Nod To Veterans' Scandal, Obama Pays Memorial Day Tribute
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[May 27, 2014]
By Jeff Mason
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
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
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.
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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
(Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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