Last week, my cousin encouraged members of another site to please check facts before posting erroneous information. Naturally, it fell on deaf ears because the respondents were too enthusiastic in adding to flaming the fires of misinformation.
Friday afternoon, a Facebook friend posted was furious upon reading President Obama was not scheduled for any Memorial Day services. She did not state where she read the information, nor did she provide the link with the information. Her post fueled a barrage of others chiming in, pushing the authenticity of the comment further from any supportive facts.
I just finished listening to the president’s speech from earlier today, and it does seem as though the president did have an event on this Memorial Day. His schedule, today:
9:15 am – Hosts a breakfast in honor of Gold Star Families who have lost a family member in battle
11:00 am – Lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
11:15 am – Delivers remarks
1:50 am – Delivers remarks at the Vietnam Memorial
When I typed in to Google, “President Obama’s 2012 Memorial Day Schedule” there was a nice, healthy list.
We are in the midst of another national election, and there will be constant finger pointing published in the media. As responsible citizens, and posters, I encourage all of us to double check the facts on items we read. With the internet it is so easy to research, but it is also very easy to get fooled.
Be smart. Be responsible. Be good citizens. Be good friends.
The following are remarks President Obama delivered May 28, 2012, at Memorial Day ceremonies at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.:
Good afternoon, everybody. Chuck, thank you for your words and your friendship and your life of service. Veterans of the Vietnam War, families, friends, distinguished guests. I know it is hot. (Laughter.) But you are here — to honor your loved ones. And Michelle and I could not be more honored to be here with you.
It speaks to the complexity of America’s time in Vietnam that, even now, historians cannot agree on precisely when the war began. American advisors had served there, and died there, as early as the mid-’50s. Major combat operations would not begin until the mid-’60s. But if any year in between illustrated the changing nature of our involvement, it was 1962.
It was January, in Saigon. Our Army pilots strapped on their helmets and boarded their helicopters. They lifted off, raced over treetops carrying South Vietnamese troops. It was a single raid against an enemy stronghold just a few miles into the jungle — but it was one of America’s first major operations in that faraway land.
Fifty years later, we come to this wall — to this sacred place — to remember. We can step towards its granite wall and reach out, touch a name. Today is Memorial Day, when we recall all those who gave everything in the darkness of war so we could stand here in the glory of spring. And today begins the 50th commemoration of our war in Vietnam. We honor each of those names etched in stone — 58,282 American patriots. We salute all who served with them. And we stand with the families who love them still.
For years you’ve come here, to be with them once more. And in the simple things you’ve left behind — your offerings, your mementos, your gifts — we get a glimpse of the lives they led. The blanket that covered him as a baby. The baseball bat he swung as a boy. A wedding ring. The photo of the grandchild he never met. The boots he wore, still caked in mud. The medals she earned, still shining. And, of course, some of the things left here have special meaning, known only to the veterans — a can of beer; a packet of M&Ms; a container of Spam; an old field ration — still good, still awful. (Laughter.)
It’s here we feel the depth of your sacrifice. And here we see a piece of our larger American story. Our Founders — in their genius — gave us a task. They set out to make a more perfect union. And so it falls to every generation to carry on that work. To keep moving forward. To overcome a sometimes painful past. To keep striving for our ideals.
And one of the most painful chapters in our history was Vietnam — most particularly, how we treated our troops who served there. You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor. (Applause.) 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. 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. (Applause.)
And so a central part of this 50th anniversary will be to tell your story as it should have been told all along. It’s another chance to set the record straight. That’s one more way we keep perfecting our Union — setting the record straight. And it starts today. Because history will honor your service, and your names will join a story of service that stretches back two centuries.
Let us tell the story of a generation of service members — every color, every creed, rich, poor, officer and enlisted — who served with just as much patriotism and honor as any before you. Let’s never forget that most of those who served in Vietnam did so by choice. So many of you volunteered. Your country was at war, and you said, “send me.” That includes our women in Vietnam — every one of you a volunteer. (Applause.) Those who were drafted, they, too, went and carried their burden — you served; you did your duty.
You persevered though some of the most brutal conditions ever faced by Americans in war. The suffocating heat. The drenching monsoon rains. An enemy that could come out of nowhere and vanish just as quickly. Some of the most intense urban combat in history, and battles for a single hill that could rage for weeks. Let it be said — in those hellholes like Briarpatch, and the Zoo and the Hanoi Hilton — our Vietnam POWs didn’t simply endure; you wrote one of the most extraordinary stories of bravery and integrity in the annals of military history.