During his Veterans Day remarks, President Obama focused on the 9/11 Generation of veterans and took care of the those who bravely served in George Bush’s wars.
Here is the video from C-SPAN:
So on this Veterans Day, let us commit ourselves to keep making sure that our veterans receive the care and benefits that they have earned; the opportunity they defend and deserve; and above all, let us welcome them home as what they are — an integral, essential part of our American family.
See, when our men and women sign up to become a soldier or a sailor, an airman, Marine, or Coast Guardsman, they don’t stop being a citizen. When they take off that uniform, their service to this nation doesn’t stop, either. Like so many of their predecessors, today’s veterans come home looking to continue serving America however they can. At a time when America needs all hands on deck, they have the skills and the strength to help lead the way.
Our government needs their patriotism and sense of duty. And that’s why I’ve ordered the hiring of more veterans by the federal government. Our economy needs their tremendous talents and specialized skills. So I challenged our business leaders to hire 100,000 post-9/11 veterans and their spouses over the next few years and yesterday, many of these leaders joined Michelle to announce that they will meet that challenge.
Our communities have always drawn strength from our veterans’ leadership. Think of all who have come home and settled on in a quiet life of service — as a doctor or a police officer, an engineer or an entrepreneur, as a mom or a dad — and in the process, changed countless lives. Other veterans seek new adventures from taking on a new business to building a team of globetrotting veterans who use skills learned in combat to help after a natural disaster.
There are also so many in this young generation who still feel that tug to serve, but just don’t quite know where to turn. So on this Veterans Day, I ask every American, recruit our veterans. If you’re a business owner, hire them. If you’re a community leader — a mayor, a pastor or a preacher — call on them to join your efforts. Organize your community to make a sustained difference in the life of a veteran because that veteran can make an incredible difference in the life of your community.
According to Think Progress, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan make up 5.5% of the nation’s homeless vet population. On any given night, 20,000 Iraq and Afghanistan vets are homeless. Overall, 75,000 veterans are homeless every night. What is most alarming about the homeless Iraq and Afghanistan vet numbers is that the troops aren’t all home yet. Unless something is done, these numbers will continue to grow at a rapid pace.
Obama’s critics will howl that the president used his holiday remarks to deliver a political speech, but the message that we should honor our commitment to our vets should not be a point of partisan contention, but before the vote Sen. Jim DeMint blasted the plan to offer tax credits to businesses who hire vets, “I know what I am about to discuss won’t be very popular — I’ll probably be accused of not supporting veterans by the politicians pandering for their votes — but I am not going to be intimidated to vote for something that may make sense politically but is inherently unfair and it isn’t going to work.”
No one is suggesting that hiring veterans is going to save the economy, but that trying to help the people who risked their lives for their country find employment is the right thing to do. Of course, the Senate didn’t pass Obama’s tax credits for hiring vets because it was the right thing to do. The bill was passed because nobody wants to appear to be anti-veteran the year before an election.
George W. Bush’s wars have left a legacy of veterans that our nation must care for and about. The wars may be winding down, but the story of our returning veterans is just beginning.