May 28 - President Obama says Vietnam War veterans were blamed unfairly for a conflict they didn't start as he honored fallen U.S. military personnel. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION U.S. President Barack Obama honored veterans on Monday (May 28) by noting "the light of a new day" of having U.S. troops home from Iraq and returning soon from Afghanistan. Obama did not mention tension with Iran and Syria in his remarks to veterans and military families at a hot, sunny Memorial Day ceremony, focusing instead on the wars started by his predecessor, George W. Bush, that he wound down as president. "After a decade under the dark cloud of war, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon," he said at Arlington National Cemetery, drawing applause when he noted the "milestone" of it being the first Memorial Day in nine years without Americans fighting and dying in Iraq. Later in the day, Obama paid tribute to Vietnam war veterans -- noting that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the war. The president said the way Vietnam war heroes were treated upon their return home was a "national shame". "You were often blamed for a war you didn't start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor. You were sometimes blamed for misdeeds of a few, when the honorable service of the many should have been praised. You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated," Obama said. "It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened." Obama was speaking at the black granite wall that honors the more than 58,000 soldiers who died in the Vietnam War. Memorial Day is observed in remembrance for those died while serving in the US military.