Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Obama marks Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery

ARLINGTON, Va. — President Barack Obama challenged Americans on Memorial Day to fill the silence from those who died serving their country with love and support for families of the fallen, "not just with words but with our actions."

Obama laid a wreath Monday at the Tomb of the Unknowns to honor the nation's war dead. Under mostly sunny skies at Arlington National Cemetery, he bowed his head for a moment, then placed his right hand over his heart as taps was played. Obama in his address commemorated the more than 1 million people in U.S. history who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Obama said the markers at Arlington belong mostly to young Americans, those who never lived to be honored as veterans for their service.

The Americans who rest here, and their families — the best of us, those from whom we asked everything — ask of us today only one thing in return: that we remember them," Obama said.

In his remarks, Obama called for Americans to honor the families who lost loved ones and the battle buddies left behind. He said it's important to ensure veterans get access to good health care and jobs. "We have to do better," he said. "We have to be there not only when we need them, but when they need us."

Special operations forces continue to serve in dangerous missions in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, even as the U.S. military presence in the latter two countries has been greatly reduced under Obama's watch. Obama acknowledged the continuing threat to service members, singling out for praise three who have died in Iraq in recent months: Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler, Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin and Chief Special Warfare Operator Charles Keating IV.

Obama said Keating joined the Navy SEALs because it was the hardest thing to do. He quoted a platoon mate who told Keating's parents in a letter soon after their son's death "please tell everyone Chuck saved a lot of lives today." On Cardin, Obama said he gave his life while protecting the Marines under his command. "Putting others before himself was what Louis did best."

Obama noted that Wheeler was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan 14 times and earned 11 Bronze Stars. He also participated in a mission in October that rescued some 70 hostages. He died before his son, David, could be born, but that son and Wheeler's widow, Ashley, were at Monday's ceremony.

"Today this husband and father rests here in Arlington in Section 60," Obama said. "And as Americans, we resolve to be better, better people, better citizens because of Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler."

Prior to traveling to Arlington, Obama held a breakfast reception at the White House for military leaders, family members of fallen service members and veterans groups.

Obama marks Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery 05/30/16 [Last modified: Monday, May 30, 2016 2:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Waiting for the eclipse: 'Everyone thinks this is cool'

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Hunter Holland came to school Monday with a NASA space T-shirt and solar viewers in his button-up shirt pocket. But he'd rather be in Missouri.

    Jayda Hebert (front, center), 11, uses her protective glasses to watch Monday's solar eclipse with her cousin, Judah Adams (back left), 11, and her brother Jake Hebert (right), 9, while with their family at St. Petersburg Beach. "We're skipping school for the eclipse," her mom, Sarah Hebert, said. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  2. Second person resigns from Hillsborough diversity council after Confederate activist appointed

    Blogs

    TAMPA — A second person has resigned symbolically from the Hillsborough County Diversity Advisory Council after the appointment of a known activist of Confederate causes to the panel. 

    Two people have resigned from the Hillsborough County Diversity Advisory Council after the inclusion of David McCallister, a leader of the local branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
  3. Everyone on Twitter is making this same eclipse joke

    Blogs

    Today's total solar eclipse is, of course, a social media event as much as it is a natural phenomenon. Twitter even rolled out an #eclipse hashtag that automatically adds an eclipse emoji.

    The solar eclipse is inspiring Twitter humor.
  4. Live video: See how the solar eclipse unfolded across the country

    Space

    Americans gazed in wonder through telescopes, cameras and disposable protective glasses Monday as the moon blotted out the midday sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. from coast to coast in nearly a century.

    The moon is seen as it starts passing in front of the sun during a solar eclipse from Ross Lake, Northern Cascades National Park, in Washington on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. [Bill Ingalls | NASA via AP]
  5. Photo gallery: Stunning images of the 2017 solar eclipse

    Space

    Americans gazed in wonder through telescopes, cameras and disposable protective glasses Monday as the moon blotted out the midday sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. from coast to coast in nearly a century.

    The moon covers the sun during a total eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, near Redmond, Ore.  [Ted S. Warren | Associated Press]