Obama, Bush honor bombing victims

President Obama and former President George W. Bush in Tanzania on Tuesday honored victims of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings.

The presidents bowed their heads in a moment of silence to pay tribute to those died in the al Qaeda attacks on the embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, as a Marine laid a red, white and blue wreath in front of the memorial, according to a White House pool report.


The memorial, a block of stone, is inscribed with a quote from former President Clinton, reading: "We must honor the memory of those we mourn by pressing the cause of freedom and justice for which they lived. It is the burden of our history and the bright hope of the world's future."

The ceremony took place in front of the new U.S. Embassy in Tanzania, which was built in 2003, according to reports.

Obama and Bush were joined by family members of victims and survivors.  The two made no public remarks, but spoke to the families and embassy workers after the tribute. 

Reports said the two presidents spoke briefly before the ceremony.

The memorial came during Obama’s week-long trip to Africa, which included stops in South Africa and Senegal. 

President Bush and former first lady Laura Bush are in Africa separately to mark the opening of a women’s health clinic and to promote Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, an anti-cancer effort. Mrs. Bush will also host the African First Ladies Summit, which first lady Michelle Obama is slated to attend.

The two presidents were not initially scheduled to meet, but the White House announced on Monday they would attend the wreath laying ceremony.

On Monday, Obama praised his predecessor’s efforts to help Africa combat AIDS and defended his own record on the continent. 

Obama said during a press conference that “because of the commitment of the Bush administration and the American people, millions of people's lives have been saved.”

He added that he was hoped to “thank” Bush “for showing how American generosity and foresight could end up making a real difference in people's lives.”