Snap Fact #205
President Obama Honored Fallen Soldiers and Veterans on Memorial Day! 
The history of Memorial Day goes back in history at least to post Civil War days. When the tradition was first begun it was done as a reconciliation measure that honored fallen warriors on both sides of the Mason/Dixon Line. Originally called Decoration Day, and symbolized by the wearing of a red poppy flower, the tradition grew in scope and popularity as time passed m punctuated by the wars and conflicts the U.S. has been engaged in through the ages. 

In 1921 an unidentified corpse from WW I was interred in Arlington Cemetery with President Harding officiating. Again in 1958, under the direction of President Eisenhower, the Unknown Soldier from WW II joined his comrade along with another hero from the Korean conflict. Finally, in 1984 President Reagan presided over the latest interment of a fighter from Viet Nam. 

It has become somewhat of a tradition for American Presidents to lay a wreath at the Arlington tomb site on Memorial Day. Many President have delegated the job to their vice president including Reagan, both Bushes, and Obama in 2010 when they officiated at other sites or were otherwise indisposed. However presidents attend to this sacred duty more often than not. 
In this time honored tradition President Obama spent his Memorial Day morning, May 28, 2012 honoring the fallen soldiers who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. But the President also took the opportunity to again express his unwavering commitment to ensuring those returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan that America will support them for what they have done for our country. 

In addition, the President spoke not only pay tribute to, and promise his support to, American soldiers, but he also used this platform to mark the end of the war in Iraq and the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan. 

“We can meet our obligations to those who did come home," Obama said. "As long as I'm president, we will make sure you and your loved ones receive the benefits you've earned and the respect you deserve. America will be there for you." 

In 2011, 12.1 percent of US Armed Force veterans were unemployed, so President Obama promised on this Memorial Day to continue to fight for the benefits and opportunities they so richly deserve.