President Obama 2014 Year In Review

12/18/2014

YEAR IN REVIEW: Creating Economic Opportunity for All Americans in 2014

December 18, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama took office in the depths of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  Six years later, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, and the decisive actions he took early on – to bring the economy back from the brink, to save the auto industry, and to build a new foundation for middle-class growth – we’ve made real progress.

The economy grew at a combined 4.2% pace in the second and third quarters of this year, the strongest six-month period of growth in more than a decade.  American businesses have added new jobs for 57 consecutive months, the longest streak of private-sector job creation on record, for a total of 10.9 million new jobs. The pickup in the pace of job growth this year has come in industries with higher wages.  And wages across the economy are rising – a very welcome sign for millions of American families.

The U.S. economic recovery took a major step forward in 2014, achieving a number of important milestones:

The President pledged that 2014 would be a year of action and he has spent the last 12 months working with Congress where he could and taking action on his own where needed to revitalize the economy. He also worked closely with leaders from businesses, nonprofits, education, and communities to expand opportunity for more American families. These efforts have helped contribute to economic progress in a number of ways. Some critical efforts include:

Supporting Job Creation Through Manufacturing and Exports

Manufacturing job growth doubled this year – to about 15,000 jobs per month compared to 7,000 jobs per month last year. In total, since February 2010, the United States has directly added 764,000 manufacturing jobs, with the sector expanding employment at its fastest rate in nearly two decades. And the United States’ renewed competitiveness in manufacturing is bringing production back, with 54 percent of U.S.-based manufacturers surveyed by the Boston Consulting Group actively considering bringing production back from China to the United States, up from 37 percent only 18 months prior. The Administration has helped support these efforts by taking steps including:

  • Launching New Hubs as Part of a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation
  • Supporting Efforts to Foster Manufacturing Entrepreneurship and Investment in the United States
  • Growing Our Investments in Advanced Manufacturing Research
  • Another Year of Record-Breaking Exports
    • The Made in Rural America Initiative Leads to a Boost in Small Rural Manufacturing Exports and Other Companies
    • Intensifying and Broadening Our Export Promotion
    • The Advocacy Center at the Department of Commerce Enjoyed a Record-Breaking Year in Helping U.S. Firms Win Contracts Abroad to Create Jobs at Home

Taking Action to Raise the Minimum Wage

Following President Obama’s call on Congress to raise the national minimum wage to $10.10, states, cities and counties, and business leaders have taken action on their own to increase wages across the country. And on February 12, President Obama signed Executive Order 13658, requiring that workers on new Federal contracts be paid $10.10 an hour.

  • 14 States Passed Minimum Wage Increases – and 7 Million Workers Are Set to Benefit From Increases Passed Since the President’s Initial Call in 2013
  • Cities and Counties Have Also Taken Steps to Raise Wages
  • Businesses – Both Large and Small – Are Taking Action
  • President Obama’s Action will Ensure that All Employees of Federal Contractors are Paid at Least $10.10 an HourSupporting Job Skills and Employment Opportunities

Working with Congress, businesses, states and cities and non-profits, the President has taken action to make sure our job-training system is preparing and connecting Americans to the jobs that employers are looking to fill. From an across-the-board review of our job-training system to new grants that support apprenticeships and help connect the long-term unemployed to work, the President and his Administration have used every tool available to train Americans with the skills they need, and connect them with businesses that are looking for skilled workers.

  • Reforming Our Job-Training System to Make It Demand Driven
  • Passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
  • Getting Long-Term Unemployed Americans Back to Work: President Obama issued a three-part call to action – to employers, to communities across the country, and to federal agencies – to help Americans who are out of work, including the long-term unemployed, find jobs or get the skills they need so they can succeed in the labor force. Since that call to action, long-term unemployment has declined by 1.1 million and progress has been made on all three fronts, including:
    • $170 million in grants awarded in October to programs in 20 states and Puerto Rico to partnerships between non-profits, local government, and employers to train and match long-term unemployed job seekers for in-demand jobs.
    • A new set of best practices for hiring and recruiting the long-term unemployed signed by over 200 businesses – including 80 of the nation’s largest companies – to ensure that these candidates receive a fair shot during the hiring process.
    • Toolkits created by Deloitte Consulting in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation and with the input of about 100 White House Best Practice signatories to help more employers implement the best practices.
    • Finally, following up on a Presidential Memorandum issued in January, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued guidance to Federal agencies to ensure that individuals who are unemployed or have faced financial difficulties because of circumstances like job loss receive fair treatment and consideration for employment by Federal agencies.
  • $450 Million in Grants to Nearly 270 Community Colleges Partnering with More than 400 Employers Nationally
  • Investing in a Competitive Workforce Through Apprenticeships

Providing High-Quality Education to America’s Students

Ensuring that all Americans are prepared for the jobs of the future and strengthening middle-class security, starts with a strong education system.  The President has taken a number of steps over the past year to expand access to high-quality early childhood education, connect every student to high-speed Internet, and make college more affordable.

  • Committing to Affordable Higher Education
    • Expanding Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
    • The President and First Lady’s Call to Action on College Opportunity
    • Protecting Students from Unaffordable Debts at Career College Programs
  • Committing to Early Education: Throughout 2013 and 2014, the President challenged states, business leaders, and Congress to help more children gain access to the early education they need to succeed in school and in life.  On December 10, 2014, the President convened philanthropists, educators, community leaders and others to announce a collective investment of over $1 billion for early childhood education.  Federal commitments of $750 million will support early learning for over 63,000 children while corporate and philanthropic leaders’ independent commitments of $330 million will expand the reach and enhance the quality for thousands more.
  • ConnectED to the Future:  In June 2013, President Obama visited Mooresville, NC to announce the ConnectED Initiative, which aims to ensure 99% of American students will have access to next-generation broadband in the classroom by 2017, and called for private sector leaders and the FCC To help connect our students. Since that time, the FCC has taken steps to modernize the E-rate program to support high-speed connectivity for America’s schools and libraries, providing a $2 billion down payment and passing a proposal that provides recourses needed to meet the President’s ConnectED goals.  Additionally, private-sector companies have committed more than $2 billion in resources to schools to supplement federal actions and help support cutting-edge technologies across a greater number of schools and homes. On November 19, 2014, The President hosted school leaders and educators to push this effort forward and make all schools “Future Ready”.  More than 1,200 superintendents joined the Administrations Future Ready District Pledge to set a vision for digital learning across America.  Combined, this pledge will already reach 10 million students across 16,000 schools.

For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/12/18/year-review-creating-economic-opportunity-all-americans-2014

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Pres Obama Year of Action

2014 the Year of Action

In his 2014 State of the Union, the President said that 2014 would be a “year of action” to ensure opportunity for all Americans. He’s making good on that promise (despite that Congress did not help, labeling them the ‘Worst Congress ever’.

What does a “year of action” mean, exactly?
The President will continue to work with Congress wherever he can to keep our economy moving forward and creating jobs. But in the meantime, he’s also going to do everything he can on his own to fight for middle-class families every single day.

And he’s been busy. Using his pen and his phone, the President has helped create new manufacturing jobs, expand apprenticeships, and job training, make student loan payments more affordable, support equal pay and workplace flexibility, cut carbon pollution, and rally support across the country while raising the minimum wage for all workers on new federal contracts. And that’s not all.

Here’s an update on the more than 40 actions he’s taken since January to do just that.

Learn more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/year-of-action

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List of President Obama’s 2014 Executive Actions to Help Americans – ProPresObama compilation

Pres Obama US - Cuba Relations

and on 12/17/14 President Obama Charts a New Course on US – Cuba Relations

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Thank The Troops & Operation Santa

11/11/2014

Thank the Troops

Thank an American Hero

This Veterans Day, we hope you’ll take a moment to join First Lady Michelle Obama and thank an American hero. Sending that message is easy. You can send a note on JoiningForces.gov by clicking on the “Share Your Message” tab. Either way, your card will be delivered to service members and veterans throughout the holiday season. To get you started, we’ve pasted the First Lady’s card,send your own on JoiningForces.gov

 

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For a seventh year, American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes are partnering to hold the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program to ensure all Americans have an opportunity to send a touch of home this holiday season to members of our U.S. military, veterans and their families, many of whom will be far away from home this holiday season.

The process is very simple and takes no time at all – All you need is a pen and piece of paper to share your appreciation for the sacrifices members of the U.S. Armed Forces make to protect our freedoms The Holiday Mail for Heroes mail box is open and ready to receive for your cards. Please send all mail to:

Card Guidelines:
Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country.

Please observe the following guidelines to ensure a quick reviewing process:

* All cards being sent in for 2013 Holiday Mail For Heroes program should be postmarked no later than Friday, December 5, 2014.

* Ensure that all cards are signed.

* Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals can not be delivered through this program.

* Only cards are being accepted. Do not send or include letters.

* Do not include email or home addresses on the cards, as the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.

* Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos, as these items will be removed during the reviewing process.

* Participants are encouraged to mail as many cards as they are comfortable sending. If you are mailing a large quantity, please bundle the cards and place them in large mailing envelopes or use a flat rate box from the post office. Each card does not need its own envelope, as cards will be removed from all envelopes before distribution.

* Please refrain from sending holiday cards with glitter. Many of these cards will be delivered to military and veterans medical facilities and the glitter could interfere with a patient’s recovery.

* If you are mailing a large quantity of cards, please bundle them and place them in large mailing envelopes or flat rate postal shipping boxes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.

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Holiday Mail For Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

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As close as we can tell, the Postal Service began receiving letters to Santa Claus more than 100 years ago. However, it was in 1912 that Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local postmasters to allow postal employees and citizens to respond to the letters in the program that became known as Operation Santa.

In 1940, mail volume for Santa increased so much the Postal Service invited charitable organizations and corporations to participate to provide written responses to the letters and small gifts to the children who wrote them.

Over the past 69 years, the program has taken on a life of its own. Postal facilities in cities around the country today allow charitable organizations, major corporations, local businesses and individuals to adopt letters to Santa to make children’s holiday dreams come true from coast to coast.

Individuals and organizations interested in adopting a letter should go to a participating office and complete a participation form.

Operation Santa Claus Post Office Locations

Operation Santa Letter – Indivdual Participation Form

Operation Santa Letter – Organization Participant Form

North Pole Postmark

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Veterans Day 2014

11/10/2014

Veterans Day 2014

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.”

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.

For the entire article: http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp

.Veterans Day 11.11.13

The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery . The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.

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United States Department of Veterans Affairs http://www.va.gov/

 Women Veterans Hotline1-855-VA-WOMEN (829-6636)

History of Veterans Day 

National Resource Directory  – https://www.nationalresourcedirectory.gov

National Resource Directory app – http://apps.usa.gov/national-resource-directory.shtml

Presidential Proclamation — Veterans Day, 2014


A. H. Cushing – Medal of Honor Recipient & Salute to the Troops

11/04/2014

A.H. Cushing

On November 6, 2014, President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to Army First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing for conspicuous gallantry.

First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions while serving as commanding officer of Battery A, 4th United States Artillery, Artillery Brigade, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac during combat operations in the vicinity of Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 3, 1863.

During Longstreet’s Assault, also known as Pickett’s Charge, First Lieutenant Cushing’s battery took a severe pounding by Confederate artillery.  As the Confederate Forces advanced, he manned the only remaining, and serviceable, field piece in his battery.  During the advance, he was wounded in the abdomen as well as in the right shoulder.  Refusing to evacuate to the rear despite his severe wounds, he directed the operation of his lone field piece continuing to fire.  With the Confederate Forces within 100 yards of his position, Cushing was shot and killed during this heroic stand.  His actions made it possible for the Union Army to successfully repulse the assault.

First Lieutenant Cushing’s cousins, Frederic Stevens Sater and Frederic Cushing Stevens III, and families will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service and sacrifice.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/27/president-obama-award-medal-honor

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November 6, 2014
President Barack Obama awards
Army First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing
the Medal of Honor posthumously for conspicuous gallantry

Salute silhouette

Salute To The Troop @ WH Performance

As part of the showing appreciation for our military and their families President Obama, First Lady Michelle and the Joining Forces initiative will be holding events in honor of our members of the U.S. military, military veterans, and their families.

For more information: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/23/upcoming-guidance-salute-troops-performance-white-house

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

As part of the “In Performance at the White House” series and the Joining Forces initiative, the President and First Lady will invite music legends, members of the U.S. military, military veterans, and their families to the White House on Thursday, November 6 for a celebration of the men and women who serve the United States.

The program on the South Lawn will have a live audience that will include hundreds of military service members, veterans, and their families. The event will feature performances by Mary J. Blige, Common, John Fogerty, Willie Nelson, Romeo Santos, as well as active duty military members Army SGT. Christiana R. Ball, Marine Corps Capt. Matt Smith and Capt. John Ed Auer, with Don Was as music director. The rock band Daughtry will also perform via satellite from a USO concert at Yokota Air Base in Japan. The President’s remarks will be pooled press and the entire event will be streamed live at WhiteHouse.gov/live starting at 7:25 PM ET. “A Salute to the Troops: In Performance at the White House” will be broadcast Friday, November 7 at 9:00 PM ET on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings), as part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/10/23/upcoming-guidance-salute-troops-performance-white-house

Joining Forces is a national initiative to engage all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned. Since the first days of the Administration, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have met with military families, learned about their successes and challenges, and made it their priority to support them.

Joining Forces creates opportunities for all Americans to step up and show their gratitude to our service members and their families. Through this effort, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden are asking Americans to do more for those who have done so much for us. They are asking Americans to get involved in any way they can.

To learn more visit: JoiningForces.gov

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Joining Forces
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Joining-Forces/217042158310061
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/joiningforces


George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring

10/21/2014
Culper Spy Ring map route

Culper Spy Ring map route

The Culper Ring was a spy ring organized by American Major (later Colonel) Benjamin Tallmadge under orders from General George Washington in the summer of 1778 during British occupation of New York City at the height of the American Revolutionary War. The “Culper” name was suggested by Washington who devised it from Culpeper County, Virginia. The two main members of the Ring, Abraham Woodhull and Robert Townsend, used “Samuel Culper, Sr.” and “Samuel Culper, Jr.” respectively, as aliases. Tallmadge was in direct contact with and control of the Ring but Washington often directed its operations. Tallmadge was referred to by the alias of “John Bolton.”

The Ring’s task was to send messages to General Washington about the activities of the British Army in New York City, the British headquarters and base of operations. The members of the Ring operated mostly in New York City, Long Island, and Connecticut. The Ring’s covert operations started in about late October 1778 and continued through the British evacuation of New York in 1783, but its heyday was between 1778 and 1781.

The Culper Ring provided valuable information to General Washington including that the British planned a surprise attack on the newly allied French forces under Lieutenant General Rochambeau at Newport, Rhode Island before the French could fully recover and set up defenses after their arduous sea journey to America; that the British planned to counterfeit American currency on the actual paper used for the Continental dollars, prompting the Continental Congressto retire the bills; that British Major General William Tryon’s raid in Connecticut in July 1779 was a diversion to induce Washington to divide his forces so British Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton could attack them piecemeal; and that a high ranking American officer, soon shown to be American Major General Benedict Arnold, had been plotting with British Major John Andre to surrender the garrison and to turn over the vitally important American fort at West Point, New York on the Hudson River to the British.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culper_Ring

A page from the Culper Ring's code book, with noteworthy people and place names listed side-by-side with numeric representations
A page from the Culper Ring’s code book, with noteworthy people and place names listed side-by-side with numeric representations

George Washington – Profile

George Washington Papers

George Washington, Goodfellow, Women’s History and Agent “355”

The Founding Fathers of American Intelligence

Spies of the Revolution

Manuscripts of Benjamin Tallmadge

Caleb Brewster – Revolutionary War Hero

Break the Code

“TURN” THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICA’S FIRST SPY RING

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American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial Dedication

10/04/2014

ADVLM_final_plan

In 1995, Lois Pope, widow of National Enquirer owner Generoso Pope Jr.,  met a disabled American veteran at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and realized there was no memorial in the city which honored disabled veterans. Although she did not know him, Pope called the office of United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jesse Brown to plead for a memorial. Pope called every day for the next six months, until finally Brown’s secretary put her call through. Brown agreed to support legislation establishing a memorial…

President Bill Clinton (D) signed it into law (Public Law 106-348) on October 24, 2000.

For the entire article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Veterans_Disabled_for_Life_Memorial

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American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial

The focal point of the Memorial is a star-shaped fountain, its surface broken only by a single ceremonial flame. A grove of trees stands sentry beside the reflecting pool, signifying the persistence of hope.

Dedicated to both the living and the deceased—a setting for coming together or quiet meditation—the Memorial holds a special place in the hearts of all Americans, and serves as a never-ending reminder to all of the cost of human conflict.

The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial is pleased to announce our distinguished guests for the Dedication Ceremony on October, 5, 2014

Confirmed speakers for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial Dedication

The Honorable Barack H. Obama, President of the United States
The Honorable Robert A. McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs
The Honorable Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior
National Spokesperson Gary Sinise
Disabled veterans from past and current conflicts
Board Members of the Disabled Veterans’ Life Memorial Foundation, the organization that’s been instrumental to bringing AVDLM to life.

For more: http://www.avdlm.org/dedication

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Disabled American Veterans

DAV is the most long-lasting veterans advocacy and assistance group in this country. They’ve watched this country change and grow, and we’ve grown along with it. However, DAV has never wavered in its core mission to fulfill our country’s promises to the men and women who served. They invite everyone, veterans and civilian, men and women, young and old, to join them as they stand up for those veterans who risked it all when they stood up for us, our country, and our ideals.

Motto: “Fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served”

Formation: September 25, 1920

For more: http://www.dav.org

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American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial Dedication Ceremony
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Washington, D.C.

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National POW/MIA Recognition Day

09/17/2014

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Defense Prisoner of War * Missing Personnel Office

“Keeping the Promise”, “Fulfill their Trust” and “No one left behind” are several of many mottos that refer to the efforts of the Department of Defense to recover those who became missing while serving our nation.

More than 83,000 Americans are missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War. Hundreds of Defense Department men and women — both military and civilian — work in organizations around the world as part of DoD’s personnel recovery and personnel accounting communities. They are all dedicated to the single mission of finding and bringing our missing personnel home. The mission requires expertise in archival research, intelligence collection and analysis, field investigations and recoveries, and scientific analysis.

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World War II 

Of the 16 million Americans who served in WWII, more than 400,000 died during the war. At the end of the war, there were approximately 79,000 Americans unaccounted for. This number included those buried with honor as unknowns, officially buried at sea, lost at sea, and missing in action.

Today, more than 73,000 Americans remain unaccounted for from WWII.

Korean War

The Korean War accounting effort remains a priority for the U.S. government. DPMO pursues opportunities to gain access to loss sites within North Korea and South Korea. Additionally, identifications continue to be made from remains that were returned to the United States using forensic and DNA technology.

More than 7,500 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.

Vietnam War

Since 1973, the remains of more than 900 Americans killed in the Vietnam War have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

For more than a decade the United States has conducted joint field activities with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover the remains of missing Americans. Throughout those countries, teams continue to investigate crash and burial sites, as well as interview locals to gain additional knowledge. The United States also continues to obtain access to historical wartime records and archives that provide information relevant to the fates of missing Americans.

Today, more than 1,600 Americans remain unaccounted for from the conflict.

For more: http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/

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President Obama: “We Do Not Leave Anybody Wearing the American Uniform Behind”

We do not leave anybody wearing the American uniform behind.

We had a prisoner of war whose health had deteriorated and we were deeply concerned about, and we saw an opportunity and we seized it. And I make no apologies for that.

We had discussed with Congress the possibility that something like this might occur. But because of the nature of the folks that we were dealing with and the fragile nature of these negotiations, we felt it was important to go ahead and do what we did. And we’re now explaining to Congress the details of how we moved forward. But this basic principle that we don’t leave anybody behind and this basic recognition that that often means prisoner exchanges with enemies is not unique to my administration — it dates back to the beginning of our Republic.

And with respect to how we announced it, I think it was important for people to understand that this is not some abstraction, this is not a political football. You have a couple of parents whose kid volunteered to fight in a distant land, who they hadn’t seen in five years and weren’t sure whether they’d ever see again. And as Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces, I am responsible for those kids. And I get letters from parents who say, if you are in fact sending my child into war, make sure that that child is being taken care of. And I write too many letters to folks who unfortunately don’t see their children again after fighting the war.

I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get back a young man to his parents and that the American people understand that this is somebody’s child and that we don’t condition whether or not we make the effort to try to get them back.”

6/5/14 President Barack Obama

September 18, 2014 Presidential Proclamation — National POW/MIA Recognition Day, 2014

National POW/MIA Recognition Day
Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

This annual event honors prisoners of war and our missing
and their families,

and highlights the government’s commitment to account for them.

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