President Obama spoke to members of the military as they were sworn in as U.S. citizens at a White House ceremony earlier today. The active duty military personnel are from 17 different countries and include seven recipients of the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
First Lady Michelle Obama will be in Chicago at the Illinois National Guard Amory tomorrow to witness Illinois Governor Pat Quinn sign into law the Military Family Licensing Act which allows spouses of military personnel to have more portability and flexibility to transfer their professional licenses. Mrs. Obama, as part of her Joining Forces initiative to support military families, has advocated for this. Illinois will be the 23rd state to adopt the legislation with similar legislation pending in seven more states
On this Memorial Day, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will meet with Gold Star families (families who have lost service members in war) at Arlington Cemetery and later with veterans and their families at the Vietnam Memorial.
Many of us know from our school history lessons about the military leadership that more or less assured the election of some men as presidents, such as George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower. But, on this Memorial Day, I want to touch on some of the wartime battles and heroic actions of some men who became president whose stories may be less well known. RUTHERFORD HAYES, 19th U. S. President: He fought for the Union Army in the Civil War, was wounded several times and had his horse shot out from under him. THEODORE ROOSEVELT, 26th U.S. President: He fought in the Spanish-American War and led a vastly outnumbered cavalry regiment on a charge up a hill where he had to kill the enemy with his own hand in order to survive. JOHN F. KENNEDY, 35th U.S.President: He was a Naval officer during World War II and commanded a PT-boat. It was rammed by a Japanese destroyer and Kennedy swam for 4 hours towing a crew member by a life jacket strap clenched between his teeth. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps medal and received a Purple Heart. His exploits were chronicled in a book by Robert J. Donovan PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II. LYNDON JOHNSON, 36th U.S.President: Johnson was a lieutenant commander in the Navy during World War II and survived an attack on his plane by the Japanese while on a mission over New Guinea. He was awarded the Silver Star for his gallantry. GEORGE H.W.BUSH 41st U.S.President: Bush was a Naval aviator in World War II and during a bombing mission his plan was struck by antiaircraft fire and he and his crew were forced to bail out. Two crew members were killed and Bush hit his head and was stung by a Portuguese man-of-war but still managed to hand paddle the life raft for 3 hours before being rescued. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
At the White House today President Obama will award the Medal of Honor posthumously to Army Specialist Leslie H. Sabo, Jr. for his heroic action in combat. The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States Government. Specialist Sabo's widow, Rose Mary Sabo-Brown, and his brother, George Sabo, will be present at the ceremony. The criteria for the Medal of Honor is as follows: The Medal of Honor is awarded by the President, in the name of Congress, to a person who, while a member of the Armed Forces, distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life. Incontestable proof of the performance of the service will be exacted and each recommendation for the award of this decoration will be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.
Warrior games? Yes, warrior games but these games are not the online variety. These warrior games are a competition, sponsored by the U.S. Olympic Committee for wounded, ill and injured military members and veterans. The First Lady will speak at the opening ceremony taking place in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Retired Army 1st Lt. Melissa Stockwell, the first American female soldier wounded in combat in Iraq, and Captain Simon Maxwell of the British Royal Marines are the honorary torchbearers for the event.
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans announced this week that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have been selected to receive the 2012 Jerald Washington Memorial Founders Award for their commitment and support to prevent and end homelessness for the nation's veterans. This is the second time President Obama has received the award. In 2009 he became the recipient of the award because he was the first president in U.S. history to make ending veteran homelessness a priority of his administration. Today, the President and First Lady travel to Georgia to meet with troops, veterans and family members at Fort Stewart.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden will observe the one-year anniversary of their Joining Forces initiative to support military families with a 2-day tour and major events later this week in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Shreveport, Louisiana and Jacksonville, Florida. They sat down with a reporter recently to talk about the success of Joining Forces, noting that the initiative has helped to find 50,000 jobs for military personnel. Here is the video of their interview.