ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. (CBS/AP) -President Obama on Friday honored the four Americans killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, recalling their lives in deeply personal terms and declaring the United States will never pull back on its principles or "retreat from the world."
"Their sacrifice will never be forgotten," Mr. Obama said as four flag-draped cases rested near him. He had come to witness the return of those slain in the assault on the American diplomatic mission, including the U.S. ambassador, Christopher Stevens.
In the heat of a presidential election year, the scene was a gripping reminder of the danger facing Americans in diplomatic and military service every day, and of the turmoil in an incendiary region of the world that continues to test Mr. Obama's leadership.
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President Obama and Secretary Clinton spoke a solemn ceremony, as the remains of the four Americans killed in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya returned home.
Always in the background, campaign politics gave way to a sense of sheer loss. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's voice broke as she spoke before the president.
"Today we honor four Americans who gave their lives for our country and our values," Clinton said.
CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan reports Clinton's attendance was a very personal mission for the secretary because she's said she sent Stevens to Libya and knew it was a risky assignment. Clinton appeared to be fighting tears as she listened to the president.
"They knew the danger, and they accepted it," Mr. Obama said. "They didn't simply embrace the American ideal. They lived it."
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In addition to Stevens, the ceremony also honored three other Americans killed in Benghazi - Sean Smith, an Air Force veteran who worked as an information management specialist for the State Department; Glen A. Doherty, a former Navy SEAL who worked for a private security firm and was protecting the consulate in Benghazi; and Tyrone S. Woods, also a former Navy SEAL who had served protective duty in various U.S. posts.
Said Mr. Obama of all four men: "They embodied it: the courage, the hope and yes the idealism, that fundamental belief that we can leave this world a little bit better than before. That's who they were, and that's who we are. If we want to truly honor their memory, that's who we must always be."