Veterans Day 2014.


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Presidential Proclamation — Veterans Day, 2014


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Since the birth of our Nation, American patriots have stepped forward to serve our country and defend our way of life.  With honor and distinction, generations of servicemen and women have taken up arms to win our independence, preserve our Union, and secure our freedom.  From the Minutemen to our Post-9/11 Generation, these heroes have put their lives on the line so that we might live in a world that is safer, freer, and more just, and we owe them a profound debt of gratitude.  On Veterans Day, we salute the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who have rendered the highest service any American can offer, and we rededicate ourselves to fulfilling our commitment to all those who serve in our name.


Today, we are reminded of our solemn obligation:  to serve our veterans as well as they have served us.  As we continue our responsible drawdown from the war in Afghanistan and more members of our military return to civilian life, we must support their transition and make sure they have access to the resources and benefits they have earned.  My Administration is working to end the tragedy of homelessness among our veterans, and we are committed to providing them with quality health care, access to education, and the tools they need to find a rewarding career.  As a Nation, we must ensure that every veteran has the chance to share in the opportunity he or she has helped to defend.  Those who have served in our Armed Forces have the experience, skills, and dedication necessary to achieve success as members of our civilian workforce, and it is critical that we harness their talent.


Across our country, veterans who fought to protect our democracy around the globe are strengthening it here at home. Once leaders in the Armed Forces, they are now pioneers of industry and pillars of their communities.  Their character reflects our enduring American spirit, and in their example, we find inspiration and strength.


This day, and every day, we pay tribute to America’s sons and daughters who have answered our country’s call.  We recognize the sacrifice of those who have been part of the finest fighting force the world has ever known and the loved ones who stand beside them.  We will never forget the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice and all those who have not yet returned home.  As a grateful Nation, let us show our appreciation by honoring all our veterans and working to ensure the promise of America is within the reach of all who have protected it.


With respect for and in recognition of the contributions our service members have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor our Nation’s veterans.


NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2014, as Veterans Day.  I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through appropriate public ceremonies and private prayers.  I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I call on all Americans, including civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, and communities to support this day with commemorative expressions and programs.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.




U.S. President Barack Obama participates in the dignified transfer of U.S. Army Sgt. Dale R. Griffin at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware

History of Veterans Day


World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”


Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities.  This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”


The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.


The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:


Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and


Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and


Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.


An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.


Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation”which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”


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On that same day, President Eisenhower sent a letter to the Honorable Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), designating him as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee.


In 1958, the White House advised VA’s General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee’s chairman.


The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.


The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.


Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.


Happy Veterans Day


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Iraq veteran, activist Tomas Young dies at 34


Published on Nov 10, 2014

Iraq War veteran and anti-war activist Tomas Young has died at the age of 34. One of the first to openly oppose the US-led war after being paralyzed while deployed, Young spoke to many, including RT, about why we should demand more of our leaders. RT’s Manila Chan has the interview.




Vets can make out with several freebies on Veterans Day


Veterans and active military personnel can eat for free at many establishments on Veterans Day. (Photo: Largemouth Communications)

Veterans and active military personnel can eat for free at many establishments on Veterans Day.
(Photo: Largemouth Communications)

Let’s say you’re a veteran with lots of free time — and big ambitions to rake in plenty of pay-back for your service to your country.


Well, some of America’s biggest and most patriotic brands have three words of advice for you: go for it.


If you play your cards right on Veterans Day — and some other days, too — here’s how freebie-seeking veterans and active military can cash in. This list is not comprehensive — and some require military ID or have other requirements.


• Get a free haircut. Veterans who visit Great Clips shops on Nov. 11, can either receive a free haircut — or a card for a free haircut to redeem by Dec. 31.

• Eat a free meal. At Hooters, the freebie meal on Veterans Day can be worth up to $10.99, with any drink purchase. Applebee’s, Chili’s and California Pizza Kitchen all offer free meals from a special menu to vets and active military.

• Eat a free buffet. Golden Corral is serving free dinner buffets (with beverages) from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 17, at all restaurants, to anyone who is serving or who has served in the military. That same date, Bonanza Steakhouses also will offer free buffets for vets and active military.

• Down a free burger. Shoney’s offers its signature All-American Burger, free, to vets or active duty military all day on Veterans Day. Or, you can head to Red Robin and get a Red’s Tavern Double burger with Bottomless Steak Fries, on the house. Max & Erma’s offers a free cheeseburger combo and dessert to vets and active military.

• Drink a free coffee. Starbucks is offering a free, tall brewed coffee on Tuesday to all U.S. military veterans and active duty servicemembers — and their spouses.

• Scarf down free pancakes. IHOP offers vets and active military free Red, White and Blue pancakes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Bob Evans also has all-you-can-eat hotcakes on Veterans Day for veterans and active military.

• Lick a free cone. Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream and Yogurt shops are giving away free single-scoop ice cream cones to all veterans and military personnel on Tuesday.

Work-out for free. 24-Hour Fitness offers free use of the health club to vets and active military through Tuesday.

• Enjoy a free appetizer. Red Lobster, through Thursday, is offering free appetizers to veterans and active duty military.

• Sip a free beer. Restaurants owned by CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries (including Gordon Biersch Brewery, Rock Bottom, Old Chicago Pizza and ChopHouse & Brewery) offer a free craft beer to active and retired military Tuesday.

• Down a free doughnut — and coffee. Krispy Kreme will give a free doughnut and small coffee to anyone who identifies themselves as a veteran or active duty military on Veterans Day.

• Get free game tokens. Chuck E. Cheese will give 20 free tokens to U.S. military vets and active-duty military through Saturday.

• Get your junk hauled, free. For disabled veterans, JDog Junk Removal & Hauling locations, will offer free junk removal to disabled vets who book on Veterans Day.





What Did Barack Do Today™

The Militant Negro

The Militant Negro


Weekly Address: American Operations in Iraq


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In this week’s address, the President detailed why he authorized two operations in Iraq – targeted military strikes to protect Americans serving in Iraq and humanitarian airdrops of food and water to help Iraqi civilians trapped on a mountain by terrorists. The President saluted America’s brave men and women in uniform for protecting our fellow Americans and helping to save the lives of innocent people. The President also made clear that the United States will not be dragged into another war in Iraq – that American combat troops will not return – because there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.




President Obama Delivers a Statement on the Situation in Iraq



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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
August 09, 2014

Weekly Address: American Operations in Iraq


WASHINGTON, DC —In this week’s address, the President detailed why he authorized two operations in Iraq—targeted military strikes to protect Americans serving in Iraq and humanitarian airdrops of food and water to help Iraqi civilians trapped on a mountain by terrorists. The President saluted America’s brave men and women in uniform for protecting our fellow Americans and helping to save the lives of innocent people. The President also made clear that the United States will not be dragged into another war in Iraq – that American combat troops will not return – because there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.


The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at at 6:00 a.m. ET, August 9, 2014.


Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
August 9, 2014

This week, I authorized two operations in Iraq.  First, I directed our military to take action to protect our American diplomats and military advisors serving in the city of Erbil.  In recent days, terrorist forces neared the city.  Thursday night, I made it clear that if they attempted to advance further, our military would respond with targeted strikes.  That’s what we’ve done.  And, if necessary, that’s what we will continue to do.  We have Americans serving across Iraq, including our embassy in Baghdad, and we’ll do whatever is needed to protect our people.


Second, we’ve begun a humanitarian effort to help those Iraqi civilians trapped on that mountain. The terrorists that have taken over parts of Iraq have been especially brutal to religious minorities—rounding up families, executing men, enslaving women, and threatening the systematic destruction of an entire religious community, which would be genocide.


The thousands—perhaps tens of thousands—of Iraqi men, women and children who fled to that mountain were starving and dying of thirst.  The food and water we airdropped will help them survive.  I’ve also approved targeted American airstrikes to help Iraqi forces break the siege and rescue these families.  Earlier this week, one anguished Iraqi in this area cried to the world, “There is no one coming to help.”  Today, America is helping.


The United States cannot and should not intervene every time there’s a crisis in the world.  But when there’s a situation like the one on this mountain—when countless innocent people are facing a massacre, and when we have the ability to help prevent it—the United States can’t just look away. That’s not who we are. We’re Americans.  We act.  We lead.  And that’s what we’re going to do on that mountain.  As one American who wrote to me yesterday said, “it is the right thing to do.”


As Commander-in-Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq.  American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there’s no American military solution to the larger crisis there.


What we will do is continue our broader strategy in Iraq.  We will protect our citizens.  We will work with the international community to address this humanitarian crisis.  We’ll help prevent these terrorists from having a permanent safe haven from which to attack America.  And we’ll continue to urge Iraqi communities to reconcile, come together and fight back against these terrorists so the people of Iraq have the opportunity for a better future—the opportunity for which so many Americans gave their lives in Iraq in a long and hard war.


Today, we salute our brave men and women in uniform—especially our courageous pilots and crews over Iraq.  They’re protecting our fellow Americans.  They’re helping save the lives of innocent people on a mountain—people who today know that there’s a country called America that cares for them, too, and that is willing to stand up—not just for our own security, but for the dignity and freedom that belongs to all people.



President Obama Delivers a Statement on the Situation in Iraq


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The President Speaks on the Situation in Iraq


At 10:25 a.m. ET today, the President will deliver a statement on the situation in Iraq, from the South Lawn of the White House.







President Obama Delivers a Statement on the Situation in Iraq: Slide Show


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Statements and Releases – August 9th, 2014


Readout of the President’s Call with His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan


Background Briefing by Senior Administration Officials on Iraq


President Obama Makes a Statement on the Crisis in Iraq


August 07, 2014
10:40 PM EDT



Tonight, in a statement addressing the current crisis in Iraq, President Obama announced that he authorized two operations in the country — “targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death.”




Weekly Wrap Up: Iraq, Africa, and 53 Years


This week, we talked about the imminent dangers climate change poses to our world; the President made a statement on the crisis in Iraq; he hosted the largest event that any U.S. president has ever held with African heads of state and government — and he celebrated his 53rd birthday.


Check out what else you may have missed in this week’s wrap up.


The Crisis in Iraq


Last night, President Obama made a statement from the White House State Dining Room on the current crisis in Iraq. He announced that he had authorized two operations in the country: “targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death.”


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The President detailed the actions that the U.S. is taking, and explained why we must act now. He also made clear that “even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq.”


Raw: US Airstrikes, Airdrops in Iraq


Published on Aug 8, 2014

The U.S. unleashed its first airstrikes in northern Iraq against militants of the Islamic State group Friday amid a worsening humanitarian crisis. Video released by US Central Command also shows airdrops of food and water. Some video mute. (Aug. 8)





Giving the VA the Resources It Needs


Yesterday, the President traveled across the Potomac to Fort Belvoir, Virginia to sign a bill that ensures that veterans will receive the necessary resources that they deserve. In the President’s remarks, he outlined the three areas that the law will address: giving the VA the resources it needs, ensuring timely care, and holding people accountable.



“You’ve risked your lives on multiple tours to defend our nation,” the President said. “And as a country, we have a sacred obligation to serve you as well as you’ve served us — an obligation that doesn’t end with your tour of duty.”



50 African Leaders in the Nation’s Capital


This week, President Obama welcomed 50 African leaders to the nation’s capital, as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The three-day summit was the largest event that any U.S. president has held with African heads of state and government, and built on the President’s trip to Africa in 2013.


President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the “Investing in Africa’s Future” session during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. August 6, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the “Investing in Africa’s Future” session during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. August 6, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)


On Tuesday, the President spoke at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, announcing a series of steps to boost our economic ties with Africa. Continuing on Wednesday, the President took part in three-action oriented sessions and held a press conference covering topics related to Africa, including good governance, deepening our security cooperation, and expanding trade.


President Barack Obama joins leaders for a class photo during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama joins leaders for a class photo during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


As Africa experiences continued growth, the President made it clear that America will be a partner in its success — “a good partner, an equal partner, and a partner for the long term.”


Check out a photo gallery from this week’s summit.



West Wing Week 8/8/14 or, “To the New Africa”


This week, the President hosted about 50 African heads of state for the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, signed a bill to improve care for America’s veterans, and expanded flexibility for cell phone users.




Friday, August 1

  • President Obama started his Friday by meeting with a group of IT professionals at the White House to discuss how federal agencies can attract the same kind of talent found in Silicon Valley. He noted that even the most simplistic technology can help veterans and the uninsured sign up and get scheduled for healthcare.
  • The President then held a press briefing to discuss a myriad of topics from job creation to immigration.
  • The President signed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, which expands consumer flexibility when it comes to unlocking cell phones.


Tuesday, August 5

  • The President delivered remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum where he announced $7 billion in new financing to promote U.S. exports to and investments in Africa as part of the Doing Business in Africa campaign.
  • The President and First Lady hosted a dinner at the White House for African heads of state and various other VIPs in town for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.


Wednesday, August 6

  • The President delivered remarks at the opening of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit focusing on expanding trade, strengthening governance, and deepening security cooperation against common threats to the U.S. and Africa.


Thursday, August 7





The U.S. – Africa Leaders Summit


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The Last 24™










The President’s Last 24™


The President Makes a Statement on the Situation in Iraq



Today, after a meeting with his national security team, President Obama delivered a statement from the White House Press Briefing Room on the situation in Iraq and the U.S. response, in the wake of the terrorist organization ISIL making advances inside Iraq. Watch his remarks below:


Obama: No combat for U.S. troops in Iraq




President Obama Speaks on the Situation in Iraq



The President made clear that he has “no greater priority than the safety of our men and women serving overseas,” which is why he is taking steps to relocate some of our embassy personnel, and also sending reinforcements to better secure American facilities.


He noted that the U.S. has significantly increased intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets in order to get a better picture of what’s happening in Iraq. “This will give us a greater understanding of what ISIL is doing, where it’s located, and how we might support efforts to counter this threat,” he said.


The President also said that the U.S. will keep increasing our support to Iraqi security forces, reiterating that U.S. forces “will not be returning to combat in Iraq, but we will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people.”


The President emphasized that “the best and most effective response to a threat like ISIL will ultimately involve partnerships where local forces, like Iraqis, take the lead.”


Read the President’s full statement here.


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The President’s Export Council Meeting




Remarks by the President at Export Council Meeting



Eisenhower Executive Office Building

10:30 A.M. EDT


President Obama Joins a Meeting of the President’s Export Council



THE PRESIDENT:  I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who are here.  Some of you have been serving on our Export Council for quite some time.  Some of you are here as new additions, but all of you have been extraordinarily successful in your various fields.  And it gives us an enormous opportunity to hear from you in very concrete terms about how we can advance not just America’s export agenda, but how we can build the kind of economic future that we want for our kids and our grandkids.


For the last 51 months, we have created jobs here in the United States — 9.4 million jobs in all.  But we’re going to have to create more.  And one of the best ways to do it is to boost American manufacturing and American exports.  That’s why since I came into office we have been promoting American products and businesses when I travel overseas.  It’s why we created the President’s Export Council in 2010.  There are some of the most iconic companies in the world — Boeing being an example, Xerox being another one.


And with your help, exports have driven one-third of the economic growth in our recovery and now support over 11 million U.S. jobs.  Last year, we exported $2.3 trillion in goods and services, which was an all-time high.  And business executives around the globe say that the United States is the best place to locate, the best place to invest, and the best place to hire.  And that’s the first time that they’ve said that, that we are number one when it comes to their desirable location to invest.  This is the first time they’ve said that in over a decade.


So the “Made in America” brand is stronger than ever.  And as we saw yesterday at the first White House Maker Faire — I was out there watching these 22-year-olds coming up with incredible things — it is going to be a remarkable future that we have to look ahead to.  Because in many ways, manufacturing is becoming easier, some of the barriers to entry are lowering.  It gives inventors and entrepreneurs the opportunity to create new products and services in ways that we can’t even imagine.  And we want to make sure that all those trends accelerate here in the United States.




So this is a moment of opportunity.  We’ve got a chance to extend our competitive advantage in the world.  That’s what this meeting is about.  One thing I want to focus on today is opening up even more new markets to “Made in America” products.  We’re working very hard to finalize trade agreements with our partners in Europe and in Asia that will make us the center of a free trade hub covering two-thirds of the world economy.  And Mr. Michael Froman has been putting in a lot of miles trying to make sure that that happens.  And I know he’s consulted with some of you — not just big companies, but a lot of small- and medium-sized businesses who have enormous opportunities if we’re able to open up these markets, and oftentimes are the ones that have the hardest time navigating through some of the barriers that are out there.


I especially want to increase trade and investment in the region.  And this is going to be one of the issues we discuss in August.  There has been some explosive growth in certain parts of the world where we’re just not doing enough, Africa as being a prime example.  You’ve got six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in Africa, a young population that is growing rapidly.  Some of these economies are doing very, very well, but we’re not penetrating those markets as well as we should.


And I think we’ve got a great opportunity in August with an African Leaders Summit that’s going to be taking place for us to talk about trade and commerce, because that’s really what that continent is interested in.  They’re not interested in aid as much as they are trade, development, and partnering with the private sector.




And as your businesses know well, when we export products overseas, we’re creating jobs and opportunities here at home.  That’s the focus here today and every day of my presidency — how do we create thriving businesses that are also able to create great jobs that allow people not just to stay in the middle class, but to work their way into the middle class if they work hard and take responsibility.  And all of you have done that.


This council is doing great work.  And with that, I’m going to turn it back over to Jay to hear about some of the ideas that you’ve come up with and how we can help advance this agenda.


10:35 A.M. EDT


President’s Export Council Meeting Full Meeting








Our hopes for a more peaceful and just world depend on respect for the rights and dignity of all people. It is for this reason that our foreign policy champions human rights and opposes violence and discrimination that targets people because of who they are and whom they love. President Obama’s groundbreaking Presidential Memorandum of December 6, 2011 reflected this commitment by directing the federal government to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT people abroad.


We have seen extraordinary advances for LGBT rights in the United States and in many countries around the world. But some governments have challenged this progress, with results that not only endanger local LGBT communities, but also pose a setback for all those around the world who share a commitment to freedom, justice, and equal rights.


The Government of Uganda’s enactment of the “Anti-Homosexuality Act” is precisely such a step in the wrong direction. As President Obama made clear in February, the enactment of the AHA is more than an affront to the LGBT community in Uganda — it calls into question the Government of Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of all its people, and complicates our bilateral relationship.


After thorough consideration, the U.S. government is taking a number of actions to underscore the critical importance we place on human rights and fighting against discrimination, protecting vulnerable populations, respecting freedom of expression and association, and advancing inclusive governance.


In particular:

  • Restricting entry to the United States. We want human rights abusers, worldwide, to know their misdeeds are not unnoticed and would-be human rights abusers to understand that there are consequences for engaging in such actions. The State Department is therefore taking steps consistent with its current authorities (including Presidential Proclamation 8697) to restrict the entry into the United States of specific Ugandan individuals involved in serious violations or abuses of human rights, including those determined to have committed such violations or abuses against LGBT individuals. While we will not identify the individuals whom we have watch-listed in line with confidentiality requirements, this step makes clear our commitment to sanctioning individuals determined to have perpetrated human rights abuses or who are responsible for such acts in the future. In addition, the United States will also take steps consistent with current authorities to restrict entry into the United States by Ugandans who are found responsible for significant public corruption.
  • Ceasing support for Uganda’s community policing program. We are very concerned about the extent to which the Ugandan police may be involved in abusive activities undertaken in the name of implementing the AHA. These concerns relate to the April 3 raid on a U.S.-funded public health program at Makerere University, as well as credible reports of individuals detained and abused while in police custody. Therefore, even as we continue to press the police at every level to fulfill their responsibility to protect all Ugandans, we will also be discontinuing a $2.4 million program in support for the Uganda Police Force community-policing program.
  • Redirecting certain financial support for the Ministry of Health (MOH) to other partners. We remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting the health needs of the Ugandan people, but we seek to invest in partners and programs that share our commitment to equal access and our evidence-based approach to medicine and science. We are accordingly shifting a portion of our financial support for MOH salaries, travel expenses, and other items to health-related activities being undertaken by non-governmental partners in Uganda. These modifications will focus on MOH central headquarters staff in order to avoid negatively affecting health care workers and direct service providers in Uganda.
  • Relocating funds for a planned public health institute and other measures relating to health programming. For similar reasons, we are relocating to another African country the planned establishment of a National Public Health Institute, for which we would have provided approximately $3 million in funding. We have also relocated a National Institutes of Health genomics meeting from Uganda to South Africa.
  • Cancelling a military aviation exercise. We have also cancelled plans to conduct the Department of Defense’s Africa Partnership Flight exercise in Uganda. This was intended to be a United States African Command (AFRICOM)-sponsored aviation exercise with other East African partners.


These steps are in addition to the measures that we announced in March. Among other things, we took steps at that time to redirect funding away from program implementers whose actions called into question their willingness to serve all people in need, to shift certain military and intelligence engagements to other locations, and to suspend certain near-term invitational travel for Ugandan military and police officials.


In taking the measures that we have described, the U.S. government is mindful of the wide range of issues encompassed by our relationship with Uganda — including our development and humanitarian support for the Ugandan people, our efforts to counter the murderous Lord’s Resistance Army, and a partnership that advances our security interests in the region. We will seek to advance these interests while also working with both governmental and non-governmental partners to end discrimination against LGBT people in Uganda and around the world — a struggle central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights.


Uganda’s New Gay Death Penalty Bill




A gay Ugandan’s fears of persecution under new anti-homosexuality bill 




Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on the Response to Uganda’s Enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act

As President Obama has stated, the Government of Uganda’s enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) runs counter to universal human rights and complicates our bilateral relationship. We announced in April a series of initial responses, and we have since considered how further to reinforce our support for human rights of all Ugandans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.


Today, we are announcing several additional steps. Specifically, the Department of State is taking measures to prevent entry into the United States by certain Ugandan officials involved in serious human rights abuses, including against LGBT individuals. In addition, the United States will take steps, consistent with current authorities, to prevent entry into the United States by Ugandans who are found responsible for significant public corruption.  We are also discontinuing or redirecting funds for certain additional programs involving the Ugandan Police Force, Ministry of Health, and National Public Health Institute, and cancelling plans to hold a U.S. military-sponsored aviation exercise in Uganda.


None of these steps diminishes our commitment to providing development and humanitarian support for the Ugandan people, or our partnership with the Ugandan government to counter the murderous Lord’s Resistance Army and improve security in Africa. We will seek to advance these interests even as we continue—in Uganda and around the world—to oppose discriminatory practices and champion human rights for all.






Statement by the President on the Observance of Juneteenth

On this day in 1865 – more than two years after President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation – word finally reached Galveston, Texas that the slaves there were free.


Juneteenth marked an important moment in the life of our nation.  But it was only the beginning of a long and difficult struggle for equal rights and equal treatment under the law.  This year, as we also mark the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer, we honor those who continued to fight for equality and opportunity for Americans of every race and every background.  And we recommit ourselves to the unending work of perfecting our Union.


15 Facts We Bet You Didn’t Know About Juneteenth

























































The President Awards the Medal of Honor to Corporal William “Kyle” Carpenter




Remarks by the President at Presentation of The Medal of Honor to Corporal William Kyle Carpenter



East Room

2:33 P.M. EDT


THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  Please be seated.  On behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House.


The man you see before you today, Corporal William Kyle Carpenter, should not be alive today.  Hand grenades are one of the most awful weapons of war.  They only weigh about a pound, but they’re packed with TNT.  If one lands nearby, you have mere seconds to seek cover.  When it detonates, its fragments shoot out in every direction.  And even at a distance, that spray of shrapnel can inflict devastating injuries on the human body.  Up close, it’s almost certain death.


But we are here because this man, this United States Marine, faced down that terrible explosive power, that unforgiving force, with his own body — willingly and deliberately — to protect a fellow Marine.  When that grenade exploded, Kyle Carpenter’s body took the brunt of the blast.  His injuries were called “catastrophic.”  It seemed as if he was going to die.  While being treated, he went into cardiac arrest, and three times, he flatlined.  Three times, doctors brought him back.


Along with his parents, who call Kyle’s survival “our miracle,” we thank God they did.  Because with that singular act of courage, Kyle, you not only saved your brother in arms, you displayed a heroism in the blink of an eye that will inspire for generations valor worthy of our nation’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor.


Now, Kyle and I have actually met before.  During his long recovery at Walter Reed, he and some of our other wounded warriors came to the White House to celebrate the World Series champion, the St. Louis Cardinals.  Some of you might be aware, I am a White Sox fan.  (Laughter.)  Kyle likes the Braves.  So it was a tough day for both of us.  (Laughter.)


But after the ceremony, Michelle and I had the chance to meet Kyle.  And at the time, he was still undergoing surgeries.  But he was up and he was walking, and he was working his way toward being independent again, towards the man you see here today.  And, Kyle, the main message we want to send is, welcome back.  We are so proud to have you here.


Read More


Marine who took grenade hit receives Medal of Honor



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“We Stand In Awe Of Your Service”: President Obama Makes A Surprise Trip To Thank Troops In Afghanistan.


By Jueseppi B.



Slide Show:President Barack Obama Visits U.S. Troops in Afghanistan


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“We Stand in Awe of Your Service”: President Obama Makes a Surprise Trip to Thank Troops in Afghanistan

Lindsay Holst
Lindsay Holst

May 25, 2014
02:43 PM EDT

President Obama made a surprise visit to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan today to thank the American troops and civilians stationed there for their service.


Following an opening performance by Brad Paisley, the President addressed about 3,000 troops in a hangar on the base.


He let them know that he was there “on a single mission” — and that was to say thank you.


“I thank you as your Commander-in-Chief because you inspire me,” the President said. “Your willingness to serve, to step forward at a time of war, and say ‘send me,’ is the reason the United States stays strong and free. Of all the honors that I have serving as President, nothing matches serving as your Commander-in-Chief.”

“I thank you as your Commander-in-Chief because you inspire me,” the President said. “Your willingness to serve, to step forward at a time of war, and say ‘send me,’ is the reason the United States stays strong and free. Of all the honors that I have serving as President, nothing matches serving as your Commander-in-Chief.”


The President went on to say that, after more than a decade of war, we’re at a “pivotal moment” in Afghanistan.

Last year marked a major milestone — for the first time, Afghan forces took the lead to secure their own country. And today, you’re in a support role — helping to train and assist Afghan forces. For many of you, this will be your last tour in Afghanistan. And by the end of this year, the transition will be complete and Afghans will take full responsibility for their security, and our combat mission will be over. America’s war in Afghanistan will come to a responsible end.


The President also noted that our progress in Afghanistan has come “at a heavy price.”

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. At bases here in Afghanistan and towns across America, we will pause and we’ll pay tribute to all those who’ve laid down their lives for our freedom. And that includes nearly 2,200 American patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice, that last, full measure of devotion, right here in Afghanistan. I know you’ve stood in front of those battle crosses. I know many of you carry the memories of your fallen comrades in your heart today. We will honor every single one of them — not just tomorrow, but forever.


In closing, the President described how, in spite of all our country has been though, “our flag is still there.”

… Our flag is still there because when our nation was attacked, a generation — this generation, the 9/11 Generation — stepped up and said “send me.”  Our flag is still there because you’ve served with honor in dusty villages and city streets, and in rugged bases and remote outposts, in Helmand and Kandahar, and Khost and Kunar and Paktika and Nuristan. Our flag is still there because through this long war you never wavered in your belief that people deserve to live free from fear — over here and back home. Our flag will always be there, because the freedom and liberty it represents to the world will always be defended by patriots like you.

Following his remarks, the President also visited with wounded troops in the military hospital at Bagram Air Base.


Read the President’s full remarks here.


President Barack Obama participates in a rally for American troops at Bagram Airfield in Bagram, Afghanistan

President Barack Obama participates in a rally for American troops at Bagram Airfield in Bagram, Afghanistan. May 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)












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Memorial Day.


By Jueseppi B.

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Memorial Day is a US federal holiday wherein the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces are remembered. The holiday, which is celebrated every year on the final Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.

Annual Decoration Days for particular cemeteries are held on a Sunday in late spring or early summer in some rural areas of the American South, notably in the mountains. In cases involving a family graveyard where remote ancestors as well as those who were deceased more recently are buried, this may take on the character of an extended family reunion to which some people travel hundreds of miles. People gather on the designated day and put flowers on graves and renew contacts with kinfolk and others. There often is a religious service and a “dinner on the ground,” the traditional term for a potluck meal in which people used to spread the dishes out on sheets or tablecloths on the grass. It is believed that this practice began before the American Civil War and thus may reflect the real origin of the “memorial day” idea.

Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.


Wes Moore: How to talk to veterans about the war


Published on May 23, 2014

Wes Moore joined the US Army to pay for college, but the experience became core to who he is. In this heartfelt talk, the paratrooper and captain—who went on to write “The Other Wes Moore”—explains the shock of returning home from Afghanistan. He shares the single phrase he heard from civilians on repeat, and shows why it’s just not sufficient. It’s a call for all of us to ask veterans to tell their stories — and listen.




Memorial Day
Graves at Arlington on Memorial Day.JPG

The gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery
are decorated by U.S. flags on Memorial Day
Observed by United States
Type National
Observances Remembrance of American

war dead

Date Last Monday in May
2013 date May 27
2014 date May 26
2015 date May 25
2016 date May 30
Frequency annual



History of the holiday

The practice of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers is an ancient custom. Soldiers’ graves were decorated in the U.S. before and during the American Civil War. A claim was made in 1906 that the first Civil War soldier’s grave ever decorated was in Warrenton, Virginia, on June 3, 1861, implying the first Memorial Day occurred there. Though not for Union soldiers, there is authentic documentation that women in Savannah, Georgia, decorated Confederate soldiers’ graves in 1862. In 1863, the cemetery dedication at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was a ceremony of commemoration at the graves of dead soldiers. Local historians in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, claim that ladies there decorated soldiers’ graves on July 4, 1864. As a result, Boalsburg promotes itself as the birthplace of Memorial Day.

Following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865, there were a variety of events of commemoration. The sheer number of soldiers of both sides who died in the Civil War, more than 600,000, meant that burial and memorialization took on new cultural significance. Under the leadership of women during the war, an increasingly formal practice of decorating graves had taken shape. In 1865, the federal government began creating national military cemeteries for the Union war dead.

The first widely publicized observance of a Memorial Day-type observance after the Civil War was in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 1, 1865. During the war, Union soldiers who were prisoners of war had been held at the Charleston Race Course; at least 257 Union prisoners died there and were hastily buried in unmarked graves. Together with teachers and missionaries, black residents of Charleston organized a May Day ceremony in 1865, which was covered by the New York Tribune and other national papers.

The freedmen cleaned up and landscaped the burial ground, building an enclosure and an arch labeled, “Martyrs of the Race Course.” Nearly ten thousand people, mostly freedmen, gathered on May 1 to commemorate the war dead. Involved were about 3,000 school children newly enrolled in freedmen’s schools, mutual aid societies, Union troops, black ministers, and white northern missionaries. Most brought flowers to lay on the burial field. Today the site is used as Hampton Park. Years later, the celebration would come to be called the “First Decoration Day” in the North.

David W. Blight described the day:

“This was the first Memorial Day. African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina. What you have there is black Americans recently freed from slavery announcing to the world with their flowers, their feet, and their songs what the war had been about. What they basically were creating was the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.”However, Blight stated he “has no evidence” that this event in Charleston inspired the establishment of Memorial Day across the country.

However, Blight stated he “has no evidence” that this event in Charleston inspired the establishment of Memorial Day across the country.

On May 26, 1966, President Johnson signed a presidential proclamation naming Waterloo, New York, as the birthplace of Memorial Day. Earlier, the 89th Congress adopted House Concurrent Resolution 587, which officially recognized that the patriotic tradition of observing Memorial Day began one hundred years prior in Waterloo, New York. According to legend, in the summer of 1865 a local druggist Henry Welles, while talking to friends, suggested that it might be good to remember those soldiers who did not make it home from the Civil War.

Not much came of it until he mentioned it to General John B. Murray, a Civil War hero, who gathered support from other surviving veterans. On May 5, 1866, they marched to the three local cemeteries and decorated the graves of fallen soldiers. It is believed that Murray, who knew General Logan, told Logan about the observance and that led to Logan issuing Logan’s Order in 1868 calling for a national observance.


The Tomb of the Unknowns located in Arlington National Cemetery

The Tomb of the Unknowns located in Arlington National Cemetery

Confederate Memorial Monument in Montgomery, Alabama

Confederate Memorial Monument in Montgomery, Alabama

Soldiers National Monument at the center of Gettysburg National Cemetery

Soldiers National Monument at the center of Gettysburg National Cemetery


Name and date

The preferred name for the holiday gradually changed from “Decoration Day” to “Memorial Day”, which was first used in 1882. It did not become more common until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967. On June 28, 1968, the Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May. The law took effect at the federal level in 1971. After some initial confusion and unwillingness to comply, all 50 states adopted Congress’ change of date within a few years.

Memorial Day endures as a holiday which most businesses observe because it marks the unofficial beginning of summer. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) advocate returning to the original date, although the significance of the date is tenuous. The VFW stated in a 2002 Memorial Day Address:

Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed a lot to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.


Starting in 1987 Hawaii‘s Senator Daniel Inouye, a World War II veteran, introduced a measure to return Memorial Day to its traditional date. Inouye continued introducing the resolution until his death in 2012.



Traditional observance

On Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day


The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon, their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

The National Memorial Day Concert takes place on the west lawn of the United States Capitol. The concert is broadcast on PBS and NPR. Music is performed, and respect is paid to the men and women who gave their lives for their country.

For many Americans, the central event is attending one of the thousands of parades held on Memorial Day in large and small cities all over the country. Most of these feature marching bands and an overall military theme with the National Guard and other servicemen participating along with veterans and military vehicles from various wars.

One of the longest-standing traditions is the running of the Indianapolis 500, an auto race which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911. It runs on the Sunday preceding the Memorial Day holiday. The Coca-Cola 600 stock car race has been held later the same day since 1961. The Memorial Tournament golf event has been held on or close to the Memorial Day weekend since 1976.



KNOW YOUR HISTORY: Memorial Day was started by former slaves on May, 1, 1865


Memorial Day 2013- African Americans in World War I and II


This Memorial Day Remember We’ve Been Screwing Veterans Over for at Least a Century


Holocaust Remembrance Memorial Day-70 years ago was the Warsaw ghetto uprising


While You Celebrate The Military This Memorial Day, Don’t Forget The Unjustly Imprisoned: Free The IRP6









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