Gun Control Statistics: Arguments from Both Sides

In the early 1980s, Chicago enacted gun laws that basically banned handguns. Unfortunately, while the murder rate in Chicago declined, the percentage of Chicago murders that were committed using handguns rose by 2%, to about 40%. More seriously, while the percentage of murders from 1968-2010 using handguns was 48%, the percentage of murders by handgun during the ban was 59%.

The ban didn’t stop murders. Citizens were still able to use handguns illegally, keep handguns from before the ban, or legally buy them in other cities or states.

Gun control is a very complex issue with strong feelings from both camps—those who want to reduce gun sales and ownership and those who want to promote gun ownership. Let’s review the gun control statistics and gun violence facts that each side uses.

Anti-Gun Arguments

The US has suffered 1,363 mass shootings, in which four or more people were shot or killed, since 2014. Since 2013, the US has suffered 291 school shootings. In mass shootings over the last three decades, shooters purchased 82% of the weapons used legally.

When the Second Amendment was written, people had muskets that could fire one round per minute. Today, people have access to some firearms that can shoot 60–100 rounds per minute.  Machine guns can shoot hundreds of rounds per minute (though they’re difficult to get).

There are 89 guns for every 100 people in the US, according to some estimates. But it could be as high as 113 guns per 100, using one of the highest estimates of 357 million firearms in the US.It is believed that less than 1% of all civilian weapons are registered.

In 2013, there were about 10.6 deaths by firearms per 100,000 persons in the US. That breaks down to:

  • 11,208 homicides
  • 21,175 suicides
  • 505 accidental deaths or deaths due to negligence
  • 281 deaths because of “undetermined intent”
  • 467 deaths in legal intervention or war

There were also 73,505 nonfatal firearm injuries, which is 23.2 injuries per 100,000 persons. In total, about 107,141 Americans are shot every year.

Private sellers at gun shows don’t have to follow federal regulations that commercial sellers follow. There are about 5,000 gun shows every year in the US, and about 1,000 firearms are sold in 2 days at the largest gun shows. So, some of those sales are through unregulated private sellers (although most are through large commercial sellers).

Pro-Gun Arguments

The Second Amendment states, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The gun violence facts in America are true even with 300 or more gun laws already on the books. So, it doesn’t make sense to create even more laws just to make people feel safe, when the 300 gun laws haven’t worked.

Part of the reason gun laws don’t reduce crime is that criminals will always be able to get guns on the black market.

There are stand-your-ground laws in more than 21 US states, which have been passed by the state officials and the votes of the citizens. These allow citizens to use deadly force with a firearm without attempting to retreat. Citizens can do this in self-defense when threatened.

Many times per year, citizens use firearms to deter criminals or to directly defend themselves. Firearms also prevent crimes just by being present, even when they’re not discharged. Justifiable homicides, when people use firearms to fight a criminal in the act of a felony, rose between 2005 and 2010.

Legal substances kill far, far more people per year than guns do:

  • Cigarettes kill about 480,000 Americans per year
  • Alcohol leads to about 88,000 American deaths per year
  • Firearms caused 33,636 American deaths in 2013

Firearms caused less than half the number of deaths than alcohol caused and far, far less than the number that cigarettes caused. Cigarettes and alcohol are legal but are not particularly useful, whereas Americans can use firearms for self-defense.

Guns in themselves are not the problem. Criminals are the problem. We need more education, more law enforcement, and more people who know how to defend themselves and use guns lawfully in other ways.

A Balanced View on Law

Laws are meant to limit the use of firearms by people who are underage and to prevent criminals from obtaining weapons. However, many criminals buy firearms on the black market. Therefore, laws should not take away from law-abiding citizens their ability to obtain firearms, because they may still need them for self-defense against criminals.

It’s possible that a standard background check is enough to reasonably deter criminals from obtaining weapons legally. At least, it can make us as safe as we can possibly be in this world in which firearms are a reality and are not going away.

At the same time, anti-gun folks have legitimate reasons to want laws and strict enforcement of laws, because firearm deaths can be very tragic and terrifying. Having no laws at all would lead to chaos, and of course both sides agree that less unnecessary violence is the goal of every American.

Concealed Carry Tips

Education may increase the safety of law-abiding citizens. After learning gun violence facts, a good education includes learning to handle a gun safely. If you want to carry a concealed weapon, it’s vital to do it in a lawful way.

Be sure you’re following federal laws and the laws of the state you’re in. In every situation, follow the four cardinal rules of carrying a concealed weapon:

  • Always treat your weapon as if it’s loaded.
  • Only put your finger on the trigger when you put your sights on a target and decide to fire.
  • Be sure of your target, always.
  • If you point your firearm at anything, you have to be willing to destroy it.

Second, when you’re in public, don’t take your weapon anywhere it’s not allowed, even if you have a CWP: the Post Office, other government buildings, airport security, and some school campuses (without written permission). Even some places of employment outlaw weapons.

Third, make sure your weapon is truly concealed. Even if you can carry legally, many states outlaw unnecessarily frightening other citizens by displaying a weapon openly. You need a holster that lets you carry comfortably, safely, and invisibly. Plan your clothing and activities around these needs.

We don’t believe you can twist gun control statistics to “say anything you want.” For example, the fact that thousands of Americans commit suicide every year with a gun is just true. We can’t use those numbers to say just anything we want.

Many of those suicide deaths are veterans—our American heroes. So, we need to take better care of our veterans. We need to help them get the benefits they deserve. We need to examine the legal drugs and other substances they’re given. We need to support them. We need to help them get into good groups they can belong to in civilian life.

We live in a reality in which guns exist and some people want to use them, some for criminal acts and others for defense and lawful recreation. Should we pretend we can just make all guns stop existing because they’re frightening?

Of course not. We need to build gun laws on a realistic view of gun violence facts and to strive for what is best for all of our citizens. Learn more about VA loans and other veteran issues on our blog.

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Gun Control - YEA or NEA, Arguments From Both Sides by Low VA Rates
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How the US Keeps the Military and Presidency Separate

Comander-in-Chief Military

One of the many beliefs the United States Constitution was founded upon is that the military should be controlled by a civilian. The president of the United States is designated in the Constitution as this civilian commander-in-chief.

No military training is required in order to become president, and no training is given the president upon his being sworn into office. So how does this affect military and political affairs? And what is the reasoning behind civilian control of the military?

Separation of Powers

According to Article II of the Constitution, the president is commander-in-chief of the United States armed forces. The Constitution also states that all three branches of government, namely the legislative, the executive, and the judicial, have some share of control over the military. The president has the highest authority but maintains his status as a civilian by having no military rank.

Second to the president in military control is the secretary of defense, who also holds civilian status, or at least, cannot have served in the armed forces within the seven years prior to his/her appointment. The secretary of defense is the chief executive officer of the Department of Defense, the team in charge of all national security and armed forces operations.

Why Civilian Control of the Military?

While many of the ideas presented in the U.S. Constitution were novel for their time, some were inspired by British rule. Civilian control of the military is a tradition the Founding Fathers adopted from the British.

There are many reasons why civilian control of the military is supported as a practice. Some argue that it prevents the formation of a state within a state. A state within a state occurs when an entity within a nation, such as the armed forces or a church, does not acknowledge the greater civilian political government.

Subjecting the military to civilian authority is also a characteristic of democratic models of government. Many political theorists argue that the people must control the military in order to be free rather than allowing the military to control the people.

Exactly how the theory of civilian control is carried out varies from country to country.

There have been moments in American history (and in present America) when commanders-in-chief and high-ranking military officers have rubbed each other the wrong way. To secure their control over policy or strategy, a few presidents have even dismissed high-ranking officers.

For example, early in American history, John Adams fired his secretary of war. Later, James Polk faced trouble with his generals seeking the presidency on an opposing ticket. Abraham Lincoln fired George McClellan during the Civil War for acting contrary to military policy, and Harry S. Truman dismissed Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War for similar reasons.

In 2010, Stanley McChrystal, former commander of the U.S. and ISAF forces in Afghanistan, resigned his post under President Obama after ridiculing members of Obama’s administration in a Rolling Stones article.

In contrast to these, there are many examples of mutual trust between U.S. presidents and their generals, one being John F. Kennedy and General Maxwell D. Taylor. After the Bay of Pigs incident, Kennedy felt he could no longer rely on the expertise of his joint chiefs of staff. His relationship with Taylor was such that he requested Taylor come out of retirement and be his military advisor. Later, Lyndon B. Johnson would prove largely deferential towards General William C. Westmoreland when it came to the war in Vietnam.

President Military ExperienceThe Mixing of Political and Military Affairs

There are those in the military who think military affairs are too often politicized. They strongly prefer political leaders who trust military officials to accomplish objectives according to their judgment and experience as opposed to leaders who micromanage every military action.

One study of the last 200 years of U.S. foreign policy shows government tendencies to act aggressively in war if a non-veteran is in command and defensively if a veteran is in command. Another study revealed that the American people are more supportive of wars or other military operations if government leaders have personal experience serving in the armed forces.

The political and military workings of our great nation are complex and carry a rich history. To learn more about the military and its diverse operations and culture, as well as our many veterans, visit our blog.

George Washington’s Military Legacy

George Washington Military Experience

We all know who George Washington is, and we could all probably identify him if presented with a picture. He was the first president of the United States, and as such, played an extremely important role in the founding of America. His background has set a precedent for the kind of background we expect from our political leaders today. For example, if a political figure running for a major office doesn’t have much prior experience in politics, a background in military service can certainly make up for it.

So how much do you know about George Washington’s military experience itself? Find out how he led the US military, and guess how it may have affected him as the first presidential leader of this country.

Washington’s Promotion in Military Ranks

1752 – 1754: Major

1754 – 1755: Lieutenant Colonel

1755 – 1758: Colonel

1775 – 1783: General

1798 – 1800: Lieutenant General

1976: General of the Armies of the United States

The First American President’s War Service

French and Indian War

In 1752, Washington started his military service in the British Provincial Militia and was appointed as a major. In that same year, trouble with the French started to brew. France wanted a stronger presence in America and so began expanding its control in what was then called the Ohio Country, but unfortunately, this land had already been claimed by both Virginia and Pennsylvania, so the British marched in to expel French forces. By the time the French and Indian War broke out in 1754, Washington was already established as a major in the militia. During this war, Washington played a major role through his service, and at the end of the Braddock Disaster of 1755 (which would lead to over 900 casualties), he rode back and forth on the battlefield, trying to rally everyone to make an organized retreat, helping to maintain their dignity and provide a figure the troops could look to for support and direction. He eventually helped capture Fort Duquesne and defeat the French.

American Revolutionary War

The American Revolution was the longest war that the U.S. was involved in before the start of the Vietnam War. In 1775, the Continental Congress quickly elected Washington as the General Commander in Chief over all Continental forces due to his military experience, and his leadership throughout the American Revolution led him to becoming the first president of the United States. Incredibly, Washington refused any salary to work as the commander in chief. He simply led the armies because of his strong sense of duty. Throughout the war, he adopted effective strategies that pitted American strengths against British weaknesses, and he avoided major defeats where possible. In the famous battle of Yorktown in 1781, he struck the British down with a protracted siege. But even though the American colonies eventually won the war and their independence, Washington also faced many struggles trying to keep his forces united.

Washington firmly believed the military should be subjected to civilian authority, and so he disbanded the army after the war and became a citizen himself once again. Without his amazing leadership, self-discipline, personal integrity, and foresight, most say the Revolutionary War would have had a very different ending.

Quasi-War with France

The Quasi-War with France became Washington’s last. Although war was never officially declared, the conflict lasted from about 1798 to 1800. The French sought help from the United States in its war against the British. However, Washington had signed a neutrality agreement, saying the country would not get involved, and the Jay Treaty was also signed, restoring a friendly trade and diplomatic relationship with England. In retaliation, France interfered with American ships and trading, and Washington once again commanded the United States Army in combat against the French Navy until the end of the conflict with the Convention of 1800.

George Washington: How We Know Him Today

George Washington as a Military Leader and our First President Will Never Be OutrankedIn the centuries since Washington’s presidency and military service, many people have been promoted to outrank him, so 175 years after his death (in 1976), George Washington received a posthumous promotion to the highest rank in the U.S. militaryGeneral of the Armies of the United States. We greatly respect George Washington and believe it’s important to learn more about his legacy. We also respect all who have spent time in military service, and we try to give back by helping veterans get affordable home loans. Contact us or visit to learn more.

Military Experience Republican Candidates

The Lack of Military Experience Among Presidential Candidates Raises Questions

2016 Presidential Election

The number of Republican presidential candidates for the upcoming election is very high. So high, in fact, that for the first GOP debate, the candidates were split up into two sections, with those polling highest being grouped together, and those polling lowest being grouped together. In the group of 10 being polled the highest, not a single one has any military experience. This is unusual, but it also calls into question whether the presidential field at large will have the interest of veterans and the military at heart. In a time when we are facing threats from ISIS, Russia, and the need to artfully work with Iran to prevent them from gaining nuclear capabilities, the lack of military experience in presidential hopefuls may be cause for concern.


In fact, of all the GOP presidential hopefuls, only Rick Perry and Lindsey Graham have any meaningful military experience. Perry served in the Air Force as a pilot in the ‘70s, and Graham served 33 years in the Air Force Reserve, having retired only this year. Significant questions have been raised about Graham’s service, as well as why Donald Trump and Jeb Bush received draft numbers but were never drafted. It has also not been discussed why Dr. Ben Carson and Governor John Kasich never served despite being old enough for the draft. This lack of military experience would not be nearly as concerning if it weren’t for the subsequent lack of military-related discourse since the beginning of the campaigning. Candidates have stayed relatively silent on military matters and veterans affairs in their speeches.


This could have more to do with a lack of significant disagreements among the candidates about required action on military and VA matters, but it may also signal a significant disconnect between the presidential hopefuls and the military and veterans of our nation. You know it’s a bad sign when the only major military or veteran-related issue to come up in the race so far is when Trump said that McCain wasn’t a war hero for being a POW. Instead of this comment being a catalyst in starting conversations about better serving veterans and our military, it was washed away as soon as Trump said something else controversial.


Even among the few Democratic candidates, none of the prominent hopefuls has military experience, with only Jim Webb having military service in his background. While this lack of military experience among the hopefuls doesn’t mean that veterans or the military will be neglected, it does cast shadow on the possibility that we’ll see meaningful veteran and military reform over the next 4-8 years. Unfortunately, even with the VA scandals and other bad press that has come about over the last while, veterans issues just aren’t at the forefront of the majority of Americans’ minds. Immigration has pushed itself to the forefront of the discussion, as well as healthcare and government overreach. These issues are what most Americans are looking to have fixed, and while everyone agrees that veterans issues need to be addressed, no one seems to have any idea where to start.


Beyond talking points and rhetoric, there seems to be no clear plans of action to address the issues at the VA, which may be because no one can figure out the root cause of the negligence and poor care that has come out. It’s much easier to talk about putting up a fence on the mexican border than it is to talk about launching an investigation to figure out the root cause of the VA’s issues and then address them accordingly. There’s a reason mobs grabs torches and pitchforks instead of clipboards and pens.

2016 Presidential Debate

Hopefully by the time the nominations occur we will have had discourse on the ever-present veterans issues that are defining our military and veterans, so we will have a clear picture of the candidate that will do the best in representing the members of our armed forces.


Even if non-veteran presidential hopefuls can give domestic military and veteran issues the attention they deserve, how will they handle the tricky and complicated military matters of ISIS, Russia, and Iran? Not to mention North Korea and China. We live in an increasingly dangerous world, with threats from many different sources, and military experience can be the tempering that turns an iron president into a steel president.


A Brief History of the VA Loan Program

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On June 22, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, a bill you likely know as The GI Bill of Rights, or the GI Bill for short.

While the bill was originally drafted by Harry W. Colmery, who had also served as a National Commander of the American Legion and Republican National Chairman, the willingness of FDR to sign the bill into law was one of the pieces that had to fall into place for the bill to get passed.

At the time, the bill was highly controversial, particularly the inclusion of unemployment benefits in the form of $20 a week for up to 52 weeks. Both houses of Congress had passed their own versions of the bill and they agreed on the education and home loan benefits, but the unemployment provision nearly killed the bill.

In the end, it came down to Rep. John Gibson of Georgia to come in and cast the tie-breaking vote. Had FDR shot it down instead of signing it, the bill would almost certainly never been able to get the votes for a veto override, ending the bill and taking the VA loan program with it, even though the VA loan portion of the bill was mutually agreed upon. The GI Bill was updated in 1984 and became known as the Montgomery GI Bill, named after Congressman Gillespie V. “Sonny” Montgomery; it was again updated in 2008.

The passing and signing of the original GI Bill was the beginning of a legacy. President Franklin D. RooseTeddy Rooseveltvelt made this statement upon signing the GI Bill:

“This bill, which I have signed today, substantially carries out most of the recommendations made by me in a speech on July 28, 1943, and more specifically in messages to the Congress dated October 27, 1943, and November 23, 1943:

It gives servicemen and women the opportunity of resuming their education or technical training after discharge, or of taking a refresher or retrainer course, not only without tuition charge up to $500 per school year, but with the right to receive a monthly living allowance while pursuing their studies.

It makes provision for the guarantee by the Federal Government of not to exceed 50 percent of certain loans made to veterans for the purchase or construction of homes, farms, and business properties.

It provides for reasonable unemployment allowances payable each week up to a maximum period of one year, to those veterans who are unable to find a job.

It establishes improved machinery for effective job counseling for veterans and for finding jobs for returning soldiers and sailors.

It authorizes the construction of all necessary additional hospital facilities.

It strengthens the authority of the Veterans Administration to enable it to discharge its existing and added responsibilities with promptness and efficiency.

With the signing of this bill a well-rounded program of special veterans’ benefits is nearly completed. It gives emphatic notice to the men and women in our armed forces that the American people do not intend to let them down.

By prior legislation, the Federal Government has already provided for the armed forces of this war: adequate dependency allowances; mustering-out pay; generous hospitalization, medical care, and vocational rehabilitation and training; liberal pensions in case of death or disability in military service; substantial war risk life insurance, and guaranty of premiums on commercial policies during service; protection of civil rights and suspension of enforcement of certain civil liabilities during service; emergency maternal care for wives of enlisted men; and reemployment rights for returning veterans.

This bill therefore and the former legislation provide the special benefits which are due to the members of our armed forces — for they “have been compelled to make greater economic sacrifice and every other kind of sacrifice than the rest of us, and are entitled to definite action to help take care of their special problems.” While further study and experience may suggest some changes and improvements, the Congress is to be congratulated on the prompt action it has taken.”

The sentiments expressed by FDR and the reasons for signing the GI Bill remind of us the potential to do good that every president has. This President’s Day, let’s celebrate the presidents who have done right by our nation’s veterans.

The Latest on North Korea

Maybe you are like me and wondering “is this guy just nuts?” You have to wonder what is going on in his mind, as you also wondered what was going on in the mind of his father and his father’s father. It’s all about a point of reference.

For many diplomats and military analysts, the latest rhetoric from Kim Jong Un, the erratic leader of North Korea, could be an effort by Kim to establish support and allegiance among his own people. Kim’s latest action was to shut down a key military hotline between the governments of North and South Korea.

It is no secret that Kim’s North Korea is an impoverished nation. His people have been repressed; they are known to be impoverished and even starving. Experts say he is under pressure to do something to take his people’s minds off of the harsh realities of life and give them a greater purpose. Many were hopeful that his youth and his education abroad would lead him to reach out to the rest of the world and lessen or reverse some of the anti-West policies of his grandfather and father. That doesn’t appear to be happening.

What has Kim done in the last month or so?

  • Conducted a third Feb. 12 nuclear test against the wishes and warnings of the international community.
  • Increased the combat-readiness level of its artillery forces. (Among Kim’s threatened targets are US military bases on Guam and Hawaii.)
  • Promised to shred the 1953 armistice agreement and shut off the hotline at the border region.
  • Made a spectacular announcement that N. Korea reserves the right to conduct a preemptive nuclear strike against Washington or S. Korea.

Military Drills

The US has not backed away from Kim’s incendiary remarks. Just a day after Kim cut the military hotline with S. Korea, the US flew two B-2 stealth bombers over S. Korea as a part of a military exercise. In an officially released statement the US military said it demonstrated its forces could conduct “long-range, precision strikes quickly and at will.”

The two nuclear-capable planes flew from Whitman Air force Base in Missouri to South Korea as part of a “single, continuous” round trip mission during which they dropped “inert munitions on the Jik Do Range”, according to the US military statement.

The history of conducting military drills on the Korean peninsula is a key to understanding the disagreement between N. Korea and the West. Previous US administrations have acknowledged a large and troubling gap in understanding between Washington and Pyongyang about the purpose of conducting military drills and maneuvers.

N. Korea is a military state. In 1950, it put into action a plan that concealed large-scale military movements toward S. Korea. In what it termed “a training exercise” several participating divisions headed south for Seoul, which set off the Korean War. The West is skeptical about Pyongyang’s “military drills.” N. Korea, for their part, seems to be wired to view the annually scheduled joint military exercise between S. Korea and the US as a provocation to war. The mistrust between the two sides is huge; accordingly, the yearly rhetoric military posturing can quickly escalate, as it has this year.

Under past US administrations, and most recently with President Clinton, the US agreed to suspend the joint military drills and provide much-needed food and other aid that N. Korea desperately needed. Pyongyang would always ratchet up their propaganda and then back off peacefully as concessions were made on the part of the West. The result was always peace, if not a distrustful one.

The uneasiness in the world right now concerning the Korean peninsula is mostly about what this young man at the head of the N. Korean state means to do. Will he learn to interact responsibly with the rest of the world to seek a peaceful resolution to differences? Or, will he command a reckless military action and go further with his threats? How far down this road to war is he willing to go? Let’s hope not far.

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Obama Confirms U.S. Commitment to Israel

President Obama had some tough talk for Iran in his first visit to Israel. Seeking to reassure the United States’ primary ally in the Middle East, President Obama today told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his administration remains committed to doing “what is necessary” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“We do not have a policy of containment when it comes to a nuclear Iran. Our policy is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Obama told reporters at a joint press conference after a series of closed-door meetings with Israeli leaders. “The United States will continue to consult closely with Israel on next steps. And I will repeat, all options are on the table,” he said.

Obama and Netanyahu Friendly

President Obama appeared to be in high spirits as he stepped onto the tarmac at Ben Gurion airport. “The United States is proud to stand with you as your strongest ally and your greatest friend,” Obama said in his first words after arriving in Tel Aviv.

Give President Obama points for his out-going personality and wit. He appeared genuine and resolute in his public appearances. He seemed to be friendly and personal in private moments. Yes, there were protesters and even a few hecklers. But the president handled them with grace and with respect.

The U.S. president and Israeli prime minister have had a difficult relationship during the president’s first term, but you would not know it by the way they joked and interacted with one another. In fact, Netanyahu praised President Obama as the president who had most fully recognized Israel’s rights as a sovereign nation to defend itself. “Thank you for standing by Israel at this time of historic change in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said. “Thank you for unequivocally affirming Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself against any threat.”

Netanyahu has been campaigning on the world stage for support against Iranian nuclear weapons. He warned the U.N. in September of 2012 that Iran was in the final stages of having nuclear weapons, weapons that could strike Israel within about 12 minutes of being launched. Netanyahu again warned of “Iran’s relentless pursuit toward nuclear weapons.” The Israeli prime minister praised Obama for mobilizing the international community and for efforts with diplomacy and sanctions. He was, however firm in his assessment that such efforts “must be augmented by clear and credible threat of military action.”

In a poignant moment, Netanyahu recalled a Jewish people that two generations ago were powerless and defenseless to protect themselves. Against that backdrop Netanyahu then remarked, “Israel can never cede its right to defend itself, not even to its greatest friends. And Israel has no greater friend that the United States of America.” Netanyahu warmly praised President Obama for his public declaration that “the essence of the rebirth of the Jewish state is the fulfillment of the age-old dream of the Jewish people: to be masters of their own fate in their own state.”

Obama Speaks to Israeli Students

In a speech to Israeli students, President Obama emphasized three areas: security, peace, and prosperity. He reminded the students of the Palestinian turmoil that is constantly around them, saying that true peace cannot come except as mutually agreed upon between two sovereign states.

President Obama praised Israeli innovation, declaring Israel to be a hub of technology and growth. He noted Israelis have built something meaningful on a small strip of land that has so much history. He then challenged the Israeli students to continue to build something of lasting and meaningful importance. “As we face the twilight of Israel’s founding generation, it falls to you, you students, to create the future.”

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Top 5 Presidential Speeches in US History

Before and after each election, we hear a slew of political debates, interviews and speeches—so many it can be easy to forget most of them. But what about the presidential speeches in US history that will never be forgotten?

There are thousands to choose from, and it’s a difficult task to narrow it down to five, but we’ve picked some of what we think are the most famous in our country’s history. Please enjoy our list below, and make sure to leave a comment telling us about your favorite presidential speech and why you love it!

Top 5 Most Famous Presidential Speeches in US History


 1. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address



Most Americans learn about the famous Gettysburg Address in elementary school. You may recognize the iconic phrase, “Four score and seven years ago,” that opens the address.

The speech was delivered on November 19, 1863. This was during the American Civil War and after the Union had defeated the Confederacy in Gettysburg. The speech was only two minutes long, but it has been deemed one of the most powerful speeches of all time, as it helped the nation come together after Civil War. Only hours after Lincoln gave the speech, he was described as feverish, weak and very ill. Later, Lincoln was diagnosed with smallpox and is thought to have had the virus during the speech.


 2. Richard Nixon’s Resignation Speech



President Nixon still remains the only US president to resign from office to avoid what most consider eminent impeachment.  With the Watergate investigations raging and Nixon’s waning popularity, the president was defeated.  On August 8, 1974 Nixon addressed the nation and officially resigned as the president of the US.  The next day Gerald Ford was sworn into office and became the 38th president of the US.


 3. George Washington’s Farewell Speech



On September 19, 1796, President George Washington announced that he would not run for reelection as president. Perhaps the most iconic figure in American history, Washington was instrumental in developing many of the freedoms we enjoy today.  In typical noble fashion, the speech gave Americans hope and ushered in the first presidential transition with grace and dignity.  The address became a blueprint of our country’s government for many years and created unity among the states.


 4. JFK’s Cuban Missile Speech



On October 22, 1962, President Kennedy delivered an honest and powerful speech declaring that the US would not back down from possible nuclear war.  An American spy plane over the island of Cuba secretly took photos of Soviet Union nuclear missiles.  After days of discussing the appropriate action, Kennedy placed a naval blockade around Cuba and demanded the missiles be removed.

Luckily, the Soviet Union leader Khrushchev backed down, and soon after the two countries began to establish peace.


 5. Clinton’s Confession Speech



After vehemently denying having sexual relations during the Clinton/Lewinsky Scandal, President Clinton changed his original stance and confessed to having inappropriate relations with Monica Lewinsky.

The confession speech was aired live on the major TV networks on August 17, 1998 as President Clinton admitted to having “a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that was inappropriate.”

Clinton was later impeached by the House of Representatives as the 42nd President of the US on two charges: perjury and obstruction of justice. The president was then acquitted by the Senate, but was only 17 votes short of being removed from his office. The required two-thirds majority was not obtained and Clinton maintained his Presidency.

About Low VA Rates

Low VA Rates is a VA-approved mortgage lender that has been helping veterans and active duty servicemembers get great home loans for over 10 years. We love US history, so please feel free to visit our blog to explore more of our historical posts.

Obama vs Romney – How the Military Will Fare

The Presidential election is just around the corner. Have you decided how you’re voting yet? Among many other issues is the consideration of how the military may change depending on who is elected. The infographic below breaks down each candidates plan for the military given they are elected. We hope you like the info and that you’ll share it. Thanks!
Continue reading “Obama vs Romney – How the Military Will Fare”

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