LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (CNN) – At a Memorial Day event in front of a veteran-dominated crowd, Democrat Barack Obama paid tribute to the fallen soldiers but conceded he may never have complete personal insight into the rigors of war.
"I speak to you today with deep humility," Obama said in opening remarks. "My grandfather marched in Patton's Army, but I cannot know what it is to walk into battle like so many of you. My grandmother worked on a bomber assembly line, but I cannot know personally what it is for a family to sacrifice like so many of yours have."
Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain said last week he did not think he needed to accept criticism of his handling of veterans affairs from Obama, who did "not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform."
Obama did not mention McCain, a Vietnam prisoner of war, during his Memorial Day town hall. But he heaped praise on veterans in general, both the fallen and those who've survived.
"I just want to reiterate that the reason we're here is obviously to honor our fallen soldiers. One of the best ways that we can honor our fallen soldiers is to honor those who came back, who survived."