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President Obama Calls Treatment of Vietnam Vets "A Disgrace," Vows No Unnecessary Wars

Paige Brettingen |
May 28, 2012 | 2:22 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

President Obama delivers his speech at Arlington National Cemetery (Screenshot from CNN's video coverage)
President Obama delivers his speech at Arlington National Cemetery (Screenshot from CNN's video coverage)

During Memorial Day tributes at Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam Veterans' War Memorial, President Barack Obama offered a pledge and a solemn lament in remembering those soldiers who had offered their lives in service.

During his speeches, the president gave his promise that the U.S. would no longer participate in wars, unless absolutely necessary. He called to mind that this year's Memorial Day marked the first time in nearly a decade where American troops were not actively engaged in war. President Obama has declared the war in Afghanistan will be over by 2014 with NATO agreeing on his exit strategy last Monday.

"We are winding down the war in Afghanistan and our troops will continue to come home. After a decade under the dark cloud of war, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon," President Obama said.

"… as commander-in-chief, I can tell you sending our troops into harms way is the most wrench decision I have to make. I can promise you that I will never do so, unless it is absolutely necessary and that when we do we must give our troops a clear mission and the full support of a grateful nation."

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War where 60,000 U.S. soldiers lost their lives. President Obama lamented the treatment of the Vietnam soldiers who did not receive a welcomed homecoming.

An excerpt of the speech from Politico:

”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. And that’s why here today we resolve that it will not happen again. And so a central part of this 50th anniversary will be to tell your story as it should have been told all along.”

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See full coverage of the speeches here:

[View the story "President Obama's Memorial Day Tribute" on Storify]



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