Obama Urges Nation to Salute Service in Iraq
(September 1, 2010)
|WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2010 – President Barack Obama called on the American people
today to provide new care, opportunity and commitment to the million military
men and women who've served in Iraq.|
After more than seven years, the United States "will end its combat mission in
Iraq and take an important step forward in responsibly ending the Iraq war," he
said during his weekly radio address.
That responsibility, he stressed, includes caring for the men and women in
uniform who volunteered to fight.
"What this new generation of veterans must know is this: our nation's commitment
to all who wear its uniform is a sacred trust that is as old as our republic
itself," he said. "It is one that, as president, I consider a moral obligation
He called upon the the nation to pay tribute to all who have served in Iraq and
Afghanistan, noting the two wars are America's longest continuous combat
"For the better part of a decade," he said, "our troops and their families have
served tour after tour with honor and heroism, risking and often giving their
lives for the defense of our freedom and security."
Some U.S. troops will remain to support and train Iraqi forces, partner with
Iraqis in counterterrorism missions, and protect civilian and military efforts,
he said. But he pledged all U.S. troops will be home from Iraq by the end of
More than a million U.S. troops have served in Iraq and more than a million who
have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have joined the ranks of America's veterans.
Obama said his administration has worked to make the nation's veterans policy
"We're building a 21st century VA, modernizing and expanding VA hospitals and
health care, and adapting care to better meet the unique needs of female
veterans," he said. "We're creating a single electronic health record that our
Military can keep for life. We're breaking the claims backlog and
reforming the process with new paperless systems."
Obama added that wounded warrior facilities are being built throughout the
Defense Department, and more is being done to help those suffering from
Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"For many of our troops and their families, the war doesn't end when they come
home," he said. "Too many suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder – the signature injuries of today's wars – and too few receive
proper screening or care. We're changing that.
"We're directing significant resources to treatment, hiring more mental health
professionals, and making major investments in awareness, outreach and suicide
prevention," he said. "And we're making it easier for a vet with PTSD to get the
benefits he or she needs."
First lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, have
forged a national commitment to support military families, he noted. This
includes new support for caregivers who put their lives on hold for a loved
one's long recovery, and funding and implementing the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which
is already helping some 300,000 veterans and their family members pursue a
New resources are also being devoted to job training and placement to help
veterans trying to find work in "a very tough economy," the president said.
"I've directed the federal government to hire more veterans, including disabled
veterans, and I encourage every business in America to follow suit.
"This new generation of veterans has proven itself to be a new generation of
leaders," he stressed. "They have unmatched training and skills; they're ready
to work; and our country is stronger when we tap their extraordinary talents."
The presidend closed his address by encouraging people to visit whitehouse.gov
to send the troops text and video messages of thanks and support.
"Let them know that they have the respect and support of a grateful nation," he
said. "That when their tour ends; when they see our flag; when they touch our
soil; they'll always be home in an America that is forever here for them – just
as they've been there for us."
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
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