WASHINGTON, May 31, 2010 — President Barack Obama visited gravestones at the Lincoln Cemetery near Chicago today, but when torrential rains cancelled his prepared Memorial Day remarks, paid a stop at a newly opened Fisher House.
The president laid a wreath and bowed his head in silence at the historic cemetery, and had just stepped to the podium to deliver his speech as driving rain turned to lightning and officials called off the event.
The president had planned to present a speech calling veterans and servicemembers “living memorials” to their fallen comrades, and pledging that a grateful nation will provide them and their families the support they deserve, according to a transcript of the speech provided to reporters in advance.
He had planned to pay special tribute to those killed in the current wars, including 17 buried at the historic cemetery near Chicago. Their legacy, he had planned to say, lives on through their loved ones, their comrades and a nation that enjoys the freedoms for which they sacrificed.
Obama traveled from the cemetery to the newly dedicated Fisher House in Hines, Ill., where he met with servicemembers and veterans receiving medical care at the Edward Hines, Jr. Veterans Affairs Hospital, as well as their families.
The Hines Fisher House is the first in Illinois and was officially dedicated May 28. It was donated to the VA by the Fisher House Foundation as a home away from home for families of veterans and military members receiving treatment at the VA hospital.
Obama donated $250,000 of the Nobel Peace Prize award he received in March to the Fisher House Foundation.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)