WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama Tuesday held up the flag of the Navy SEAL team which carried out the mission to eliminate Osama bin Laden as a symbol of the need for America to unite in face of challenges.
Calling the flag “one of my proudest possessions,” Obama told US lawmakers in his annual State of the Union address that it bears the names of all the men who carried out the daring raid commando raid deep inside Pakistan on May 2.
“Some may be Democrats. Some may be Republicans. But that doesn’t matter. Just like it didn’t matter that day in the Situation room,” said Obama, whose agenda has been stymied by battles with Republican congressional foes.
“All that mattered that day was the mission. No-one thought about politics,” he said, pointing out how he watched the raid unfold alongside then defense secretary Robert Gates, who served under former president George W Bush, as well as his former rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The SEAL team slipped into Pakistan by helicopter and landed in Bin Laden’s walled compound in Abbottabad, storming the house and killing the al Qaeda leader blamed for ordering the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
“Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those fifty stars and those thirteen stripes. No-one built this country on their own,” Obama said.
“This nation is great because we built it together. This nation is great because we worked as a team. This nation is great because we get each others’ backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great, no mission too hard.”
The annual address this year effectively launches Obama’s campaign for re-election in the November polls, as he sought to tout his credentials as the nation’s commander-in-chief.