President Barack Obama paid tribute at a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery Sunday to “the heroes over the generations who have served this country of ours with distinction.”
Speaking at the Memorial Amphitheater, the president said that “no ceremony or parade, no hug or handshake is enough to truly honor” their service, but that we must commit to serving them as they’ve served us.
He said the wreath he laid earlier at Tomb of the Unknowns was intended to remember every service member who has worn a uniform for our nation.
Here is raw video from the ceremony, via the Associated Press:
“You’ve toppled a dictator and battled an insurgency in Iraq. You pushed back the Taliban and decimated al-Qaida in Afghanistan,” Obama told the vets. “You delivered justice to Osama bin Laden.”
The remarks came after Obama praised the 9/11 generation’s contribution to the United States. Stepping forward after the Twin Towers fell, he said they have “stepped into history, writing one of the greatest chapters in military service our country has ever known.”
Obama also spoke of how his domestic policy relates to veterans, reminding that three years ago he promised they would be welcomed home to a country that fights for them as they have fought for us.
“So long as I have the honor of serving as your commander-in-chief,” he added, “that is the promise that we will never stop working to keep.”
Saying that “no one who fights for this country overseas should ever have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head,” President Obama proceeded to attack inefficient government bureaucracy.
“No veteran should have to wait months, or years, for the benefits that you’ve earned, so we will continue to attack the claims backlog, we won’t let up,” he said strongly.
When his statement was greeted with a hesitant applause, Obama repeated, “We will not let up.”
After discussing new benefits for veterans, Obama said: “That’s what we do in America. We take care of our own. We take care of our veterans. We take care of your families, not just by saluting you on one day once a year, but by fighting for you and your families every day, every year.”
President Obama concluded his solemn speech:
“We carry on knowing that our best days always lie ahead. On this day we thank all of our veterans from all of our wars, not just for your service to this country, but for reminding us why America is, and always will be, the greatest nation on Earth. God bless you, God bless our veterans, God bless our men and women in uniform, and God bless these United States of America. Thank you very much.”
Here is video, via the White House:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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