With the US due to withdraw all of its troops from Iraq by the end of the year and a drawdown of forces in Afghanistan also underway, President Barack Obama used his Veterans Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia to encourage Americans to help integrate soldiers back into their communities when they return.
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"On this Veterans Day, I ask every American: Recruit our veterans," he said, according to USA Today. "If you're a business owner, hire them. If you're a community leader, a mayor, a pastor, a preacher, call on them to join your efforts.” He added, "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."
He also likened current members of the military to World War II veterans. "After a decade of war, the nation we now need to build is our own," Obama said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "And just as our greatest generation left a country recovering from depression and returned home to build the largest middle class in history, so now will the 9/11 generation play a pivotal role in rebuilding America's opportunity and prosperity in the 21st century."
Earlier in the day, Obama hosted breakfast at the White House for a group of veterans, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. After the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, where he laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Obama flew to San Diego to watch the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill men’s basketball team play Michigan State University on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson.
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