the city he loved. That’s what you do, not only for Scott, but for all the fallen warriors you bring home.
It’s the story of how that procession retraced the steps of Scott’s life. Past the Jacksonville veterans memorial that now bears his name. Past the church where he worshiped, the high school where he excelled and Cecil Field where he served.
It’s the story of how Jacksonville seemed to come to a standstill as people lined street after street to honor one of their own. Scott’s friends and total strangers. Police and firefighters standing at attention. Small children holding American flags. Graying veterans giving a firm salute. And then, as Scott was finally laid to rest, a final fitting tribute—his old squadron roared overhead, high across the sky.
That’s the spirit we see here today. You, men and women devoted to each other—and to your country. A proud country devoted to you. And the example you set for us all: that if you can come together—from every corner of America, every color and creed, every background and belief—to take care of each other, to serve together, to succeed together, then so can we. So can America.
Thank you for your service. And thank you for reminding us of the country we can and must always be. God bless you Jacksonville. And God bless the United States of America.