Obama apologises to veterans of Vietnam War
US President Barack Obama has called his country's treatment decades ago of returning Vietnam War veterans a "national shame" and promised as commander-in-chief not to send US troops back into harm's way without a clear mission and strategy.
Obama did not mention rising tensions with Iran and Syria or other threats in his remarks to veterans and military families on a hot, sunny Memorial Day, focusing instead on the legacy of Vietnam and his own efforts to wind down the Iraq and Afghanistan wars started by his predecessor, George W Bush.
Many of those who survived combats in the Southeast Asian jungle faced derision when they got home in the 1960s and 1970s as a result of public opposition to the war.
About 58000 Americans died in the Vietnam War, compared to 4000 in Iraq and nearly 2000 in Afghanistan.
"You were often blamed for a war you didn't start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valour," Obama told a crowd at the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Wall in Washington DC, which lists the names of those who died in the conflict.
"You came home and sometimes were denigrated when you should have been celebrated.
"It was a national shame, a disgrace."