President honors vets, MObama surprises troops (and Bush promotes his book) **UPDATED**

CORRECTS FROM SOLDIERS TO AIRMEN - The first lady of the United States Michelle Obama, left, serves food to US airmen and their relatives at Ramstein Airbase in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010. Michelle Obama makes a series of stops within the Kaiserslautern Military Community on Veterans Day to thank US servicemen and women for their work. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

… and George W. Bush promotes his book. Happy Veterans Day, America! From the AP:

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – First Lady Michelle Obama surprised a group of some 200 service men and women in Germany on Thursday, jumping in to help serve them steaks at a special Veterans Day meal.

Obama talked with the troops at Ramstein Air Base as she served up donated steaks, grilled by volunteers from the Californa-based Cooks of the Valley group, and chatted with their children as they moved through the line.

Mashed potatoes with gravy, peas, corn on the cob, garlic bread and lemon meringue pie rounded out the menu.

After serving, Obama went through the room doling out hugs, handshakes and warm thanks to troops and their families.

“We are so grateful to all of you,” she told them. “Not just our service men and women, but their kids, wives, husbands and parents.”

Ahead of the stop at Ramstein, Obama met with wounded troops recovering at the nearby Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Meanwhile, the president took some time ahead of the G20 summit to honor America’s veterans, and to issue a warning to North Korea:

SEOUL, South Korea — Celebrating America’s Veterans Day, President Barack Obama on Thursday saluted the bravery of U.S. troops who defended South Korea during its war with North Korea and condemned the communist north for continuing on a course that he says deepens its isolation from the rest of the world along with the poverty of its people.

Speaking at an Army garrison in a country where the U.S. keeps a presence of more than 28,000 troops, Obama said North Korea knows the path to prosperity and should take it.

“Because the Korean War ended where it began geographically, some used the phrase ‘Die for a Tie’ to describe the sacrifice of those who fought here,” Obama said. “But as we look around at this thriving democracy and its grateful, hopeful citizens, one thing is clear: This was no tie. This was a victory.

And he added this:

Obama said the Korean peninsula provides the world’s clearest contrast between a society that is open and one that is closed, between a dynamic, growing nation like South Korea and a North Korea “that would rather starve its people”

“It’s a contrast so stark you can see it from space, as the brilliant lights of Seoul give way to utter darkness in the north,” he said, adding that it is a direct result of the path chosen by the reclusive, communist north.

Obama said the U.S. “will never waver” in its commitment to South Korea’s security and that North Korea’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons will only lead to more isolation and less security. He urged Pyongyang to take another path, a road that he said will offer its people growing opportunity instead of crushing poverty.
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The commander in chief spoke inside a packed gymnasium, addressing a uniformed audience of service members from the different branches of the U.S. military. They surrounded him from all sides, and many snapped photos as he spoke.

Obama also spoke to the broader meaning of Veterans Day.

“On this day, we honor every man and woman who has ever worn the uniform of the United States of America. We salute fallen heroes, and keep in our prayers those who are still in harm’s way — like the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. We recall acts of uncommon bravery and selflessness, but we also remember that honoring those who’ve served is about more than the words we say on Veterans’ Day or Memorial Day. It’s about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year. It’s about making sure they have the care they need and the benefits they have earned. It’s about serving all of you as well as you’ve served the United States of America.”

Former President Bush, meanwhile, will honor veterans in Ohio … and promote his book. (Ahem.)

CINCINNATI — Former President George W. Bush is returning to Ohio, a state that was crucial to his presidency, as he promotes his memoirs and highlights Veterans Day.

Bush speaks Thursday afternoon at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton. Organizers say Bush plans to honor service members and discuss parts of his book that deal with war and the military.

UPDATE: the first lady’s Veterans Day message:

Friend –

Veterans Day provides us with the chance to mark the debt of honor we owe to all those who have worn the uniform of the United States. We remember those who gave their lives beneath our flag, in service of our freedom.

And with so many still fighting, we owe special thanks to the courageous families of those who serve.

Because when our servicemen and women deploy overseas, their loved ones are left to undertake heroic battles of their own at home. The unique challenges they face in support of men and women in uniform allow us all to enjoy the freedoms of our democracy.

Every time I have a chance to meet with these families, I’m struck by their strength and their quiet dignity — they are truly some of the most selfless, courageous people I’ve met.

And today is also a day to acknowledge the sacrifices these brave men and women make every day, and pray for the safe return of those they love.

I’ve felt their calling personally, and I want to encourage Americans across the country to step up and do more for our military families. Take the time to stay informed about the concerns and activities of the families of service members in your community. Let them know you recognize their struggles and appreciate all they do.

You can help by finding out the needs of the military families in your community and volunteering, from working with your local school’s PTA to hiring a military spouse.

Today and every day, I am moved by the personal sacrifices made by service families. And I’m humbled by the patriotism of those they support — our soldiers and airmen, our sailors and Marines.

Today, if you can, please take a moment to offer your gratitude for the families of the veterans and active service members that you know. Or go online to serve.gov to find out how you can serve military families in your area.

Sincerely,

Michelle

This entry was posted in George W. Bush, Holidays, International news, Michelle Obama, News and Current Affairs, People, Political News, President Barack Obama, Veterans Day and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to President honors vets, MObama surprises troops (and Bush promotes his book) **UPDATED**

  1. Rupert says:

    “Organizers say Bush plans to honor service members and discuss parts of his book that deal with war and the military.”

    Can’t beat a nice overview of waterboarding, eh? Mission Accomplished.

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