Obama Returning From Surprise Visit To Afghanistan - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Obama Returning From Surprise Visit To Afghanistan

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ARLINGTON, Va. – This is a day where we're reminded of the sacrifices that U.S. veterans have made and this year, particularly, of the challenges that so many of them still face.

President Barack Obama is returning Monday to the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, a solemn Memorial Day observance each year of his presidency.

But this year, the scrutiny from veterans will be different.

"Our obligations to you and your families have only just begun," Obama told the troops in Afghanistan.

The White House pulled off a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Sunday that was in the works for weeks, they say, and had nothing to do with the Department of Veterans Affairs waiting list scandal.

It comes as veterans groups are increasingly critical of the president and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

"You know, it's a Washington bureaucracy, and I think it's much easier to talk than to take actual action. And I also think there's a little bit of cynicism in the hopes that this story, that the public attention on this is going to go away soon," said Derek Bennett, of Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America.

One thing the VA has done is commit to allowing some veterans to seek outside care, an approach one former VA doctor and whistleblower says makes sense.

"Absolutely a good idea and, really, what other solution is there?" asked Dr. Margaret Moxness.

And for the president, much of this comes into clear focus Monday as the nation's capital turns its attention to the fallen and to living veterans, many of whom will make their presence known.

"We're going to stay strong by taking care of our wounded warriors and our veterans," Obama said on his trip. "Because helping our wounded warriors and veterans heal isn't just a promise, it's a sacred obligation."

Meeting that obligation has been the hard part with the VA. Later this week, we're expecting the results of an internal audit that the VA has done to give us some idea of what has been taking place with these secret waiting lists, FOX's Doug Luzader reported from Arlington, Va.

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