Obama Honors Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan

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President Obama traveled to Dover Air Force Base after midnights to honor the Americans killed in Afghanistan earlier this week. Obama joined the soldiers' families for the repatriation ceremony.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel in Washington.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

And I'm Melissa Block in California.

President Obama borrowed a line from Abraham Lincoln earlier this week when he spoke of soldiers who gave their last full measure of devotion fighting in Afghanistan. Now, he said it's our duty to keep their memory alive.

Before dawn this morning, the president spent several hours on a windswept tarmac in Dover, Delaware, honoring 18 American war dead, as they were flown home from Afghanistan. The visit comes as Mr. Obama is weighing a decision on whether to send more troops into harm's way.

NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY: The president arrived in Dover shortly after midnight and met privately with the families of the fallen. Later, he stood at attention beside an Air Force cargo plane, as 18 flag-draped cases were gently carried off by uniformed soldiers.

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HORSLEY: Most of the transfers were made out of sight of TV news cameras, but one soldier's family allowed the media to bear witness. As the remains of Army Sergeant Dale Griffin of Terre Haute, Indiana, were carried past the president, Griffin became a symbol of all those who sacrificed during this deadliest month of the Afghan War.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said later, Mr. Obama was quiet on the helicopter ride back to the White House. He'll be meeting with his military advisers to discuss Afghanistan tomorrow.

Scott Horsley, NPR News, Washington.

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