Fwd: Travel pool #6

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Lee, Carol" >
Date: May 23, 2016 at 2:31:43 PM GMT+7
To: "Desiree N. Barnes" >
Subject: Travel pool #6

Pool moved to site of the state luncheon immediately after the press conference, at 1:50pm.

We entered the room where the luncheon is being held at 1:59pm. The round tables and chairs were draped with cream-colored linens. There were yellow, green and white flower arrangements in the center of the tables, candles and gold trimmed place settings. Also red wine.

POTUS and President Quang were seated next to each other at a long rectangular table in the front of the room their backs were to us. Susan Rice, Secretary Kerry and Mike Froman were also seated there.

The American national anthem played.

Mr. Quang spoke first from a podium in front of the rectangular table it faced the rest of the room. It was elaborately decorated with sunflowers and a whole lot of other flowers. Behind the podium were 9 very large flower arrangements of red and yellow roses, as well as American and Vietnamese flags.

Mr. Quang said POTUS's visit marks "another crucial milestone in our bilateral relationship," while noting "differences remain" in the relationship. He said he's grateful for America's effort to put behind them the Vietnam War.

He toasted to POTUS's good health, US-Vietnam relations.

POTUS appeared to have rose in his wine glass for the toasts.

Mr. Obama spoke next. He thanked American and Vietnamese veterans of the Vietnam War, including Secretary Kerry. He also thanked them for helping the two countries reconcile. He said they had the courage to fight but "more importantly to make peace."

"Today Vietnam and America show the world that hearts can change and peace is possible," Mr. Obama said.

He toasted to the perseverance and hopes of the Vietnamese people, and the strength and endurance of the partnership between the US and Vietnam.

Then he clinked glasses with those at the head table.

Pool was ushered out and is holding.

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