This morning, President Barack Obama spoke to a group of soldiers, veterans and family members of fallen troops gether at Arlington National Cemetary for Memorial Day. The president took note of the fact this is the first Memorial Day in nine years since the end of the Iraq War.
“For the first time in nine years, Americans are not fighting and dying in Iraq. We are winding down the war in Afghanistan, and our troops will continue to come home,” he said. “After a decade under the dark cloud of war, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon.”
President Obama thanked the families at Arlington who lost loved ones fighting for this country.
“I cannot begin to fully understand your loss. As a father, I cannot begin to imagine what it’s like to hear that knock on the door and learn that your worst fears have come true,” said the president.
In a clear reference to the controversy that surrounded the Iraq War, the president also pledged not to commit American soldiers to fight a war in the future without reason and “a clear mission.”
“As Commander-In-Chief, I can tell you that sending our troops into harm’s way is the most wrenching decision that I have to make,” he said. “I can promise you I will never do so unless it’s absolutely necessary, and that when we do, we must give our troops a clear mission and the full support of a grateful nation.”