in-town pool report #2 // more spray

From: Fritze, John []
Sent: Friday, July 21, 2017 3:32 PM
Subject: in-town pool report #2 // more spray

President Trump was standing to the left (president's left, our right) of the Resolute Desk as the pool entered the Oval Office. POTUS was joined by three survivors of the USS Arizona and a family member of a fourth service member.

"For these three World War II veterans, Dec. 7, 1941, the brutal attack on Pearl Harbor, is forever seared into their memories. It's also seared into America's memory because on that grim day this mighty nation was roused to defend freedom itself."

President told the stories of the survivors of the attack and thanked them for their service. White House says those standing next to the president were: Lauren Bruner, Fire Controlman, Third Class; Donald Stratton, Seaman, First Class; Howard Kenton (Ken) Potts, Coxswain; Joe Ann Taylor, Daughter of Joe George.

The president's remarks lasted about six minutes.

"There are many remarkable things that I witness as president, but nothing can take the place of meeting heroes like those with us today," the president said. "In them we see the strength of our nation, the courage of our men and women in uniform, the resolve to never accept failure, and the belief that justice will always triumph."

The president, in an aside, told the survivors his administration was building the military "bigger, and stronger and better."

"Your story gives us all inspiration to do the right thing for our country, our countrymen and for our God," the president said in conclusion.

There was a bit of an awkward shuffle at the end -- following the shake up question from the pool -- in which about half the pool was ushered out of the office but then the president called us back in saying "you want to hear this, folks."

One of the survivors offered a few words, we believe it was Stratton but am seeking confirmation.  His words were barely audible, but my recorder picked him up saying, "you can tell that this country's coming together again."

White House says the survivors gave the president a piece of the USS Arizona, a signed USS Arizona hat, a USS Arizona Survivors Coin, and a USS Arizona wreckage bracelet for the first lady.

More info, on background, from a White House spokesperson:

Today in the Oval Office, President Donald J. Trump met with several living survivors of the USS Arizona Pearl Harbor attack and their families. Survivors Donald Stratton, Lauren Bruner, and Ken Potts will visit Washington, D.C. for the first time, and will pay tribute and respect to those honored at Arlington National Cemetery, and the World War II, Korean, and Vietnam Memorials.

John Fritze
The Baltimore Sun
Mobile: xxx-xxx-xxxx

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