Obama to Make First Trip to Walter Reed as President

(AP)
Updated Nov. 11, 2009 with a photo of the presidential coin.

This trip was planned long before the Ft. Hood shootings. It's President Obama's first official visit to injured troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as commander-in-chief. But it's far from his first meeting with injured troops.

And he actually first visited Walter Reed as president-elect the day before his inauguration last January. And he visited troops at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda last June, spending more than an hour there, and presenting Purple Hearts to two of the injured.

He's also met with many wounded warriors and their families, as well as families of the fallen, here at the White House. He also became the first president in years to visit Dover last week to see eighteen of the American fallen arrive back home from Afghanistan.

He told reporters that visit was "a sobering reminder of the extraordinary sacrifice," by troops and their families, in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially with the rising toll in Afghanistan, where more than two hundred troops have been killed, and more than a thousand injured in just the last three months.

But don't expect to see a picture of any of these wounded warrior meetings released by the White House. His aides say he considers these visits sacred--indeed, one of the most important parts of his role as commander-in-Chief -- and private.

One recovering soldier I spoke to from Walter Reed showed off the commander-in-chief coin the president had given him -- such command coins are a tradition in the military. The soldier said meeting Mr. Obama, "an African American like me," as he put it, was his proudest moment in service.

But like the president, and the others he speaks to, the soldier kept the content of their conversation strictly off the record.

Below you can see a picture of the front and back of Mr. Obama's presidential coin:

(White House Photo)






(CBS)
Kimberly Dozier is a CBS News correspondent based in Washington. You can read more of her posts in Hotsheet here.

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