Weekly Address: President Obama – Honoring Our Fallen Heroes this Memorial Day

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President commemorated Memorial Day by paying tribute to the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our country.

The President will spend the first Memorial Day since the end of the war in Afghanistan at Arlington Cemetery, remembering the more than 2,200 American patriots who gave their lives in that conflict, as well as all of our fallen soldiers. The President asked that all Americans spend Monday honoring the memory and sacrifice of those heroes, and remain committed to the cause of freedom and the country for which they fought.

Transcript: Weekly Address: Honoring Our Fallen Heroes this Memorial Day

Hi, everybody. This weekend is Memorial Day—a time to pay tribute to all our men and women in uniform who’ve ever given their lives so that we can live in freedom and security. This year, the holiday is especially meaningful. It’s the first Memorial Day since our war ended in Afghanistan.

On Monday, at Arlington Cemetery, I’ll join our Gold Star families, veterans, and their loved ones to remember all our fallen heroes, including the more than 2,200 American patriots who gave their lives in Afghanistan. And I plan to share a few of their stories.

Growing up in Arizona, Wyatt Martin loved the outdoors. To him, a great day was a day spent fishing. After high school, he enlisted in the Army because he believed that the blessings he enjoyed as an American came with an obligation to give back to his country.

Ramon Morris was born in Jamaica, and as a teenager came to Queens. Like so many proud immigrants, he felt a calling to serve his new country and joined the Army. He fell in love, got engaged, and the thing he wanted most was to make the world safer for his three-year-old daughter.

In their lives, Specialist Wyatt Martin and Sergeant First Class Ramon Morris travelled different paths. But in December, their paths intersected as the final two Americans to give their lives during our combat mission in Afghanistan.

This weekend also reminds us that, around the world, our men and women in uniform continue to serve and risk their lives. In Afghanistan, our troops now have a new mission—training and advising Afghan forces. John Dawson was one of them. From Massachusetts, he loved the Bruins and the Pats. In April, he gave his life as an Army combat medic—the first American to give his life in this new mission. This Memorial Day, we’ll honor Corporal Dawson as well.

Like generations of heroes before them, these Americans gave everything they had—not for glory, not even for gratitude, but for something greater than themselves. We cannot bring them back. Nor can we ease the pain of their families and friends who live with their loss.

But we are the Americans they died to defend. So what we can do—what we must do—is fulfill our sacred obligations to them, just like they fulfilled theirs to us. We have to honor their memory. We have to care for their families, and our veterans who served with them. And as a nation, we have to remain worthy of their sacrifice—forever committed to the country they loved and the freedom they fought for and died for.

Thank you, have a wonderful weekend, and may God bless our fallen heroes and their families.

Bolding added.



  1. The president opened up his @POTUS twitter account this past week. Not surprisingly, it attracted a number of racist comments. Brent Budowsky from The Hill:

    The Friday New York Times reported how there are some — a small minority of Twitter users with small minds — who have taken their racism to Twitter to make bigoted attacks against the nation’s first black president. I will not dignify their garbage by repeating their racist insults, but I will say this: Twitter should require, at the least, that those who abuse their free speech rights with racism and political hate should have their real names used when they write these rants of racism. Let their husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, mothers, fathers, bosses and colleagues at work know exactly who they are and exactly what poisonous thoughts they think.

    I followed @POTUS as soon as I heard about it and made the mistake of reading some of the replies. I will not do so again. Twitter has a spotty record on moderating abuse and, sadly, our country has a spotty record of inclusion and respect for differences, especially race.

  2. In the News: Las Vegas tycoon Sheldon Adelson to face graft accusations in US court

    A judge in Las Vegas has ruled that a lawsuit involving accusations of graft and organised crime ties to casinos owned by the multibillionaire and Republican party funder, Sheldon Adelson, will be heard in the US.

    The decision raises the prospect of Adelson facing difficult questions about his business practices following allegations by a former chief executive of his highly profitable casinos in the Chinese enclave of Macau that a well-known triad crime figure was used to bring in high-rolling gamblers and of influence peddling with Chinese officials.[…]

    It could also have a bearing on the 81-year-old billionaire’s considerable political influence. He is estimated to have spent $150m in a failed bid to secure a Republican victory over Barack Obama in the last presidential election and is being vigorously courted by Republican candidates in the next race.

    The winner of the so-called “Adelson Primary” might get a glam shot with a guy in an orange jumpsuit. A companion picture for their mug shots photos with a child molester.

  3. GOP controls Senate, but NSA vote shows chaos reigns

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has been vexed by Democratic delaying tactics that he honed while his party was in the minority, five presidential aspirants with their own agendas and a new crop of conservative firebrands demanding their say.

    While our country needs a functioning congress, the reports of Sen McConnell “in morose departure” are sweet revenge.

    • Yes, after totally destroying the collegiality of the Senate and pouring molasses into the engine of government for 6 years, he thinks that he can get things running again. It will be good to see him as Minority Leader McConnell in January 2017. I wonder if he will change his tune then? I am betting no.

  4. Why can’t the United States do something like this? Amazon to begin paying corporation tax on UK retail sales

    Amazon has become the first technology company to abandon controversial corporate structures that divert sales and profits away from UK in the face of a clampdown imposed by George Osborne.

    From the start of this month the online retailer has started booking its sales through the UK, meaning resulting profits will be taxed by HMRC. The group made $8.3bn (£5.3bn) of worldwide sales from British online shoppers but for 11 years all these internet transactions have been booked in Luxembourg.

    What caused this change of heart? Something called the diverted profits tax which “imposes a punitive 25% tax on groups deemed to be artificially routing profits overseas.”

    … last September [Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne] singled his determination to rein in technology firms going to extraordinary lengths to avoid UK tax. “You are welcome here in Britain with open arms,” he said. “While we offer some of the lowest business taxes in the world, we expect those taxes to be paid.”

    Hinting at the diverted profits tax – which has popularly become known as the Google Tax – he added: “If you abuse our tax system, you abuse the trust of the British people.”

    See how easy that is? Amazon did not say “harumph, we shall forgo $8.3 billion in sales from British customers”. They decided it was worth it to play by the rules.

  5. A Memorial Day related story that I found fascinating. People talk but their actions don’t always match their words.

    During the surge in Iraq in 2008, Nathan Witmer led an Army scout platoon in a thicket of villages rife with insurgents and roadside bombs. What he really wants to do is direct.

    Or maybe write — or produce.

    “Anything with movies was always the dream,” said Mr. Witmer, who left active duty in 2010.

    Like many troops leaving the military, he was steered instead toward jobs in government agencies that offered preferential hiring or with big corporations that recruited veterans, and he assumed his hope of working in show business would remain only that.

    But after selling medical equipment for two years, he had the chance to join a five-week industry boot camp designed to bring young veterans into the television business. To his surprise, it was run by one of the Iraq war’s fiercest critics, Jon Stewart, the longtime host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”

    “It was actually inspirational,” said Mr. Witmer, who went on to work at Fox News and then found a job as a “Daily Show” associate field segment producer. “We hear ‘Thank you for your service’ all the time, but here was concrete action, people working to really make a difference. And it changed lives. I’m proof of that.”


    Mr. Stewart may at first seem an unexpected bridge for a Hollywood-military divide. For years the host built his audience by playing straight man to the often absurd truths of the global “war on terror,” serving up scathing satire on American involvement in the Middle East in his longstanding segments “Mess o’Potamia” and “Crisis in Israfghyianonanaq.” At the same time, though, he has been an advocate for troops, visiting the wounded at hospitals, visiting Arlington National Cemetery and in 2011 doing a comedy tour of bases in Afghanistan.


    • Oops, meant to say that Jon Stewart is not all talk. He acts on his beliefs.

  6. President Obama at Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day. Laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:

    His remarks:


    For 147 years, our nation has set aside this day to pay solemn tribute to patriots who gave their last full measure of devotion for this country that we love. And while the nature of war has changed over that time, the values that drive our brave men and women in uniform remain constant: Honor, courage, selflessness. Those values lived in the hearts of everyday heroes who risked everything for us in every American war — men and women who now rest forever in these quiet fields and across our land.

    They lived in the patriots who sparked a revolution, and who saved our union. They lived in the young GIs who defeated tyranny in Europe and the Pacific. And this year, we mark a historic anniversary — 70 years since our victory in World War II. More than 16 million Americans left everything they knew to fight for our freedom. More than 400,000 gave their lives. And today I ask all the family and friends of our fallen World War II heroes — spouses, children, brothers and sisters, and fellow veterans of World War II — to please stand if you can, or raise your hand, so that our country can thank you once more.

    From Twitter:

    Nancy LeTourneau @Smartypants60
    @POTUS greets 107-year-old WWII vet Army Lt. Col. Luta Mae Cornelius McGrath at Arlington on Memorial Day.

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