President Barack Obama awarded eight Purple Heart medals to U.S. service members today as he visited with wounded military personnel, the White House said.
The president met with 27 wounded soldiers, sailors, Marines and one member of NATO forces during a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, according to a White House statement.
Twenty-six were injured in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. The wounded troops weren’t identified, and the visit was closed to the news media.
The Purple Heart, the nation’s oldest military medal, is awarded in the name of the president to members of the armed forces wounded or killed in combat. The award was established by General George Washington in 1782, during the Revolutionary War.
Obama has pledged to hand over control to Afghanistan’s army and police and withdraw U.S. troops by 2014.
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