President Obama helped commence the unofficial start of summer by urging party-seekers and vacationers to remember that the Memorial Day holiday is “more than a three-day weekend,” that it was originally created to pay homage veterans and military families, particulalry those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“This weekend, folks across the country are opening up the pool, firing up the grill, and taking a well-earned moment to relax,” Obama said in his weekly address broadcast Saturday. “In town squares and national cemeteries, in public services and moments of quiet reflection, we will honor those who loved their country enough to sacrifice their own lives for it.”
Obama’s Memorial Day itinerary includes scheduled visits to Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Monday.
“It’s another chance to honor those we lost at places like Hue, Khe Sanh, Danang and Hamburger Hill. And we’ll be calling on you — the American people — to join us in thanking our Vietnam veterans in your communities,” Obama said. His address on Monday will help commemorate the 50th anniversary of the start of that war.
The radio address also included Obama’s heartfelt thanks to the veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We have to serve them and their families as well as they have served us: By making sure that they get the healthcare and benefits they need; by caring for our wounded warriors and supporting our military families; and by giving veterans the chance to go to college, find a good job, and enjoy the freedom that they risked everything to protect,” he said.
Earlier this month, Obama launched Veterans and Military Families for Obama. Though John McCain and George W. Bush won majorities of veterans’ votes in the previous two presidential elections, Obama is leading Republican candidate Mitt Romney 44 percent to 37 percent in a Reuters/Ipsos survey released earlier this month.
“Our men and women in uniform took an oath to defend our country at all costs, and today, as members of