ARLINGTON, Va. – President Obama marked Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery by placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama stood in silence as taps was played outside the tomb on a sunny but chilly autumn morning. Mrs. Obama and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki joined other dignitaries watching from one side.
With the aid of an honor guard, Obama placed the floral wreath on a pedestal in front of the marble tomb, then stood hand over his heart as a bugler played taps. A bell tolled and flags fluttered.
Obama was to speak at the observance before heading to San Diego for a holiday basketball game aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. The first-ever Carrier Classic pits Michigan State against No. 1 North Carolina on board the ship docked in San Diego.
In an essay in Friday's San Diego Union-Tribune, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill wrote that "because of the incredible courage of the 9-11 generation, the tide of war is receding and America is more secure than a decade ago."
"But as our service members return, many are discovering a new battlefield as they leave the military and search for civilian employment opportunities."
They made a pitch for Obama's proposal to help unemployed veterans. The measure, which would provide special tax incentives to companies that hire veterans, passed the Senate on Thursday 95-0.
"We're taking steps to make the job search easier for veterans," the Bidens wrote. They urged the House to "act now" and join the Senate in passing the bill, once part of Obama's larger jobs proposal.