(CNN) - James Gordon Meek was standing over the gravestone of a friend killed in Iraq when he noticed a familiar figure walking near him.
President Obama was walking through what's called "the saddest acre in America," Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The section is the burial ground for U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Obama hugged graveside visitors, shook hands and listened to mourners while a "bone-chilling drizzle" fell, Meek says. As he watched Obama, Meek says he saw his commander in chief take on a new role: the consoler in chief.
"He absolutely seemed sincere," Meek says about Obama and his Veterans Day visit to Arlington. "What I sensed is that this was a man who is carrying the full weight of command. He gets it."
Obama must now convince the rest of America that he gets this sacrifice. As Obama announces 30,000 more troops for Afghanistan, he also is preparing to fight another battle on the home front, some say.