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President Barack Obama's prepared remarks for the American Legion national convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
President Barack Obama's prepared remarks for the American Legion national convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Published by: stribcarew on Aug 30, 2011
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THE WHITE HOUSEOffice of the Press Secretary ______________________________________________________________________________  _____________________________________________________________________________ EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERYAugust 30, 2011
Remarks for President Barack Obama ² As Prepared for Delivery
American Legion National Convention
Minneapolis, MN
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
 As Prepared for Delivery ²
Hello Legionnaires! Thank you, Commander Foster, for your introduction and for yourlifetime of service³to your fellow Marines, soldiers and veterans. On behalf of us all,thank you Jimmie. And thank you to your entire leadership team for welcoming metoday. Your National Adjutant, Dan Wheeler. Your Executive Director, your voice inWashington, Peter Gaytan. And the President of the American Legion Auxiliary,Carlene Ashworth.To Rehta Foster and all the spouses, daughters and sisters of the Auxiliary«and theSons of the American Legion«as military families, you also served, and we salute youas well.It is wonderful to be back with the American Legion. Back in Illinois, we workedtogether to make sure veterans across the state were getting the benefits they hadearned. When I was in the Senate, we worked together to shine a spotlight on thetragedy of homelessness among our veterans³and the need to end it.As President, I·ve welcomed Jimmie and your leadership to the Oval Office³to heardirectly from you. And I·ve been honored to have you by my side when I signedadvance appropriations to protect veterans health care from the budget battles inWashington. When I signed legislation to give new support to veterans and theircaregivers. And most recently, when I proposed new initiatives to make sure theprivate sector is hiring our talented veterans.So, American Legion, I thank you for your partnership. And I appreciate theopportunity to talk with you today about what we need to do to make sure America istaking care of our veterans as well as you·ve taken care of us.I·m grateful to be with you for another reason. A lot of our fellow citizens are stillreeling from Hurricane Irene and its aftermath. Folks are surveying the damage and
some are dealing with tremendous flooding. As a government, we·re going to makesure that states and communities have the support they need as people recover.And across the nation, we·re still digging out from the worst economic crisis since theGreat Depression. It·s taking longer and been more difficult than any of us hadimagined. And even though we·ve taken some steps in the right direction, we have todo more. Our economy has to grow faster. We have to create more jobs, and do itfaster. Most of all, we have to break the gridlock in Washington that·s been preventingus from taking the action we need to get this economy moving. That·s why, next week,I·ll be speaking to the nation about a plan to create jobs and reduce our deficit ² a plan Iwant to see passed in Congress. We need to get this done.Here·s what else I know. We Americans have been through tough times before, muchtougher than these. And we didn·t just get through them, we emerged stronger thanbefore. Not by luck. Not by chance. But because in hard times, Americans don·t quit.We don·t give up. We summon that spirit that says, when we come together, when wechoose to move forward together, as one people, there·s absolutely nothing we can·tachieve.Legionnaires, you know this. It·s the story of your lives. And in times like these, allAmericans can draw strength from your example. When Hitler controlled a continentand fascism seemed unstoppable, when our harbor was bombed and our Pacific fleetcrippled, some declared that the United States had been reduced to a third-class power.But you, our veterans of World War II, crossed the oceans, stormed the beaches, freedthe millions, liberated the camps and showed that the United States of America is thegreatest force for freedom the world has ever known.When North Korea invaded the South, pushing the allied forces into a tiny sliver ofterritory³the Pusan (Poo-sahn) Perimeter³it seemed like that war could be lost. Butyou, our Korean War veterans, pushed back, fought on, year after bloody year. Andthis past Veterans Day, I went to Seoul and joined our Korean War veterans for the 60
 anniversary of that war, and we marked that milestone in a free and prosperousRepublic of Korea.When Communist forces in Vietnam unleashed the Tet Offensive, it fueled the debatehere at home that raged over that war. You, our Vietnam veterans, didn·t alwaysreceive the respect you deserved³which was a national shame. But let it beremembered that you won every major battle of that war. Every one. And as President,I·ve been honored to welcome our Vietnam veterans to the White House to finallypresent them with the medals and recognition they had earned. It·s been a chance toconvey, on behalf of the American people, those simple words with which our Vietnamveterans greet each other³´welcome home.µ
Legionnaires, in the decades that followed, the spirit of your service was carried forthby our troops in the sands of Desert Storm and the rugged hills of the Balkans. Now, itis carried on by a new generation. Next weekend, we will mark the 10
anniversary ofthose awful attacks on our nation. In the days ahead, we·ll honor the lives we lost andthe families who loved them, the first responders who rushed to save others, and allthose who have served to keep us safe these ten difficult years, especially the men andwomen of our armed forces.Today, as we near this solemn anniversary, it·s fitting that we salute the extraordinarydecade of service rendered by the 9/11 Generation³the more than five millionAmericans who have worn the uniform over the past ten years. They were there, onduty, that September morning, having enlisted in a time of peace, but they instantlytransitioned to a war-footing. They·re the millions of recruits who have steppedforward since, seeing their nation at war and saying ´send me.µ They·re every singleSoldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine and Coast Guardsman serving today, who hasvolunteered to serve in a time of war, knowing they could be sent into harm·s way.They come from every corner of our country, big cities and small towns, from everybackground and creed. They·re sons and daughters who carry on their family·stradition of service, and new immigrants who·ve become our newest citizens. They·reour National Guardsmen and Reservists who have served in unprecedenteddeployments. They·re the record number of women in our military, provingthemselves in combat like never before. And every day for the past ten years, thesemen and women have succeeded together³as one American team.A generation of innovators, they·ve changed the way America fights and wins its wars.Raised in the age of the Internet, they·ve harnessed new technologies on the battlefield.They·ve learned the cultures, traditions and languages of the places they·ve served.Trained to fight, they·ve taken on the role of diplomats, mayors and developmentexperts, negotiating with tribal sheikhs, working with village shuras, and partneringwith communities. Young captains, sergeants and lieutenants have assumedresponsibilities once reserved for more senior commanders, reminding us that in an erawhen so many other institutions have shirked their obligations, the men and women ofthe United States military welcome responsibility.In a decade of war, they have borne an extraordinary burden, with more than twomillion of our service members deploying to the warzones. Hundreds of thousandshave deployed again and again, year after year. Never before has our nation asked somuch of our all-volunteer force³that one percent of Americans who wears the uniform.We see the scope of their sacrifice in the tens of thousands who now carry the scars ofwar, seen and unseen³our remarkable wounded warriors. We see it in ourextraordinary military families who serve here at home³the military spouses who hold

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