How the President Spent His Memorial Day

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Memorial Day plans rarely change for the President and he didn't spend his afternoon manning a grill. Obama spoke at the Arlington National Cemetery on Monday afternoon. Accompanied by Michelle Obama, and introduced by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the President gave a small speech to a few hundred attendees of the memorial service. 

"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," the President said. "But 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 promised the crowd that he wouldn't go to war unless he had a clear mission, full support of the country, and it was "absolutely necessary." He also celebrated the end of the Iraq war, and noted it's the first Memorial Day in almost a decade that Americans weren't fighting in Iraq. 

"First time in 9 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."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.