WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama honored the nation's military heroes in a pair of Memorial Day ceremonies, vowing to protect veterans' benefits in an election year marked by the nation's transition from war.
The president celebrated Memorial Day at the Vietnam War Memorial and at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday. He noted that for the first time in nine years, "Americans are not fighting and dying in Iraq," and the U.S. effort in Afghanistan was winding down.
The president paid special tribute to Vietnam veterans, saying many "came home and were sometimes denigrated." He called it a "national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened."
Both Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appeared at events with military families. They avoided overt political talk but tried to appeal to veterans.