Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Obama urges nation to honor Memorial Day through 'deeds'

By Scott Wilson
President Obama called Saturday for Americans to honor their countrymen who have died in war, saying that Memorial Day should be marked by "doing our part for the loved ones our fallen heroes have left behind and looking after our military families."

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said, "We are called to honor their ultimate sacrifice with more than words. We are called to honor them with deeds."

"By making sure the men and women serving this country around the world have the support they need to achieve their missions and come home safely," he said. "By making sure veterans have the care and assistance they need. In short, by serving all those who have ever worn the uniform of this country - and their families - as well as they have served us."

Obama is spending the holiday weekend in Chicago, his home town, and will visit the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery on Memorial Day.

But some critics, most of them politically conservative, have complained that he is not visiting Arlington National Cemetery, the traditional focal point for Memorial Day events. He did so last year.

Although Obama never served in the military, he inherited two wars from his predecessor, George W. Bush, and he is managing them in different ways.

In Iraq, Obama is overseeing a withdrawal that will leave 50,000 U.S. troops there by the end of August and pull out the rest by the end of next year. His opposition to the war helped him win the Democratic nomination in 2008.

But Obama has chosen a different course in Afghanistan, adopting a strategy that in the coming months will have tripled the number of U.S. forces there from the time he took office. This month the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan surpassed those in Iraq for the first time since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In his weekly address, Obama identified in the national character "a steadfast commitment to serve, to fight, and if necessary, to die, to preserve America and advance the ideals we cherish."

"It's what led patriots in each generation to sacrifice their own lives to secure the life of our nation, from the trenches of World War I to the battles of World War II, from Inchon and Khe Sanh, from Mosul to Marja," he said.

Obama told a story about a group of women who visited a cemetery in Columbus, Miss., a year after the end of the Civil War. They were there to place flowers on the graves of Confederate soldiers killed at Shiloh.

"As they did, they noticed other graves nearby, belonging to Union dead. But no one had come to visit those graves, or place a flower there," Obama said. "So they decided to lay a few stems for those men too, in recognition not of a fallen Confederate or a fallen Union soldier, but a fallen American."

A few years later, he said, an organization of Civil War veterans established what later became Memorial Day. He said the spring date was set to coincide with the season that flowers bloom.

"So this weekend, as we commemorate Memorial Day, I ask you to hold all our fallen heroes in your hearts, and if you can, to lay a flower where they have come to rest," Obama said.

By Scott Wilson  |  May 29, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Michelle Obama heads to Nevada with Harry Reid
Next: Powell: 'Things have changed' on 'don't ask, don't tell'

Comments

Anyone seeking a "gotcha" about the President's visit to Abraham Lincoln Cemetery, rather than Arlington, should be ashamed. This is no way to honor the service of those who have died defending our rights.

Veterans of all eras and military actions are buried throughout the country, not just in Arlington. At least President Obama paid his respects to the fallen men and women now buried in Chicago -- what did YOU do today?

Posted by: RoughAcresDOTus | June 1, 2010 1:48 AM | Report abuse

Anyone seeking a "gotcha" about the President's visit to Abraham Lincoln Cemetery, rather than Arlington, should be ashamed. This is no way to honor the service of those who have died defending our rights.

Veterans of all eras and military actions are buried throughout the country, not just in Arlington. At least President Obama paid his respects to the fallen men and women now buried in Chicago -- what did YOU do today?

Posted by: RoughAcresDOTus | June 1, 2010 1:47 AM | Report abuse

Anyone seeking a "gotcha" about the President's visit to Abraham Lincoln Cemetery, rather than Arlington, should be ashamed. This is no way to honor the service of those who have died defending our rights.

Veterans of all eras and military actions are buried throughout the country, not just in Arlington. At least President Obama paid his respects to the fallen men and women now buried in Chicago -- what did YOU do today?

Posted by: RoughAcresDOTus | June 1, 2010 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Honor our veterans by giving them back their 2nd Amendment freedoms: Put an end to the Veterans Disarmament Act that makes a veteran with any diagnosed post traumatic stress syndrome into a felon merely for possessing a firearm.

Rights should only be restricted for serious crimes, not for sacrificing for the nation. Give our troops their freedom back and toss out the cads Senator Schumer and Lautenberg.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | May 31, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Amazing set of comments ... especially, in light of
"Obama is not the first president to miss the Arlington ceremony. Ronald Reagan spoke at West Point one year, and went to his California ranch another year. George H.W. Bush, a war veteran, did not go at all. Bill Clinton, who did not serve in Vietnam and had a rocky time with the military, went to Arlington all eight years, and George W. Bush, who also avoided combat service in Vietnam, attended from 2003 onward."

So, Bush 43 skipped two years, Bush 41 skipped 4, Reagan skipped 2 ... Clinton did 8, Obama attended 1 and this year is attending ceremonies at another National Cemetery and having our Vice President at Arlington. An interesting comparison.

Posted by: johnindenver | May 31, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I don't want to be lectured by a radical military hating marxist. The Dems are known for their hate of the military! Having spend over 20 years in the military...I don't need to hear from a radical. Let's just get this idiot out of office, asap. No more White gulit and Black ignorance, please.

Posted by: mexicanseverywhere | May 31, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Oh sure,sure you digusting worthless damn
endless vacations and golf freak total loser and most disrespectful of our US Military and Our Fallen Warriors,and you gutless wonder that never served in our US
Military Disgrace Pathetic Excuse for a
Commander in Chief Barack Hussein Obama,so
tell us all about how your deeds,like your
endless vacations,non-stop golf games, fake
photo ops,phony Narcisstic EGO Trip Finger
Wagging Lectures is honoring our troops and
our heroic war dead,you scumbag two bit liar and total disgrace from Kenya Obama?
Impeach Barack Hussein Obama Here & Now!
Vote Every Incumbent Democrat Out!

Posted by: KarenKay2009 | May 31, 2010 4:08 AM | Report abuse

Why is a visit to Arlington more important than a visit to another National Cemetery? President Obama will be honor the fallen in another place where those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country are buried. How does that show a lack of respect?

Or as Ryan Gallucci, spokesman for AMVETS said this week, "... Arlington is certainly not the only place our fallen heroes are buried, so why not pay your respects to veterans around the country?"

Posted by: silverspring4 | May 30, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, the president doesn't realize the disconnect with what he says and what he does. He says, "honor the troops," then he goes to Chicago for some "down" time. He golfs, and then attends a barbeque with friends. He'll make a pit stop at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetary.

Posted by: ladyliberty1 | May 30, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse
-------------------------------------------
Kind of like how GW skipped out on Arlington back in 2002? The fact that the President is attending a ceremony at a National Cemetery still shows that he's honoring our troops and our veterans. Our fallen veterans buried at these cemeteries across the country and across the world are just as worthy of honor as those buried in Arlington and for you to suggest otherwise is sickening. Never mind that the first day of his "down time" was a survey of the clean up effort along the Gulf Coast.

Posted by: SharkMan2 | May 30, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Honor Memorial Day Obama style...That means taking in a round of golf, get into a local pick up game of b-ball, grab a 40 oz and a pack a Newport and chill with your peeps while the nation unravels at the seams...

Posted by: Digitalman08 | May 30, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't seem to me to be the best time to take (another) vacation.


Posted by: wmpowellfan | May 30, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Obviously, the president doesn't realize the disconnect with what he says and what he does. He says, "honor the troops," then he goes to Chicago for some "down" time. He golfs, and then attends a barbeque with friends. He'll make a pit stop at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetary.

Posted by: ladyliberty1 | May 30, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

"In Iraq, Obama is overseeing a withdrawal that will leave 50,000 U.S. troops there by the end of August and pull out the rest by the end of next year. His opposition to the war helped him win the Democratic nomination in 2008."

Withdrawal? Obama promised during his campaign that those troops would be out by May 2010. There are still about 100K there, and there will still be another 100K there in August - the next scheduled broken promise.

Posted by: LloydtheIdiot | May 30, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

quoting an AP story; "KERRVILLE, Texas – The 1,000th American serviceman killed in Afghanistan had already fallen once to a hidden explosive, driving his Humvee over a bomb in Iraq in 2007. The blast punched the dashboard radio into his face and broke his leg in two places.

Marine Cpl. Jacob C. Leicht didn't survive his second encounter with a bomb this week. The death of the 24-year-old Texan born on the Fourth of July marks a grim milestone in the Afghanistan war."

--------------

did you just read this?

holy moly.

does it get any worse???

let's ask o'bama.

hey o'bama.. did you read this story?

o'bama?

o'bama?

where's o'bama?

oh yea.. he's on another vacation.

he's unavailable.

@(oo)@ o'bama says, "i'm o'bama.. if you need help, call 911. i'm on another vacation."

Posted by: NewsNukular | May 30, 2010 1:14 AM | Report abuse

bbface21,

To afraid to admit to your own lies? Lets look at what you wrote:

"Look, Reagan and Bush were both overseas being President on the occasions when they missed the ceremony,"

Doesnt look like you were only talking about Dubya. Maybe you should find a new tin foil hat. And Reagan wasnt even overseas..

Posted by: rharring | May 29, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

bbface21,

And you relying on right wing media isnt doing anything for you trying to sound smart. Reagan was in Rome on Memorial day in 1983 eh? Lets roll the tape:

In 1983 President Reagan attended a "summit meeting in Williamsburg, Va." on Memorial Day while Deputy Secretary of Defense W. Paul Thayer laid a wreath at Arlington Cemetery. In 1992, George H.W. Bush attended a ceremony in Kennebunkport, Maine (where he also reportedly played a round of golf) while VP Dan Quayle laid the wreath at Arlington.

I didnt realize Rome was so close to Virginia.

Posted by: rharring | May 29, 2010 1:02 PM

====================================

First of all, I was referring to Bush Jr. who was in Europe (and went to Normandy on Memorial Day).

Bottom line is that the Post wouldn't have made it a story a couple of days ago if a lot of veterans weren't mad about it.

BTW, judging by the arrogant and condescending tone of your posts I can see why you're an Obama fan.

Posted by: bbface21 | May 29, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Arlington National Cemetery is a great cemetery to honor fallen troops, but maybe because this place was originally Robert E. Lee's place,the general who fought to keep slavery intact, and Obama is doing the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, the Great Emancipator, I'm sure there's a good reason. But, honestly.

Down in Alexandria you can go visit the tomb of the unknown soldier of the American Revolution, at the old Presbyterian Meeting House. Its nice, quiet, and reflective, they also have people who died in the war of 1812. No president, has ever been to old town to do this,because its in a backyard. Only Eleanor Roosevelt went to Rock Creek Cemetery to visit the memorial grief.

Freedoms and freedom isn't free. People are right it isn't free, but not expressing yourself because your told to honor the troops, in a country with a first amendment guaranteeing the freedom of expression, is a little like buying a 1965 Ford Mustang or a 1970 Plymouth Duster and never driving it, just for people to gaze. Its a waste of a great muscle car. I want to drive my muscle car. I want to say what's on my mind because I can,because America has guaranteed my freedom to do so. But seriously, people fought and died in wars like WWII to extinguish the forces of genocide,totalitarianism, and imperialism and preserve liberty, democracy and the right of people to live the way the want, even if that means having a distorted slogan as a bumper sticker. There are more ways to sacrifice your time, than getting your gun. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, feed a family.

Posted by: bflaherty5 | May 29, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Bush only began honoring the dead at Arlington in 2003 - AFTER he'd declared "mission accomplished" in IraK.

Posted by: angie12106 | May 29, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

bbface21,

And you relying on right wing media isnt doing anything for you trying to sound smart. Reagan was in Rome on Memorial day in 1983 eh? Lets roll the tape:

In 1983 President Reagan attended a "summit meeting in Williamsburg, Va." on Memorial Day while Deputy Secretary of Defense W. Paul Thayer laid a wreath at Arlington Cemetery. In 1992, George H.W. Bush attended a ceremony in Kennebunkport, Maine (where he also reportedly played a round of golf) while VP Dan Quayle laid the wreath at Arlington.

I didnt realize Rome was so close to Virginia.

Posted by: rharring | May 29, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

bbface21,

Whatever, no matter what he does you wont like it. And what my point was and you obviously missed is you on the right act like the world came apart when he was elected, while forgetting the damage done by Bush. Im just reminding you of the real High Crimes and Misdemeanors that Bush ACTUALLY committed compared to the faux crimes you on the right think Obama has committed. I know that is way over your head so try and have an adult explain it to you.

Posted by: rharring | May 29, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

bbface21,

If every president went EVERY year to Arlington then you have a point, Reagan and Bush I both did not attend every year. I didnt say it was Bush's fault, i just pointed out the ridiculous post of how Obama never served his country for 1 hour. Well if your not going to honor the dead then you shouldnt talk about another person. Is Obama not going to any cemetery to honor the dead? Nope he is going to the Abe Lincoln cemetery. Just shows how juvenile your rants are, as well as your information.

Posted by: rharring | May 29, 2010 12:15 PM

========================================

Speaking of rants, bringing up Valerie Plaine? Really?

Look, Reagan and Bush were both overseas being President on the occasions when they missed the ceremony, and people understood that. Going to a cemetery near your vacation spot at a time when Obama doesn't have anywhere near the respect and credibility with veterans that Reagan and Bush had appears disrespectful to many.

I'm not outraged as much as I'm amazed of the tin ear he has on these matters.

Posted by: bbface21 | May 29, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

bbface21,

If every president went EVERY year to Arlington then you have a point, Reagan and Bush I both did not attend every year. I didnt say it was Bush's fault, i just pointed out the ridiculous post of how Obama never served his country for 1 hour. Well if your not going to honor the dead then you shouldnt talk about another person. Is Obama not going to any cemetery to honor the dead? Nope he is going to the Abe Lincoln cemetery. Just shows how juvenile your rants are, as well as your information.

Posted by: rharring | May 29, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

As usual the posters have no regard for the Memorial day holiday or what it stands for. And how many of you are going to Arlington this weekend to honor our soldiers? How many of you are going to your local cemetery to honor our soldiers? You use this forum to bash the current commander in chief which is the same as spitting on our troops. He cant win with the right, he could dig a new grave at Arlington this weekend for a soldier and he would still be called a Communist like he was in this post. He could go to Louisiana and fix the plug himself and that still wouldnt be enough. Bush brought it upon himself for ignoring the signs of an impending attack, rushing us into a war against a country that didnt attack us, running up huge debts, passing legislation without paying for anything, outing an undercover CIA agent, ignoring the citizens of New Orleans for 6 days costing 2000 people their lives, and remember this tidbit? Wanting to outsource our ports to a middle eastern company. If Obama does anything close to that then i will be right there with you, but he hasnt. And for the uniformed poster who said Obama hasnt given 1 hour of service to the country, what do you think being President is? An internship? He gives his all every day, like all past presidents. So save your hate for another day. Honor our service men and women this weekend, save your hate for another day.

Posted by: rharring | May 29, 2010 12:00 PM

======================================

So Obama, who is commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and is the representative of the United States and its people, blows off the most important ceremony to honor our war dead because he's working so hard, and it's all Bush's fault? Did I get that right?

Or is it our fault because we won't be there ourselves?

Posted by: bbface21 | May 29, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

As usual the posters have no regard for the Memorial day holiday or what it stands for. And how many of you are going to Arlington this weekend to honor our soldiers? How many of you are going to your local cemetery to honor our soldiers? You use this forum to bash the current commander in chief which is the same as spitting on our troops. He cant win with the right, he could dig a new grave at Arlington this weekend for a soldier and he would still be called a Communist like he was in this post. He could go to Louisiana and fix the plug himself and that still wouldnt be enough. Bush brought it upon himself for ignoring the signs of an impending attack, rushing us into a war against a country that didnt attack us, running up huge debts, passing legislation without paying for anything, outing an undercover CIA agent, ignoring the citizens of New Orleans for 6 days costing 2000 people their lives, and remember this tidbit? Wanting to outsource our ports to a middle eastern company. If Obama does anything close to that then i will be right there with you, but he hasnt. And for the uniformed poster who said Obama hasnt given 1 hour of service to the country, what do you think being President is? An internship? He gives his all every day, like all past presidents. So save your hate for another day. Honor our service men and women this weekend, save your hate for another day.

Posted by: rharring | May 29, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

As Commander in Chief, this is total disrespect.

Posted by: TRUTH20 | May 29, 2010 7:21 AM

==========================================

Right, and the fact that we are talking about it means he hasn't earned much respect.

Honor through deeds. Obama should have looked in the mirror first.

Posted by: bbface21 | May 29, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse


Dear Mr. Lying Commie-in-Chief Obama:

What a wonderful suggestion!

The first deed we patriotic Americans should do is ask Congress to IMPEACH your treasonous, corrupt, and inept body and send your Chicago thugs to pick up oil balls for the next 20 years.

You waited 39 days, after all, before you announced that you would now "quadruple" clean-up crews. Wow! What leadership!!!

Posted by: Penny1212 | May 29, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Pres. Obama for a beautiful and inspiring Memorial Day tribute!

P.S. - just ignore the Righties who are so controlled by hate that they can't stop hating even for a Memorial Day message.

Posted by: angie12106 | May 29, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

truth20 wrote>>>He has formal dinners for those who visit our country of his like faith.

Apparently, you preferred Bush's kissing and hugging Muslim Saudi princes who also spent time at the White House and his Texas ranch.

Posted by: angie12106 | May 29, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

truth20 wrote>>>He has formal dinners for those who visit our country of his like faith.

Apparently, you preferred Bush's kissing and hugging Muslim Saudi princes who also spent time at the White House and his Texas ranch.

Posted by: angie12106 | May 29, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Odumbo sending a slug like Biden to Arlington is as bad as the sleazy community organizer dissing the ceremony himself.
What a couple of college boy clowns Odumbo and his dummy VP are.
U.S.Army retired

Posted by: LarryG62 | May 29, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

marty
Great insight. However, I still believe it is wrong.
This just adds to the list to vote him out. He is so arrogant and non stop sarcastic that I cannot believe he is doing this too.

Posted by: TRUTH20 | May 29, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Yes. I'll remember all my brothers and sisters, large and small, slain by your nation of greed. Thanks for asking. As usual, your military pawns will be out in force honoring themselves.

Posted by: halifar59 | May 29, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Why would anyone care what Comrade Obama has to say about Memorial Day? I, for one, am glad he is staying away. His presence would only infuriate those who love our country - better he stay home and celebrate the damage he has done to our country on human rights, unemployment, the environment, the wars, Miranda rights for terrorists, Government Motors, balooning the deficit, and stopping illegal immigration.

Posted by: hill_marty | May 29, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

JOeblotnick49 - "Yeah, but he is going to "honor" them by NOT going to Arlington."

An ignorant statement. 99.7% of America's KIAs and deceased Vets are NOT buried at Arlington.
I see no problem with Obama honoring Vets at another cemetery.
It is also dumb to think that only Arlington - inside the Imperial City metro area - is deserving and a Presidential visit each and every year on Memorial Day is obligatory. Sort of a "Arlington tombs are the specialist of all" thinking that had all the Soviet Leaders rendering ceaseless honors to the people buried along the Wall in Red Square, inside their own imperial city - but ignoring those outside the Kremlin "bubble".

Sacred tradition!!!! blathering aside - Reagan went about half the time, Bush I too. Eisenhower was sometimes at Gettysburg for Memorial Day. Clinton went to Normandy.
And Hawaii's Punchbowl National Cemetery for those killed in the Pacific theater of WWII would be another excellent locale for an Obama visit, or future Presidential visit on Memorial Day.

And if something really important was happening that day, as with two Reagan summits, other duties besides ceremonial figurehead functions - those needed to be done then to serve the vital needs of the nations - should come 1st in any Chief Executives priorities. And the Memorial Day visit be blown off entirely..perhaps a visit on some other day.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | May 29, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Thanks joeblo.
First of all I am retired military with combat
Second of all, no democrat has missed the Memorial service in 40 years.
Third, Bush II was not in Arlington in 1992, he was in Normandy, France honoring those who sacrificed their lives for this country.
Fourth, Obama will not even sacrifice 1 hour for his country.
And fifth, Learn Politics, Republicans are RIGHT.
After 3 generations of my family serving in the military and some giving their lives, we forgive those like you who express their freedom of speech who we protected. Go have a beer and pass out and forget the Military and Civilian people who died for you.
As Commander in Chief, this is total disrespect.

Posted by: TRUTH20 | May 29, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, but he is going to "honor" them by NOT going to Arlington... What a useless piece of American military hating leftish trash.

Posted by: joeblotnik49 | May 29, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Deeds???? How can anyone still follow this man. Look at all he is doing to evade and ruin this country. Even to the point of foreign relations. He has formal dinners for those who visit our country of his like faith.
Oh wait, this just in, he has a better cop out. Let's all forgot his shun to our country and feel bad for him. He may cut his weekend in Chicago to visit the cleanup in the gulf. What a guy, true patriot NOT.
Hopefully he will address the homicide issues in Chicago while he's there. Chicago has more homicides per year than the entire war in Iraq every year since 2001.
But, he's been working hard and he needs a break. It is most difficult to take a few hours in a day to honor Our Country. Wonder if he has any plans for Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, and Black history month. Not to say blacks have not contributed and should be honored, but will he sacrifice an hour or two for that?

Posted by: TRUTH20 | May 29, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company