Full Text Political Transcripts January 4, 2017: President Barack Obama’s Remarks at Armed Forces Full Honor Review Farewell Ceremony

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at Armed Forces Full Honor Review Farewell Ceremony

Source: WH, 1-4-17

Joint Base Myer-Henderson
Fort Myer, Virginia

3:21 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Please be seated.

Well, good afternoon.  It turns out these are easier when you’re talking about somebody else.  (Laughter.)  At a moment like this, I think of all the times I’ve stood before our men and women in uniform.  Commissioning our newest officers.  Presiding over promotions.  Presenting the Commander-in Chief’s Trophy to — the best football team in the military.  I will let you argue over that one.  (Laughter.)  I have never taken sides.

Secretary Carter, I could not be more grateful for your gracious words, but more importantly, for your outstanding leadership, across, as you noted, more than three decades and nearly all of my presidency.  You have always given me, Ash, your best strategic counsel.  You’ve made sure that we were investing in innovation for the long term and a strong Force of the Future.  As a physicist, Ash is also one of the few people who actually understands how our defense systems work.  And I know that our troops and their families are immensely grateful for the compassion that you and Stephanie have shown them over the years.  So to you and your family, on behalf of all of us, thank you for your outstanding service.  (Applause.)

General Dunford, we’ve relied on you as Commandant of the Marine Corps, as our commander in Afghanistan, and now, as our nation’s highest-ranking military officer.  I thank you, and General Selva and the entire Joint Chiefs for the unvarnished military advice that you’ve always provided to me, for your dedication, for your professionalism, for you integrity.  Because of you, because of this team, our Armed Forces are more integrated and better prepared across domains — a truly Joint Force.  Which is why, as a White Sox fan, I can overlook the fact that you love the Red Sox.  (Laughter.)  Moreover, on a personal note, outside of your professional qualities, you are a good man, and I am grateful to have worked with you.  And thank Ellyn for allowing you to do this.  (Applause.)

To members of Congress; Vice President Biden — who, along with Jill, has known the love and the pride and the sacrifice of a military family.  To Deputy Secretary Work; service secretaries; distinguished guests; dedicated civilians from across the Defense Department; my national security team; most of all, our men and women in uniform.  I thank you for this honor, and for the warmth and respect that you’ve always shown me, the support that you’ve shown Michelle and our daughters during these past eight years.

And so, although I recognize that the formalities require me listening to praise directed in large part to me, I want to turn the tables — I am still Commander-in-Chief, so I get to do what I want to do — and I want to thank you.  Of all the privileges of this office — and there are many — I will miss Air Force One, I will miss Marine One — (laughter) — but I can stand before you today and say that there has been no greater privilege, and no greater honor, than serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the greatest military in the history of the world.  (Applause.)

When I took office, I noted that Presidents and those of you in uniform swear a similar oath — to protect and defend this country and the Constitution that we cherish.  By stepping forward and volunteering, by raising your right hand and taking that oath, each of you made a solemn pledge.  You committed yourself to a life of service and of sacrifice.  And I, in turn, made a promise to you, which, to the best of my abilities, I’ve  tried to uphold every single day since, that I would only send you into harm’s way when it is absolutely necessary, with the strategy, the well-defined goals, with the equipment and the support that you needed to get the job done.  Because that’s what you rightfully expect and that is what you rightfully deserve.

I made that pledge at a time when less than one percent of Americans wear the uniform.  Fewer Americans know someone who serves.  And as a result, a lot of Americans don’t see the sacrifices you make on our behalf.  But as Commander-in-Chief, I do.  I’ve seen it when I looked into the eyes of young cadets, knowing that my decisions could very well send them into harm’s way.  I’ve seen it when I’ve visited the field — at Bagram and Baghdad — far from your families, risking your lives so that we can live ours safely and in freedom.  And so you’ve inspired me, and I have been humbled by you consistently.  And I want every American to know what I know — through year after year after year of continuous military operations — you have earned your place among the greatest generations.

The list of accomplishments that Joe and Ash so generously mentioned, they’re because of you.  It’s what I tell my staff — I’m the front man, but you’re the ones doing the work.  Because of you, our alliances are stronger, from Europe to the Asia Pacific.  Because of you, we surged in Afghanistan, trained Afghan forces to defend their country, while bringing most of our troops home.  Today our forces serve there on a more limited mission — because we must never again allow Afghanistan to be used for a safe haven in attacks against our nation.

It’s because of you — particularly our remarkable Special Forces — that the core al Qaeda leadership that attacked us on 9/11 has been decimated.  Countless terrorist leaders, including Osama bin Laden, are gone.  From South Asia to Africa, we have forged partnerships to go after terrorists that threaten us.  Because of you, we are leading a global coalition against ISIL.  These terrorists have lost about half of their territory.  They are losing their leaders.  Towns and cities are being liberated.  And I have no doubt this barbaric terrorist group will be destroyed — because of you.

You’ve shown that when it comes to fighting terrorism, we can be strong and we can be smart.  Not by letting our forces get dragged into sectarian conflicts and civil wars, but with smart, sustainable, principled partnerships.  That’s how we’ve brought most of our troops home — nearly 180,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan down to 15,000 today.  That’s how, even as we’ve suffered terrible attacks here at home, from Boston to Orlando, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland these past eight years.

Because of you, the world has seen the awesome reach of American Armed Forces.  In some of the first few weeks of my job, when Somali pirates took Captain Phillips, later on, when they kidnapped Jessica Buchanan, it was you that went in and you that risked everything, and you that brought these Americans home to their families.

The world has seen your compassion — the help you deliver in times of crisis, from an earthquake in Haiti to the tsunami in Japan.  Think of Ebola and the countless lives this Armed Forces saved in West Africa.  It was you that set up the architecture and set the example for the world’s response.  One woman in West Africa said, “We thanked God first and then we thanked America second for caring about us.”  That’s the difference you make — you continue to make — in the lives of people around the world.

As you know well, with service comes great sacrifice.  And after 15 years of war, our wounded warriors bear the scars — both seen and unseen.  In my visits to their bedsides and rehab centers, I have been in awe, watching a wounded warrior grab his walker and pull himself up and, and through excruciating pain, take a step, and then another.  Or hearing troops describe how they grappled with post-traumatic stress but summoned the strength to ask for help.  As a military and as a nation, we have to keep supporting our resilient and incredibly strong wounded warriors as they learn to walk and run and heal.  As they find new ways to keep serving our nation, they need to know that we still need your incredible talents.  You’ve given so much to America, and I know you have more to give.

And then you have not seen the depths of true love and true patriotism until you’ve been to Dover, when our troops receive our fallen heroes on their final journey home; until you have grieved with our Gold Star families who’ve given a piece of their heart to our nation — a son or a daughter, a father or mother, a husband or wife, a brother or a sister.  Every one a patriot.  Every single one of these American families deserves the everlasting gratitude and support of our entire nation.

Today, after two major ground wars, our Armed Forces have drawn down, and that is natural and it is necessary.  And after reckless budget cuts of sequester, we need to keep improving the readiness, and the training, and modernizing our forces.  So let me take this opportunity, while I still have it, to appeal to our friends from Congress who are here:  We cannot go back to sequestration.  There is a responsible way forward — investing in America’s strengths, our national security and our economic security.  Investing in the reform and the equipment and support that our troops need, including the pay and the benefits, and the quality of life, and the education and the jobs that our troops and our veterans and all of your families deserve.

But make no mistake, even with the challenges of recent years — and there have been challenges– our allies and adversaries alike understand America’s military remains, by far, the most capable fighting force on the face of the Earth.  Our Army, tested by years of combat, is the best-trained and best-equipped land force on the planet.  Our Navy is the largest and most lethal in the world — on track to surpass 300 ships.  Our Air Force, with its precision and reach, is unmatched.  Our Marine Corps is the world’s only truly expeditionary force.  Our Coast Guard is the finest in the world.

And we’re also the best because this military has come to welcome the talents of more of our fellow Americans.  Service members can now serve the country they love without hiding who they are or who they love.  All combat positions in our military are now open to women.  And Joe Biden and I know that women are at least as strong as men.  We’re stronger for it.  It’s one of the reasons that our military stands apart as the most respected institution in our nation by a mile.  (Applause.)  The American people look up to you and your devotion to duty, and your integrity, and your sense of honor, and your commitment to each other.

One of my proudest achievements is that I have been able to, I think, communicate through the constant partisan haze, along with so many others, how special this institution is, and the esteem in which our military is held has held steady and constant and high throughout my presidency.  And I’m very grateful for that.  Because you remind us that we are united as one team.  At times of division, you’ve shown what it means to pull together.

So my days as your Commander-in-Chief are coming to an end, and as I reflect on the challenges we have faced together and on those to come, I believe that one of the greatest tasks before our Armed Forces is to retain the high confidence that the American people rightly place in you.  This is a responsibility not simply for those of you in uniform, but for those who lead you.  It’s the responsibility of our entire nation.

And so we are called to remember core principles:  That we must never hesitate to act when necessary to defend our nation, but we must also never rush into war — because sending you into harm’s way should be a last and not first resort.  It should be compelled by the needs of our security and not our politics.  We need to remember that we must not give in to the false illusion of isolationism, because in this dangerous time, oceans alone will not protect us, and the world still seeks and needs our leadership as the one indispensable nation.

We have to remember that our military has to be prepared for the full spectrum of threats, conventional and unconventional, from 20th century-style aggression to 21st century-style cyber threats.  And when we do go to war, we have to hold ourselves to high standards and do everything in our power to prevent the loss of innocent life, because that’s what we stand for.  That’s what we should stand for.  We have to remember that as we meet the threats of our time, we cannot sacrifice our values or our way of life — the rule of law and openness and tolerance that defines us as Americans, that is our greatest strength and makes us a beacon to the world.  We cannot sacrifice the very freedoms that we’re fighting for.

And finally, in our democracy, the continued strength of our all-volunteer force also rests on something else — a strong bond of respect and trust between those in uniform and the citizens that you protect and defend.  At a time when too few Americans truly understand the realities or sacrifices of military service, at a time when many political leaders have not served, if some in the military begin to feel as though somehow they are apart from the larger society they serve those bonds can fray.

As every generation learns anew, freedom is not free.  And so while less than 1 percent of Americans may be fighting our wars, 100 percent of Americans can do their parts — at the very least — to support you and your families.  Everybody can do something — every business, every profession, every school, every community, every state — to reach out and to give back, and to let you know that we care, to help make the lives of our troops and your families just a little bit easier.  Everybody can do something.

And that’s why Michelle and Jill Biden have mobilized more Americans to honor and support you and your families through Joining Forces.  And that’s why, even after we leave the White House, Michelle and I intend to keep on looking for ways to help rally more of our fellow citizens to be there for you, just like you’ve always been there for us.

So we can’t say it enough and we can’t show it enough.  Thank you for your patriotism.  Thank you for your professionalism.  Thank you for your character in representing the very best of the American spirit.  Our nation endures — we live free under the red, white and blue — because of patriots like you.

It has been a privilege of a lifetime to serve with you.  I have learned much from you.  I’m a better man having worked with you.  I’m confident that the United States and our Armed Forces will remain the greatest force for freedom and security that the world has ever known.

God bless you and your families.  And God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
3:44 P.M. EST

Advertisements

Full Text Campaign Buzz September 11, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech at National Guard Association Conference in Reno, Nevada — Thanks Armed Forces

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

After Criticism, Romney Thanks Armed Forces

Source: NYT, 9-11-12

Mitt Romney spoke at the National Guard Association Convention in Reno, Nev., on Tuesday.

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Mitt Romney spoke at the National Guard Association Convention in Reno, Nev., on Tuesday.

Speaking to National Guard members in Reno, Nev., Mitt Romney expressed gratitude for troops serving overseas, saying the defense budget should not be cut….READ MORE

MITT ROMNEY DELIVERS REMARKS TO THE NATIONAL GUARD ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 9-11-12

Mitt Romney today delivered remarks to the National Guard Association Conference in Reno, Nevada. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

Major General Vavala, thank you for your generous introduction.  And thank you for your years of service as Chairman of the Board – and for your decades of service to our nation.

Ladies and gentlemen of the National Guard Association, it is an honor to be with you on this day of memorial and appreciation. We remember with heavy hearts the tragic loss of life, and we express thankfulness for the men and women who responded to that tragedy. We honor them, and we honor those who secure our safety even to this day.

We honor the men and women of the National Guard. For 375 years, whenever your countrymen have encountered threat and danger, you have willingly gone. Wherever the cause of freedom has called, you have answered. And as the threats to liberty have emanated from distant lands, you’ve served far from home and far from family. The nation has asked much more of you than had been expected, but you have never faltered, never wavered from the mission of your motto:  “Always Ready, Always There.”

Two weeks ago, I saw the Guard in action in Louisiana after it was hit by Hurricane Isaac.  For many of the people of the Gulf – who had just finished repairing their homes and getting life back to normal after Katrina – the damage from Isaac felt like too much to bear.  As I toured the flooded streets, I was not surprised to find the Guard keeping order, distributing water and supplies, and caring for many of those they had evacuated and rescued.

Time and again, it has been the Guardsman’s hand that has lifted a child from rising waters, that has rescued a family from a hurricane’s fury, and that has fed and clothed a fellow American whose home and possessions have been lost to nature’s devastation. It is a Guardsman who took out Saddam Hussein’s tanks from his A-10, and who has fought to secure the villages of Afghanistan.

Our world is a dangerous place. And the attack on our homeland and citizens on September 11, 2001 reminds us that the mission of the Guard is ever more critical, and ever more deserving of our support and honor.

More than a decade has now passed since that day of tragedy. But the visions and events are seared in the memory of every American. We remember those who died. We marvel at the courage of those who stormed the cockpit when they became aware of the malevolent purpose of the hijackers. We hold up in prayer the families and friends who have lived in a shadow cast by grief. We draw strength from the selflessness of the first responders. And we renew our resolve to protect America from the designs of evil men.

Like you, I remember where I was on 9/11.  I was originally planning to be in Battery Park, in New York – not far from the World Trade Center.  But as it turned out, I was in Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress about preparations for the security of the upcoming Winter Olympic Games.  A colleague and I were working in our office in the Ronald Reagan building – just a few blocks from the White House.

Someone rushed into our office and said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I turned on the small TV on the desk and watched in shock as flames and smoke erupted from the North Tower.

I called my wife Ann. She too watched the tragedy from her TV and wondered how a plane could fly into a building in clear daylight.  And then we saw the second plane crash into the second tower. These, then, were purposeful acts, these were terrorist acts, these were evil and cowardly and heinous acts.

Leaving the city, I drove toward Alexandria, Virginia. The highway I was on came within a few hundred yards of the Pentagon, which had been hit. Cars had stopped where they were, and people had gotten out, watching in horror. I could smell burning fuel and concrete and metal. It was the smell of war, something I never imagined I would smell in America.

In our own ways, we each were overwhelmed by the enormity of the loss of life. We struggled to comprehend the magnitude of what this meant for the families of those who had been killed, and for our own families, for our nation, and for the world. For some, there was also anger. But grief and anger soon turned to action – and among those taking the lead were members of the National Guard.

Members of the National Guard secured our airports and borders, and members of the Guard began to mobilize to deploy half a world away – where you would become all too familiar with the mountains of the Hindu Kush and the streets of Fallujah. Throughout the last eleven years, Guardsmen and women have helped keep us safe from attack.

I wish I could say the world is less dangerous now – that it is less chaotic. I wish I could predict with certainty the threats we will face in the years ahead.   But on September 10, 2001, we had no idea that America would be at war in Afghanistan. In December of 2010, we had no idea that a Tunisian street vendor would inspire a revolution that would topple three dictators. We live in a time of turbulence and disruption. What I can say with certainty is that we need the National Guard’s vigilance and strength now as much as ever before.

With less than two months to go before Election Day, I would normally speak to a gathering like this about the differences between my and my opponent’s plans for our military and for our national security.  There is a time and a place for that, but this day is not it.

It is instead a day to express gratitude to the men and women who have fought – and who are still fighting – to protect us and our country, including those who traced the trail of terror to that walled compound in Abbottabad and the SEALs who delivered justice to Osama bin Laden.

This is also a day in which all of us – in this convention hall, in this campaign, and in this country – can hopefully agree on important things.

This century must be an American Century.  It began with terror, war, and economic calamity.  It is now our duty to steer it onto the path of freedom, peace, and prosperity.  America must lead the free world, and the free world must lead the entire world.  In our dealings with other nations, we must demonstrate confidence in our cause, clarity in our purpose, and resolve in our might.

For this to be an American Century, we must have a military that is second to none. American military power is vital to the preservation of our own security and for the preservation of peace around the world.  Time and again, America’s military might has been the best ally of liberty and peace: American forces rescued Europe, twice.  American forces stood up to brutal dictators and freed millions living under tyranny.  America’s military leads the fight against terrorism around the world – and secures the global commons to keep them safe for the trade and commerce that are vital to lifting people from poverty.

While the war in Iraq is over, nearly 70,000 American troops still remain in Afghanistan.  Our goal should be to complete a successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014.  We should evaluate conditions on the ground and solicit the best advice of our military commanders.

We can all agree that our men and women in the field deserve a clear mission, that they deserve the resources and resolute leadership they need to complete that mission, and that they deserve a country that will provide for their needs when they come home.

Of course, the return of our troops cannot and must not be used as an excuse to hollow out our military through devastating defense budget cuts.  It is true that our armed forces have been stretched to the brink – and that is all the more reason to repair and rebuild.  We can always find places to end waste.  But we cannot cancel program after program, we cannot jeopardize critical missions, and we cannot cut corners in the quality of the equipment and training we provide.

We must recognize that when our troops come home, they should not have to struggle for work.  After all our veterans have done for us, they deserve the opportunity to find good jobs and the dignity of pursuing the American Dream.

We must also keep the faith with our veterans, no matter when or where they have served, through a strong VA system.  When the backlog for disability claims reaches nearly one million … when a federal building in Virginia becomes structurally unstable because so many claims have piled up on its highest floors … then we can all agree that the system is in need of serious and urgent reform.

Our veterans deserve care and benefits that are second to none.  Here, there is considerable work waiting to be done.  The backlog of disability claims needs to be eliminated, the unconscionable waits for mental health treatment need to be dramatically shortened, and the suicide rate among active-duty soldiers and veterans must be treated like the emergency it is.

Veterans’ benefits are not a gift that is given, but a debt that is due.  The problems with the VA are serious and must be fixed.  We are in danger of another generation of veterans losing their faith in the VA system – so we must ensure that the VA keeps faith with all our veterans.  We must keep our promises and regain the trust of all who have worn the uniform and served.

When I was the Governor of Massachusetts, I saw firsthand the Guard’s bravery and valor.

In 2006, I visited Iraq and Afghanistan along with two other governors. We met with the members of the National Guard from our respective states. I said to them that if they wanted me to call their spouse or family when I returned, I would be happy to do so. Just hand me a note with their names and phone numbers.  When I left for home, I found that I had 63 calls to make.  I knew that making that many calls would take quite a few days.

I returned home on Memorial Day weekend.  I decided to start making just a few of those calls first thing in the morning, before my kids and grandkids got up.  After I’d made only two or three, a Guardsman’s wife answered and said, “Oh, Governor Romney, I thought that might be you calling.”  Apparently, the first spouses I had called, had called other spouses, or had emailed their loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan who then emailed their spouses back home to tell them to expect my call.  So I made 63 calls on Memorial Day.

Remember, May 2006 was a difficult time in the Iraq War.  Many of you know that from experience.  We were suffering terrible casualties, and terrorism was straining our efforts to stand up the Iraqi government.  The “surge” had not yet begun and our politics back home had become deeply divided.

As I made those calls, I braced myself for questions about why the Guardsmen I had met couldn’t come home – right away.  Yet in 63 calls, I did not hear a single complaint.  Not one.  On each call, I expressed gratitude on behalf of our nation and my state for the sacrifice of their family and of their loved one who was in harm’s way. And then, from virtually everyone I spoke with, they would correct me to say that it was an honor to be able to sacrifice for America and to serve the greatest nation on earth.  Such is the patriotism of the men and women and the families of our National Guard!

Many of those calls left me with tears in my eyes.  I will never forget meeting the brave men and women who had volunteered for the National Guard in Massachusetts, who found themselves on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I will never forget speaking with their loved ones.  And I will always hold the greatest admiration for every one of them.

On the campaign trail, it has been my privilege to meet with troops and veterans from just about every state.  They come from our farms, our great cities, our small towns and quiet neighborhoods.  Many have known violence so that their neighbors could know peace.  They have done more than protect America; their courage and service defines America.

On this eleventh anniversary of September 11th, we remember the victims who perished in the attacks.  We also remember the men and women serving in dangerous places around the world.  We will not forget why they are fighting or who they are fighting for.  They are faithful to us and to our country; we must not break faith with them.

I want to personally thank you for keeping us safe.  It is inspiring to be in the company of men and women of courage, as I am today. It is an honor to be among those whose sense of duty and love of country lift our hearts and spirits.

We are blessed to live in a country where freedom is so highly cherished, so fiercely protected, and so admirably defended by the noble men and women of the National Guard.

Thank you.  Thank you all for your service.  May God bless America and continue to keep her safe.

Full Text Obama Presidency September 1, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Marks the Anniversary of the End of the Iraq War — Honoring Our Nation’s Service Members and Military Families

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Obama’s Weekly Address: Marking the Anniversary of the End of the Iraq War

Source: ABC News Radio, 9-1-12

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Two years after he ended the combat mission in Iraq, President Obama is touting his plan to bring troops home from Afghanistan, saying it’s time to “do some nation-building here at home.”

In his weekly address, the president congratulated troops for a “job well done” in Iraq but noted “there is still difficult work ahead of us in Afghanistan.”

“We’ve broken the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and begun the transition to an Afghan lead.  Next month, the last of the troops I ordered as part of the surge against the Taliban will come home, and by 2014, the transition to Afghan lead will be complete,” he said in remarks taped at Fort Bliss in Texas, where Obama addressed troops Friday….READ MORE

Weekly Address: Honoring Our Nation’s Service Members and Military Families

Source: WH, 9-1-12
President Obama marks the second anniversary of the end of our combat mission in Iraq by thanking our nation’s extraordinary men and women in uniform for their service.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

Weekly Address: Honoring Our Nation’s Service Members and Military Families

Hi, everybody.  On Friday, I visited Fort Bliss in Texas, where I met with some of our extraordinary men and women in uniform to mark the second anniversary of the end of major combat in Iraq.

It was a chance to thank our troops for the outstanding work they’ve done over the last decade.  Fort Bliss is home to soldiers who took part in every major phase of the Iraq War – from the initial assault on Baghdad; to the years of fighting block by block; to the partnership with the Iraqi people that helped give them a chance to forge their own destiny.

And while the war itself remains a source of controversy here at home, one thing will never be in doubt – the members of our armed forces are patriots in every sense of the word.  They met every mission and performed every task that was asked of them with precision, commitment and skill.  And now, with no Americans fighting in Iraq, it’s my privilege on behalf of a grateful nation to once again congratulate these men and women on a job well done.

This anniversary is a chance to appreciate how far we’ve come.  But it’s also a reminder that there is still difficult work ahead of us in Afghanistan.  Some of the soldiers I met at Fort Bliss had just come home from the battlefield, and others are getting ready to ship out.

We’ve broken the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and begun the transition to an Afghan lead.  Next month, the last of the troops I ordered as part of the surge against the Taliban will come home, and by 2014, the transition to Afghan lead will be complete.

But as long as we have a single American in harm’s way, we will continue to do everything in our power to keep them safe and help them succeed.  That means giving them a clear mission and the equipment they need on the front lines.  But it also means taking care of our veterans and their families.  Because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home.

I also told our soldiers at Bliss that part of honoring their service means strengthening the nation they fought so hard to protect.  As we turn the page on a decade of war, it’s time to do some nation-building here at home.

My grandfather’s generation came back from World War II and helped form the backbone of the greatest middle-class in history.  They helped this country come back stronger than before.  Today’s veterans have the skills, the discipline, and the leadership skills to do the exact same thing – and it’s our job to give them that chance.

It’s time to build a nation that lives up to the ideals that so many Americans have fought for – a nation where they can realize the dream they sacrificed to protect.  We need to rebuild our roads and runways and ports.  We need to lay broadband lines across this country and put our veterans back to work as cops and firefighters in communities that need them.  And we need to come together to make America a place where hard work is rewarded and anyone willing to put in the effort can make it if they try.

That’s how we can honor our troops.  That’s the welcome home they’ve earned.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

%d bloggers like this: