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Published:May 23rd, 2009 21:02 EST
Obama making a radio address

Obama Hails Veterans Often Overlooked This Hallowed Memorial Day

By Christopher HIllenbrand

President Barack Obama acknowledged that the American people have not always appreciated the country`s veterans or the sacrifices they made to make the United States safe from enemies around the world. So as Obama himself hailed those courageous individuals who saw combat in wars past and present on the weekend prior to Memorial Day, he hoped fellow Americans would respect servicemembers in the manner they deserve.

President Barack Obama

Obama is scheduled to attend a Memorial Day commemoration on Monday at Arlington National Cemetery.

But during his weekly radio and Internet message aired on Saturday, Obama suggested several options that people may choose in showing military men and women their gratitude, which included sending mail or a care package to soldiers serving abroad, volunteering at veterans` health care facilties or donating goods to many of the nation`s veteran homeless shelters. And if someone cannot give back in those ways, Obama mentioned that a gesture of "thank you" to a veteran passerby on the street can be just as effective.

President Barack Obama making a weekly online address

"We have a responsibility to serve all of them as well as they serve all of us. And yet, all too often in recent years and decades, we, as a nation, have failed to live up to that responsibility," President Obama asserted.

"We have failed to give them the support they need or pay them the respect they deserve. That is a betrayal of the sacred trust that America has with all who wear and all who have worn the proud uniform of our country."

In his address, Obama pressed his loyalty toward U.S. troops, both retired and active, in providing the training and equipment they need in serving overseas and the sufficient funding many veterans` hospitals and facilities financed by the Veterans Affairs Department lack. He broached on a legislation he recently signed into law that would sensibly assess and cut wasteful spending from certain projects in the Defense Department and allocate the money for more pressing issues. Obama also restated his ongoing efforts in repairing the lagging economy such as creating new jobs open to all veterans amongst those many of whom have families to support, and increasing opportunities for veterans to obtain a college education.

"That is what Memorial Day is all about," Obama affirmed. "It is about doing all we can to repay the debt we owe to those men and women who have answered our nation`s call by fighting under its flag. It is about recognizing that we, as a people, did not get here by accident or good fortune alone."