Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Tuesday, January 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Rain 38° Rain
News >  Nation/World

Obama urges nation to ‘forge unity’ after bitter election

President Barack Obama and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald bow their heads during opening prayers before the president spoke in the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, during a Veterans Day ceremony. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)
President Barack Obama and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald bow their heads during opening prayers before the president spoke in the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, during a Veterans Day ceremony. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)
By Darlene Superville Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Va. – Three days after Election Day, President Barack Obama used his last Veterans Day speech to urge Americans to learn from the example of veterans as a divided nation seeks to “forge unity” after the bitter 2016 campaign.

Obama, in remarks at Arlington National Cemetery, noted that Veterans Day often comes on the heels of hard-fought campaigns that “lay bare disagreements across our nation.”

“But the American instinct has never been to find isolation in opposite corners,” Obama said. “It is to find strength in our common creed, to forge unity from our great diversity, to maintain that strength and unity even when it is hard.”

He added that now that the election is over, “as we search for ways to come together, to reconnect with one another and with the principles that are more enduring than transitory politics, some of our best examples are the men and women we salute on Veterans Day.”

Tuesday’s election of Republican Donald Trump led to protests across the country.

Obama noted that the U.S. military is the country’s most diverse institution, comprising immigrants and native-born service members representing all religions and no religion. He said they are all “forged into common service.”

Obama, with just two months left in his term, also took note of how he’s aged in office over the past eight years.

He read excerpts from an essay by a middle-schooler who wrote that veterans are special because they will defend people regardless of their race, gender, hair color or other differences.

“After eight years in office, I particularly appreciate that he included hair color,” Obama quipped.

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com