Obama at Fort Hood
Some, including Marc Ambinder and Taegan Goddard, are calling it Obama's best speech ever. I wouldn't go that far, but it's definitely up there with his best -- and it may very well be his best as president.
Coming just a day before Remembrance Day, when we look back on the sacrifices and bloodshed of generations past, it shows not just that Obama is a great speaker, which we already knew, but that he is a great leader. Among other things, after all, this is what the president does, what is required of any president, namely, bring the country together in times of difficulty, including in times of grief. There is an expression of patriotism here that is distinctly American, and that translates less well beyond America's borders, where we tend not to think of America as unqualifiedly noble and just and exceptional, but there is no denying the power of Obama's words. At a time when Americans are seeking answers to questions that are not easily answered, and to which there may not be clear answers, he found an answer in America itself, in its hopes and promises, by paying tribute to the fallen and placing their deaths in the larger struggle for freedom that defines America at its finest:
Long after they are laid to rest -- when the fighting has finished, and our nation has endured; when today's servicemen and women are veterans, and their children have grown -- it will be said that this generation believed under the most trying of tests; believed in perseverance -- not just when it was easy, but when it was hard; that they paid the price and bore the burden to secure this nation, and stood up for the values that live in the hearts of all free peoples.
There can be beauty even in a time of great sadness.
The transcript of Obama's speech is here. And here it is: