Entries in Veterans Day (5)


President Obama Marks Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery

Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- Honoring the nation’s military “heroes over the generations, who have served this country of ours with distinction,” President Barack Obama today participated in Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery.

After laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, the president spoke on the grounds’ memorial amphitheater to tell assembled military and their families that Nov. 11 would forever belong to them and, “every service member who has ever worn our nation’s uniform.”

“On behalf of the American people, I say to you that the memory of your loved one carries on not just in your hearts, but in ours as well.  And I assure you that their sacrifice will never be forgotten,” he said. “For it is in that sacrifice that we see the enduring spirit of America.  Since even before our founding, we have been blessed with an unbroken chain of patriots who have always come forward to serve.”

The president recounted remarks he made to commemorate the holiday three years ago, when he spoke of the 9-11 generation of service members. These troops, who had come up in the shadow of the War on Terror, had “toppled a dictator and battled an insurgency in Iraq,” he said.

“You pushed back the Taliban and decimated al Qaeda in Afghanistan.”

Obama was met with applause when he noted this was the first Veterans Day without an Iraq War.

“Over the next few years, more than a million service members will transition back to civilian life,” he said. “They’ll take off their uniforms and take on a new and lasting role.  They will be veterans. As they come home, it falls to us, their fellow citizens, to be there for them and their families.”

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki – himself a Vietnam vet — introduced the president at the ceremony. Obama praised his department for continuing care for veterans and their families long after wars were over, noting that the US still cares for the child of a Civil War veteran even today, as well as over a hundred spouses and children of men who served in the Spanish-American War.

The president also highlighted the work of first lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, who have focused programs on military families during their stay in the White House. The women and Vice President Joe Biden were in attendance.

“That’s what we do in America.  We take care of our own,” he said. ”We take care of our veterans.  We take care of your families.  Not just by saluting you on one day, once a year, but by fighting for you and your families every day of every year.”

It was an obligation gladly accepted for veterans like Petty Officer Taylor Morris, who lost all four limbs in Afghanistan to an IED while serving as an explosive ordinance disposal technician. In his closing remarks, Obama recounted a viral video of Morris once again dancing with his girlfriend after recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and later awarding him a Purple Heart as he stood in the White House.

After his remarks, the president and his wife were joined by the vice president and Dr. Biden as they stopped at the cemetery’s “Section 60,” an area dedicated to service members killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Walking among the tombstones, they were quietly greeted by dozens of families that had gathered in the vicinity to reflect and give respects to loved ones.

The Obama administration has reported progress in reforming problems plaguing American service members, including unemployment and homelessness. But the slow-trudging success has at times become a double edged sword.

For example, as reported by the Washington Post, the administration has made it easier for veterans to file claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs, but the backlog of pending disability claims has more than doubled since Obama took office in 2009.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Obama Attends Basketball Game on USS Carl Vinson

File photo. Pete Souza/The White House(SAN DIEGO, CA) -- President Obama is attending the first annual Veterans Day "Carrier Classic" basketball game on the same aircraft carrier that buried Osama bin Laden at sea.

Obama will attend this evening's game between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Michigan State along with roughly 7,000 fans, mostly active military personnel.

The Carrier Classic will be played on the USS Carl Vinson, the Navy carrier that conducted the bin Laden burial at sea after he was killed by Navy SEALs in May in a raid ordered by the president. The game will be the first-ever college basketball game played on a flight deck.

The sponsor of the event, Quicken Loans, says "This event is more than two great basketball teams coming together to play in an incredible environment. It's a way to recognize and support the service of the members of the Armed Forces, the veterans and their families and all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Two Presidential Hopefuls March in Veterans Day Parade

Toni Sandys/The Washington Post(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- With Sumter Street in downtown Columbia lined with bright-eyed children waving American flags and veterans partaking in the festivities, presidential hopefuls Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann marched in the city’s Veterans Day parade.

Wearing a flak jacket with a badge that said “Rick Perry, Governor Texas” Perry worked the crowd as he walked along the parade route, stopping to shake hands and pose for pictures with South Carolinians. Perry even offered some words of advice to a young boy, who commented that it was funny when the Texas governor slipped up at the debate.

“You’re all good. Y’all study a little bit. Don’t ever forget anything,” Perry said as he waved goodbye to the group.

At times, Perry, clad in brown orthopedic shoes instead of his black cowboy boots, ran through the parade course, waving as he passed the crowds, in an attempt to catch up with the main parade.

Several voters yelled words of encouragement to the Texas governor, telling him to “Hang in there, Rick,” but one woman shouted at him to name the three federal departments he tried unsuccessfully to recall at Wednesday night’s debate.

“Come on. You can do it. Three,” the woman yelled after asking him the question.

Perry engaged in some damage control Thursday to lessen the blow of his debate flub, appearing on eight national television programs, and he will continue the media tour Friday as he speaks with local press.

Bachmann, who wore an American flag scarf around her neck, walked along the parade route with Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., as they wished parade goers, “Happy Veterans Day.”

Prior to the start of the parade, two voters approached Bachmann and apologized for the behavior of protestors at her event in Mount Pleasant, S.C., Thursday. Bachmann accepted their apology and noted the protestors were not reflective of the entire South Carolina population, but their behavior was “ignorant" and "disrespectful.”

“It’s just a shame that there are so many young people who have been brainwashed and who are ignorant of all that was done for them,” Bachmann said of the protestors who interrupted her event Thursday. “As soon as they would know, if they understood the heavy price that was paid for that First Amendment right, they’d be much more respectful.”

Bachmann and Perry will join the other Republican presidential candidates at a debate in at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., Saturday sponsored by CBS and the National Journal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama on Veterans Day: ‘Our Troops are Coming Home’

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama visited Arlington National Cemetery on Friday, where the remains of America’s war dead are laid to rest.

On this Veterans Day, Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. His hand covered his heart as a drummer sounded a muffled flourish and a bugler played Taps.

At a larger ceremony at Arlington’s Amphitheater, the president spoke of the heroic sacrifice of America’s military men and women. He told the assembled military families that being their commander-in-chief is his most humbling honor.

The president noted the conflicts the U.S. military has been involved in over the last decade are drawing down. “In Iraq, they have battled a brutal insurgency, trained new security forces and given the Iraqi people the opportunity to forge a better future,” he said.

“In Afghanistan, they have pushed back the Taliban and decimated al Qaeda and delivered the ultimate justice to Osama bin Laden. In concert with our allies, they have helped end Gadhafi’s brutal dictatorship and returned Libya to its people,” the president said.

“In just a few weeks, the long war in Iraq will finally come to an end,” he said to applause. “Our transition in Afghanistan is moving forward. My fellow Americans, our troops are coming home.”

But many veterans are coming home to an unemployment rate higher for them than for Americans as a whole. The president said the government would hire more veterans and he called on the private sector to do the same.

“They’ve earned their place among the greatest of generations,” he said.

The president said the U.S. economy needs the “tremendous talents” and “specialized skills” of veterans.

“So on this Veterans Day, I ask every American, recruit our veterans,” he said. “If you’re a business owner, hire them. If you’re a community leader, a mayor, a pastor or a preacher, call on them to join your efforts. Organize your community to make a sustained difference in the life of a veteran because that veteran can make an incredible difference in the life of your community.”

The president directed veterans looking for jobs to a new government website, and he said civilians looking to support veterans and active duty military should visit, a website set up by Mrs. Obama and Vice President Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


While Honoring Veterans, Obama Condemns North Korea

Photo Courtesy - Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- While honoring U.S. troops on Veterans Day at a U.S. Army base in South Korea, President Obama condemned North Korea, saying that the path it is on will only lead to more isolation and less security.

“Today, the Korean peninsula provides the world’s clearest contrast between a society that is open and one that is closed; between a nation that is dynamic and growing, and a government that would rather starve its people than change,” Obama said at Yongsan Army Base in Seoul, South Korea.  “It’s a contrast so stark you can see it from space, as the brilliant lights of Seoul give way to utter darkness in the north.”

The president said this is no accident of history, but rather a direct result of the path of “confrontation and provocation” taken by North Korea, including, he said, its pursuit of nuclear weapons and its attack on the South Korean ship Cheonan last March.

“In the wake of this aggression, Pyongyang should not be mistaken: The United States will never waver in our commitment to the security of the Republic of Korea," Obama said.  "Along the with the rest of the world, we have made it clear that North Korea’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons will only lead to more isolation and less security.”

The president said that there is another path available to North Koreans: to fulfill their international obligations and offer their people “greater security and greater respect.”

The president’s remarks came largely as part of a Veterans Day message to troops.

“We recall acts of uncommon bravery and selflessness," he said, "but we also remember that honoring those who’ve served is about more than the words we say on Veterans Day or Memorial Day; it’s about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year.”

The president also paid tribute to those who fought, both from the U.S. and Korea, in the Korean War.  This year marks the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the war.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio