Obama addressed a group of servicemen and women Wednesday at the Armed Forces Full Honor Review farewell ceremony in Virginia to what appeared to be a fairly empty house. The seats behind him were empty.
Reportedly, there were hundreds present but there were many empty seats throughout when the cameras panned the audience.
The soon-to-be-gone president told the audience that the greatest task for the U.S. Armed Forces is maintaining the “confidence of the American people.” That’s funny coming from him.
During his speech he said, he didn’t send them into harm’s way unless he had to.
“When I took office, I noted that presidents and those of you in uniform swear a similar oath: To protect and defend this country and the Constitution that we cherish. By stepping forward and volunteering, by raising your right hand and taking that oath, each of you made a solemn pledge.
You committed yourself to a life of service and of sacrifice. And I in turn made a promise to you which to the best of my abilities I tried to uphold every single day since. That I would only send new harm’s way when it was absolutely necessary, with a strategy and well defined goals, with the equipment and support that you needed to get the job done, because that’s what you rightfully expect and that’s what you rightfully deserve.
I made that pledge at a time when less than 1 percent of Americans wear the uniform. Fewer Americans know someone who serves. And as a result, a lot of Americans don’t see the sacrifices you make on our behalf. But as commander-in-chief, I do. I’ve seen it when I look into the eyes of young cadets knowing that my decisions could very well send them into harm’s way. I’ve seen it when I visited the field in Bagram, in Baghdad, far from your families, risking your lives so that we can live ours safely and in freedom.
So you’ve inspired me, and I’ve been humbled by you consistently.”
Not everyone is inspired or those seats would have been filled.