Obama pays respects to Australia's war dead at wreath-laying ceremony (VIDEO)



US President Barack Obama pauses during a moment of silence during a wreath laying ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on November 17, 2011.


Saul Loeb

Accent jokes aside...

Obama began a busy day Down Under with a visit to the Australian War Memorial, pausing for a moment's silence at the tomb of the unknown soldier. 

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, it was "a sombre moment" when Obama, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard, walked slowly along the wall inscribed with the names of 102,000 Australians who have died in war — many of same fought by Americans.

Meanwhile, the Australian Parliament in Canberra — where Obama is due to give a speech outlining US aims in the region — and Australia's role in facilitating them — is a sea of suits.

Live footage shows politicians nervously chatting and shuffling.

They're not the only nervous ones, as Australians wonder how their willingness to host upwards of 2,500 troops in Darwin in the near future will play in the region.

The president this afternoon flies to Darwin to lay a wreath at the USS Peary Memorial, and visit the RAAF base, where US Army Air Force units were established during World War II.