26
May
14

A President Who Cares

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Pete Souza: A soldier hugs President Barack Obama following his remarks at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, May 25

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President Obama steps off Air Force One after arriving at Bagram Air Field for an unannounced visit

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President Obama greets US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham and General Joseph Dunfore, Commander of ISAF and US Forces Afghanistan, after disembarking from Air Force One upon arrival at Bagram Air Field

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President Obama and Brigadier General Erik Kurilla view photos of fallen military personnel at Camp Alpha, Bagram

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‘Our War Dead’ by Jacqueline O’Boomer

We woke up this morning
Each bowing our head
For the wounded, the missing
And “our war dead”

“Our war dead”
Has such a hollow sound
Until we acknowledge it’s flesh and blood
In our sacred ground

We know for the missing souls
Who never came back
The graves on the hill
Are what grieving families lack

Many brave warriors
Left limbs behind
Lucky to come back home
But with mountains to climb

Many came back to loving arms
Waiting at the crowded dock
But they had lost their innocence
To war trauma and shell shock

A moment of remembrance
An image of sorrow
We share in their grief
On each tomorrow …

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President Obama attends a military briefing with General Joseph Dunfore at Bagram Air Field

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President Obama awards medals to U.S. troops

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President Obama does a Hawaiian “shaka” as he greets US troops

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President Obama and General Joseph F. Dunford take the stage to address the U.S. Troops

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@dougmillsnyt

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President Obama boards Air Force One before departing Bagram Air Field

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President Obama leads the singing of “Happy Birthday” for Rob Nation, Superintendent of Presidential Flight Attendants, as country singer Brad Paisley plays guitar on Air Force One on the return home from visiting troops in Afghanistan

Photos by Pete Souza and Doug Mills

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Military personnel salute Air Force One at Andrews this morning upon President Obama’s return from Afghanistan


121 Responses to “A President Who Cares”


  1. 1 Paulita
    May 26, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Hey Now 8-)

  2. 7 mtmarilyn
    May 26, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Those pictures are so powerful

    • 8 pkayden
      May 26, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      Yes they are. I know that Brad Paisley got a lot of backlash for supporting the President in 2008 so good to see him with the President in Afghanistan.

  3. May 26, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Nerdy? Simply stunning. Cannot not not not thank you enough.

  4. 14 Nena20409
    May 26, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Gold for Paulita. Congrats.

    Awesome photographs, NW.

    I don’t think this POTUS has slept, not really since Saturday.

    The :bear: is indeed loose.

  5. 15 Nerdy Wonka
    May 26, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Thank you so much, Ms. J’OB for the touching poem.

    You write so beautifully. TOD is blessed to have you.

  6. 18 yardarm756
    May 26, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    A Purple Heart for the lady is a BFD!

  7. 19 hopefruit2
    May 26, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Beautiful, captivating pictures. Thanks NW for posting, and thanks J’OB for this touching tribute to those soldiers who gave their lives in service to this country and their grieving families.

  8. May 26, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    What an Outstanding and Thoughtful way of covering Memorial Day…..I thank you so much NW and Ms Chips…

    No members of my family have served but I have become much more sensitive to the notion that Memorial Day is not a just a day for BBQs and picnics…it is so much more than that…and altho it is a day to commemorate the Fallen….it is also a day to gauge how well we are taking care of the “families” of the Fallen….

  9. May 26, 2014 at 5:21 pm
  10. 27 Nena20409
    May 26, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    http://www.live5news.com/story/25613934/nigerian-govt-official-location-of-kidnapped-schoolgirls-known

    (CNN) – In Nigeria, the government’s chief of defense staff says he knows the whereabouts of the more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by the militant group Boko Haram last month, according to a state news report on Monday.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/26/boko-haram-nigeria-girls_n_5393969.html

    ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s defense chief says the military has located nearly 300 school girls abducted by Islamic extremists but cannot use force to free them.

    Air Marshal Alex Barde told demonstrators supporting the country’s much criticized military on Monday that Nigerian troops can save the girls. But he added, “we can’t go and kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back.”

    He would not say where they have found the girls.

  11. May 26, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    a most fitting poem….J O’b

  12. May 26, 2014 at 5:31 pm
  13. 31 Nena20409
    May 26, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/25/us-yemen-alqaeda-idUSBREA4O0DF20140525

    (Reuters) – Yemen’s security forces on Sunday killed a senior al Qaeda leader wanted for attacks on local and foreign targets in Sanaa, the Yemeni government said, after a raid near the capital in which at least four other militants died.

    The government said in a statement that two officers also died when anti-terrorism units raided an al Qaeda hideout and a car bomb-making facility in Bayt al-Adhari and Bani Hakam districts, in the Arhab region, and fought a gunbattle with its occupants. Two officers were also wounded.

  14. 32 Bill R.
    May 26, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    I want to share one more post about my father and healing from the wounds of war and combat. He shared this with me on the occasion of one our annual retreats together that we took at a Trappist monastery. In later years one of the things that my father and I shared that helped bring us together was a love of distance running. In fact we would run a couple of races together each year. We ran the Cascade Runoff in Portland and the Pear Blossom run in Medford, Oregon. This particular year when we met on retreat, during one of our conversations together he looked at me a little odd, and then said, “Recently I had this kind of unusual experience.” Then he went on to describe it. He was out running one glorious morning in the early summer, in his neighborhood. He was feeling good and energetic and jogging along at a comfortable pace. “All of a sudden”, he said, ” I was somewhere else.” Not in Medford anymore, not running in the neighborhood. He said,” I was at Bloody Nose Ridge on Pelilu. (The battle he participated in in the South Pacific where most of his company was wiped out.) He went on to say, ” Only it was different. I’ve always thought of Bloody Nose Ridge as the definition of hell, where the only thing that matters is violence, killing, and hatred. Only this time it was like heaven. It was total peace and goodness, and all the men who died there American and Japanese, all the men who I killed, even after Pelilu were all there. And they were happy to see me. And we all were happy that we didn’t have to do such horrible things to each other any more. And there was total forgiveness. And there was absolute peace and joy.” Then the next thing he knew he was back in his neighborhood, in his body, jogging down the street.

    I guess he was a little worried that I might think he was crazy or something. And he said, “Well, you can think what you like, but since that experience a lot has lifted from me. For one thing, when I walk down the street and I see someone with an Asian looking face, I don’t react with anger and fear like I used to.”

    Well, in my universe, such things happen and in my universe there is place beyond this transitory world that brings healing to the the soul from all the hurts inflicted in this life. So I had no trouble accepting the truth of what by dad told me, because I had witnessed in large measure that healing in him myself. And I think his vow at the end of the war ( see last thread) and all the inner therapeutic and soul work through Recovery and his spiritual path he had done in his life helped to open him to that healing.

    • 33 MightyPamela
      May 26, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      Bill, the Soul walks in Light always. Your father was blessed with a moment of becoming one not only with his own Soul, but with the One Soul, and was wise enough to recognize and accept that reality he glimpsed is the true reality, unmasked by the density of matter on this plane. To have seen his comrades, and even ‘the enemy’, in Soul form, all healed and dwelling in bliss, to have walked through just a brief moment of heaven, would have been an ultimate awakening into full consciousness. All fear of death, or life, becomes non-existent. Such a gift he was given, he knew what it was, and he knew to share it with you. Bliss. Many blessings to you, your father is already within the greatest blessing we can know, but I send my greeting to him as well. Thank you for knowing and understanding this experience, and for having the words to share it with so many here. People are waking, the world is waking, these stories are the reason why.

    • 34 kathleenp444
      May 26, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Oh, Bob, I’m so grateful you shared this remarkable story. Your father’s experience has moved me more than anything else this Memorial Day. It’s not often I can say thanks for the tears :-)

    • May 26, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      Wow, amazing and beautiful. There are times when we need to embrace the mystery.

  15. 36 Paulita
    May 26, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Thank you again Bill. I know that there is great power in forgiveness and the freedom that comes with it is sweet and soul satisfying.

  16. May 26, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Very poignant poem, JO’B. Thank you for beautifully expressing the joy and the sorrow that accompany the return of each person from a battlefield or war zone.

    Stunning array of photos, NerdyW. Thank you for your tireless dedication to keeping TODville current with each day’s events.

    I’m hopelessly behind in my TOD lurking, so this may be duplicate:

    From the article:
    “President Obama is planning to travel to a Native American reservation in North Dakota in June, a rare visit by a sitting U.S. president to Indian country, according to officials familiar with the plans.”

    snip \

    “It’s unclear which reservation Obama will visit. His senior policy adviser for Native American affairs, Jodi Gillette, is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota, where her brother is the chairman.

    ‘I would be excited at the prospect of having a president visit an Indian reservation to see some of the challenges and opportunities in Indian country,’ said former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who created the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute after he left the Senate to focus on problems facing Indian youths, especially the high suicide rates.

    In one of the broadest studies of its kind, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. last year created a national task force to examine violence and its impact on American Indian and Alaska Native children, and Dorgan is the co-chair of the task force’s advisory committee.”

    And remember how appropriate PBO’s Indian name is…

    “When Obama was at Crow Nation, a couple formally adopted him and gave him the Indian name Barack ‘Black Eagle,’ which means ‘One Who Helps People Throughout the Land.'”

    • 38 sherijr
      May 26, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      well dang, he waits until I LEAVE ND to visit.. I’m starting to think I’m the only person who hasn’t shook his hand yet :)

      • 39 MightyPamela
        May 26, 2014 at 6:34 pm

        Oh no you don’t, missy sherijr!! You at least live within his aura now, and I bet if you hang out on the National Mall a bit more often, you will find a bear paw extended to greet you one day!! ;)

      • May 26, 2014 at 6:53 pm

        Love this photo; Thanks NW and Chips. . .

        • 42 sherijr
          May 26, 2014 at 10:40 pm

          Agree with you Carol… when he returns home is always the best part of his trips.

          • May 26, 2014 at 11:41 pm

            😊 Alls right with the world when he’s home. <3
            How was your week-end? I posted a memorial for my cousin who died in combat, did you see it? Took me awhile, but my fellow TODers liked it.

            • 44 sherijr
              May 27, 2014 at 12:34 am

              oh Carol I missed it, will go back and look for it in the morning- am off to bed now. I spent most of the weekend working in the yard and finally cleaning out the garage- but it was a good and productive weekend. I hope yours was good.. am so very sorry about your cousin. Have a good night, I’m off to bed. Take care.

      • 46 sjterrid
        May 26, 2014 at 8:34 pm

        Don’t feel so bad, sherijr, I haven’t shaken his hand yet, either. I’ve only to two of his events. A few years ago I saw him talking at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, and I went to his 2nd inauguration. Both times I wasn’t even close.

        • 47 sjterrid
          May 26, 2014 at 8:47 pm

          I seemed to have left out “been” in the above 2nd sentence.

        • 48 sherijr
          May 26, 2014 at 10:39 pm

          well you are doing way better than me.. I’ve never even been to a rally or seen him from a distance. I’ve promised myself that I will be there to say good-bye to him and the First Family in 2016… I’ll be holding a sign saying Thank you and you’ll be missed.

  17. 52 donna dem 4 obama
    May 26, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Thank You NW and Chips for your wonderful coverage of this Memorial Day Weekend.

    JOB your poem was beautiful!

    Considered one of the most memorable performances on American TV was Whitney Houston’s rendition of The National Anthem at the 1991 Super Bowl Game. The First Gulf War had only been launched a few weeks prior to the game so support of our troops was at a fever pitch. Her tribute that day gave us all a real sense of pride for the brave men and women who serve our country.

    At her professional peak there was no one any better than Whitney.

  18. May 26, 2014 at 6:14 pm
  19. 68 sherijr
    May 26, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Thank you Nerdy for this touching post, the pictures tell the story of our outstanding President.. and the people who value him, because he values all of us. JoB- your poem was beautiful, so heartfelt- thank you for sharing it with us.

  20. 70 MightyPamela
    May 26, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    <3 JO'B <3

  21. May 26, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    I sent a few of you tweets about my memorial but you probably couldn’t get on, now you can get on the site. If you can’t, it’s back to the drawing board. O_o Some may remember dates better than I do but my cousin died the day the raised the flag on Iwo Jima.

  22. 87 Cindy
    May 26, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Thank you Nerdy Wonka for the BEAUTIFUL posts that you have brought to us.

    It is sooooooo WONDERFUL to come here for the “real news” that you, Chipsticks, and all of the TOD contributors bring to us daily. This day has been so beautiful; reading the posts, viewing the pictures and to have the TOD family share their personal stories.

    I am so grateful that CHIPSTICKS had a vision of something GREAT, that would change how we see and view politics when truth is revealed.

    CNN, MSNBC, FOX and all others; you “AIN’T got nothing on this!

    God Bless America!

    • May 26, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      All great leaders have a great vision for what they want to do. It may not happen as fast as they’d like, but they make it work. Rumor has it she worked for Pres. Obama before he was President. . ,

  23. May 26, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    These are for Bob. Guess who makes these? ;) O_o

  24. 90 carolyn
    May 26, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Thank you NW and Chips for today’s posts. Reading and listening to these has been the perfect way to commemorate Memorial Day. Poignant, powerful, real…..a true treasure.

  25. 91 Vicki
    May 26, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    re-posting from previous post: NY rumor is that NY Times editor in chief Jill Abrahamson was fired because she objected to advertisers control over editorial content.
    Pay equity not the reason she is gone.

  26. 92 hopefruit2
    May 26, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Hmmm….a scandal that wasn’t? So far, the as per the investigation, none of the veteran deaths have been found attributable to long wait times at the VA…. Let’s see what the remaining 23 cases show…

    • 93 99ts
      May 26, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      Why am I not surprised – just like all those folks who lost their healthcare and had their rates tripled with the ACA – the media pundits will believe GOP lies but deny truths – always

    • 94 Vicki
      May 26, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      well, well, well Don’t tell me the media made up a story just to hurt The President?

    • May 26, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      Just responded to JER below.

      Another example of the media aiding and abetting the GOP.

      Heard a report this week about how there are many more veterans who died because of delayed treatment “dating back to 2001.” (I think that was the year, but in any case CBS was trying to implicate the Obama Administration in deaths that occurred while GWBush was in office.

      Cannot believe this crap gets beyond the editor’s desk.

  27. 96 JER
    May 26, 2014 at 7:06 pm
    • May 26, 2014 at 7:54 pm

      Just heard this on the radio, CBS network news, at the top of each hour on Los Angeles all news radio @knx1070.

      This is predictable. ACA was tailored for insurers, those insurers who made a lot noise about not participating did so in order to have “tax break” GOP elected.

      Now they want a piece of the action (i.e., hauling in the dough from insurance premiums).

      Another example of how the MSM aids and abets the GOP.

    • 98 a4alice
      May 26, 2014 at 7:55 pm

      that IS good news! :-)

  28. May 26, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Ukrainian Government appears to be getting its act together militarily and kicking terrorist (aka Russian) butt ….

  29. May 26, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    This is very good news ….

  30. 103 otter44
    May 26, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Thank you to all who have served. We have been blessed by your sacrifice. Special blessings to al TOD vets and their families.

  31. 104 hopefruit2
    May 26, 2014 at 7:15 pm
  32. 106 99ts
    May 26, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/memorial-day-2014-052614

    It’s memorial day and the country is at war with itself.

    “At the beginning of this Memorial Day weekend, another American decided to make war on his fellow Americans. Elliot Rodger preceded his hostilities by announcing to the world, in terms so firm and clear as to command its assent, the casus belli under which he presumed to make war. It was as formal, if decidedly twisted, declaration of war”

    One of the most interesting comments on this post from Pierce notes the following
    “Where are the gun trolls who usually show up when a piece like this appears?

    Actually, their absence confirms my suspicion that I voiced a few weeks ago… When Mr. Pierce or Col. Bateman posts a rational, thoughtful anti-gun piece, it triggers a Google Alert at NRA headquarters which then lets loose its dogs of horror to post “Guns are beautiful and I’m gonna shoot all you bleeding heart libtards” comments en masse. And because it is a holiday and the NRA offices are closed, the alert is sitting in the email box of somebody in the PR department where it will be found tomorrow.”

    I am convinced that the NRA pays people to visit any web site that posts in favor of less guns – probably have 10 people out there pretending to be the 10 million who were going to descend on DC.

  33. 107 desertflower
    May 26, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    I am convinced that the NRA pays people to visit any web site that posts in favor of less guns – probably have 10 people out there pretending to be the 10 million who were going to descend on DC.

    I have always thought this to be the case.

  34. May 26, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Maybe this will get some to believe in a Climate Change. :grin: :roll:

  35. May 26, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Ukrainians deserve to be congratulated on an exceptionally well run election …

  36. 115 hopefruit2
    May 26, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Clay Aiken is going to be America’s first gay President. Yes, you heard it first from me on TOD on this Memorial Day, May 25, 2014…

  37. May 26, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Donna Dem posted earlier about the first young man to die in Iraq. It stuck with me most of the morning, so I looked into it a bit more.

    May he Rest in Eternal Peace.

    • May 26, 2014 at 8:13 pm
  38. 118 yardarm756
    May 26, 2014 at 8:15 pm
    • 119 99ts
      May 26, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      Hello Sailor – a picture worth 1000 words

      Was talking above about US servicemen R&R in Australia – lots of sailors among them – in the 1940s but also the 1960s – did you ever visit?

  39. May 26, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I also blame the media because they are too cowardly to show the faces and anguish of the families that lose innocent members many children. They are the first to complain that family members are too emotional to talk about gun control right after the incident however it’s funny how the media will be the first on the ground after a natural disaster with a camera and microphone in the faces of those that have lost everything and even the lives of family members.


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