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President Obama honors veterans at Arlington

Posted November 11, 2009

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— President Barack Obama went to the national burial ground for war heroes to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, a day after leading a memorial service for those slain in the Fort Hood, Texas, shootings.

On a gray, rainy day, the commander in chief took part in a tradition honoring not only those who lost their lives in battle but also the men and women who serve U.S. military missions worldwide today.

Veterans Day memorial at Arlington National Cemetery 2009 National Veterans Day observance

Wearing a black raincoat, the president placed a flower-laced wreath on a stand and stood over it silently for several moments. He placed his hand on his heart as a bugler played taps.

"In this time of war, we gather here mindful that the generation serving today already deserves a place alongside previous generation for the courage they have shown and the sacrifices they have made," Obama said during a brief speech at the cemetery's Memorial Amphitheater. (Read the president's remarks.)

"In an era where so many acted in the pursuit of narrow self interests, they chose the opposite. They chose to serve the cause that is greater than self – many even after they knew they would be sent in harm's way," he continued. "So to all of them – to our veterans, to the fallen and to their families – there's no tribute, no commemoration, no praise that can truly match the magnitude of your service and your sacrifice."

Obama pledged he would do right by all veterans and families, saying, "America will not let you down."
After his comments, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama spent some time in the section of the cemetery where fallen troops from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are buried. The Obamas surprised family members who were there to pay their respects and spent some time talking to them.

Obama was expected Wednesday afternoon to meet with his national security team on Afghanistan and Pakistan. All the major players will be there, including Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, who three months ago said he needed 40,000 more troops.

Administration officials have said the president is considering sending more troops to the war zone but less than McChrystal has requested. Some officials have said the war there cannot be won and that it will cost many more American lives.

More than 800 U.S. service members have died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime.

Meanwhile, a number of events happened locally to honor those who have served in the military.

Gov. Beverly Perdue spike to the Disabled American Veterans in Jacksonville Wednesday morning Other ceremonies took place in Wake, Wilson, Orange and Franklin counties.

N.C. Rep. Grier Martin, R-Wake, an Iraqi War veteran, as well as veterans attending North Carolina State University are expected to speak at a ceremony at Harris Field on the N.C. State campus at 5:15 p.m.

Also known as Armistice Day, Nov. 11 marks the day in 1918 when the Allies and Germany signed an armistice formally ending World War I.

At Camp Eggers in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, U.S. soldiers stood to attention during a ceremony before observing a moment of silence.

"We pause today as a coalition command just as our nation will pause at home to remember those who have served to honor their service and their sacrifice," Commanding General MG Richard P. Formica said.

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  • gov watchdog Nov 12, 2009

    wildervb - everything you listed is of finite duration NOT something that will be an expense forever. By the comments that are written, it is pretty easy to see which people are paying INTO the system and which are benefitting from the system. I, for one, am not interested in paying 50% in taxes because others are not willing to carry their own portions of the load. Here is an alternate idea - I would be willing to help pay for the U.S government to build (with non-union labor) a hospital in each major city. These hospitals will not be allowed to have cutting edge medical technology (no CAT scans, no MRIs - basically what was available in the 1960's) or cutting edge medication but any U.S. citizen that does not have insurance for ANY reason can use it free of charge. However, if people do not have insurance they may not go to a private hospital EXCEPT life or death and must be transferred as quickly as possible.

  • lizard Nov 11, 2009

    "The Hope and Change is we now have a President who thinks before he acts. That's some thing that was clearly lacking in the last 8 years."

    How cliche. Fact of the matter is this guy is clueless. Nothing but a community organizer "promoted" to a level above his ability by ignorant voters.

  • lizard Nov 11, 2009

    "Road, schools, the building of the Erie Canal, all major public works projects."

    Most of the first roads were private and one had to pay a toll. Schools were built by the locals as were the churches. Big gov't didn't come around 'til after socialism was invented in the late 1800's. That's when the interest in directing the masses came into being. So a few at the top could be enriched by the slave labor.

  • lizard Nov 11, 2009

    "Having Universal Health care, is normal for the rest of the developed world"

    That's why they're coming here for the best healthcare in the world.

  • wildervb Nov 11, 2009

    "wildervb - what public enterprize(?) have we had almost since inception??"

    Road, schools, the building of the Erie Canal, all major public works projects.

    How about giving away literally millions of acres of farm land to settlers, can you get any more socialistic than that!

  • gov watchdog Nov 11, 2009

    wildervb - what public enterprize(?) have we had almost since inception??

  • wildervb Nov 11, 2009

    "Wildevb, you know what, Socialism is great until you run out of someone elses money. I'll keep my money, my guns and my freedom. You can keep the "Change""

    Wow, how original, never saw that silly saying before.

    Our economy has been a mix of public and private enterprize practically since its inception. In other words, we've always been socialistic in some ways. Having Universal Health care, is normal for the rest of the developed world, I'd like to see it happen here as well. This won't stop our private companies from operating nor will it make us less free.

  • wildervb Nov 11, 2009

    "When it comes to the GWOT, the difference between GW and Obama is clear. GW's main concern was to protect us and do everything possible to destroy the enemy. GW did not sit on a troop request for 8 months. The FACT is there were no additional ground troops available to send at the time, but GW more than doubled the number of aircraft in theater to protect the troops who were there."

    The request was made 8 months before Bush left office. You are right, we had troops tied up in Iraq. The big diversion from the war on terror. You realy could say that Bush neglected Afganistan for 7 years, not 8 months.

    Worland you're blind support of Bush is pathetic, and even worse is you blatent hatred of our existing President.

    I supported Bush when we initially invaded Afganistan, it was the Iraq invasion that I was against.

    You on the other hand attack our current President for every single action he makes. It's clear to see you hate the man.

  • badcompany1023 Nov 11, 2009

    is it 2012 yet

  • Worland Nov 11, 2009

    When it comes to the GWOT, the difference between GW and Obama is clear. GW's main concern was to protect us and do everything possible to destroy the enemy. GW did not sit on a troop request for 8 months. The FACT is there were no additional ground troops available to send at the time, but GW more than doubled the number of aircraft in theater to protect the troops who were there.

    Obama, on the other hand, has let politics dictate how he has run the war. Supporting the so called "good" war only lasted the first three months in office. Since then, the Dems have passed monstrous war funding budgets, bigger than any other GW, which were full of pork like Cash for Clunkers and little money for the troops. Obama made a politically driven change to the rules of engagement allowing the enemy to attack us with impunity. Since taking effect, over 170 allied troops have died needlessly. More troops were requested back in March, and again in August... no response from Obama.

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