With nod to veterans' scandal, Obama pays Memorial Day tribute

WASHINGTON Mon May 26, 2014 3:21pm EDT

1 of 6. U.S. President Barack Obama places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia May 26, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama paid tribute on Monday to fallen U.S. military men and women during a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery that highlighted a veterans' care scandal that has engulfed his presidency in recent weeks.

Just hours earlier, Obama returned from a surprise trip to Afghanistan, where he thanked troops for a mission that will conclude formally at the end of this year. The president noted that more had to be done to ensure that those who served in the armed forces abroad were treated well when they came home.

"We rededicate ourselves to our sacred obligations to all who wear America's uniform, and to the families who stand by them always," Obama said, pledging troops would have needed resources and that the United States would continue to search for those who had gone missing or become prisoners of war.

"As we've been reminded in recent days, we must do more to keep faith with our veterans and their families, and ensure they get the care and benefits and opportunities that they've earned and that they deserve," he said.

The Obama administration has been stung by allegations that veterans have suffered long delays in receiving healthcare and that the Department of Veterans Affairs had engaged in mismanagement and cover-ups.

During a press conference last week, Obama indicated Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki's job could be on the line if the issues are not fixed. Shinseki was present at the Arlington ceremony but did not speak.

Before his remarks, Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, an annual ritual. Taps was played while the crowd of dignitaries and visitors stood silently.

Obama singled out those who had served in Afghanistan, including the men and women he met during a roughly four-hour trip to Bagram Air Base on Sunday.

"Our troops are coming home. By the end of this year, our war in Afghanistan will finally come to end," he said to applause from the crowd.

(Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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Comments (3)
Trichiurus wrote:
YOU must do more Mr. President/Commander and Chief! This is on YOUR watch!

May 26, 2014 5:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
carnivalchaos wrote:
Trichiurus: He has and he is. If you could see the truth instead of just hatred for our first black President, you’d already know this.

The real problem here is trying to care for the wave of seriously injured soldiers from the two wars the Bush Administration took us into, one which was entirely unnecessary and one which went from going after those behind the 9/11 attack to nation building, freighting us with the longest war in US history.

Americans need to be asking themselves if they really want to elect members of a party that seems incapable of understanding cause and effect.

May 26, 2014 6:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
4825 wrote:
Has anyone else noticed that just about everything this president touches turns into a scandal? Also, has anyone noticed how the liberal democrats always run and try to rescue the president every time he steps in it, which is often? Lastly, has anyone noticed how these clowns always try to blame President Bush even though he has been out of office going on six years now? They take no responsibility for their own actions, kind of like a young child in this regard. I did not do it, little Georgie did it. A real lack of leadership is what this country has with the democrats in office now.

May 26, 2014 10:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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