MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
President Barack Obama visited Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, May 27, 2016, after the Ise-Shima Group of Seven Summit meeting.
Obama spoke with troops and their families while on the air station and thanked them for their role in the Pacific region.
“I have to tell you, during my visit to Japan, we are reaffirming one of the greatest alliances in the world between the United States and Japan,” said Obama. “I wanted to come by and just say thank you. Thank you to all the men and women in uniform, thank you to your families, because you guys are the backbone of our alliance. Thank you everybody.”
Service members on the air station said that they enjoyed the president visiting and appreciated the recognition of their hard work on the air station.
“The fact that he’s willing to talk about something that I feel has been avoided is important in getting past those dark days,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Strenpek, an intelligence specialist at MCAS Iwakuni. “It shows that our president is willing to take steps to make our relationship with Japan stronger and further unify our two countries.”
After departing MCAS Iwakuni, Obama traveled to Hiroshima to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Obama is the highest ranking U.S. government official to do so in history.
“Why do we come to this place, to Hiroshima?” asked Obama. “We come to ponder the terrible forces unleashed in the not so distant past. We come to mourn the dead ... their souls speak to us and ask us to look inward. To take stock of whom we are and what we might become. The world was forever changed here, but today the children of this city will go through their day in peace. What a precious thing that is. It is worth protecting, and then extending to every child. That is a future we can choose, a future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.”