Obama: Troops Bear Burden of Success in Iraq War

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2011 — After near­ly nine years the war in Iraq is end­ing and U.S. troops are return­ing home to a nation that should stand by those who fought, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma said today.

“In recent days, many of our troops have come home and been reunit­ed with their fam­i­lies for the hol­i­days,” he said. “Over the next few days, a small group of Amer­i­can sol­diers will begin the final march out of Iraq.”

The pres­i­dent laud­ed Amer­i­can troops for their ser­vice and the sac­ri­fices of their families.

“This moment of suc­cess is because of their sac­ri­fice,” Oba­ma said. “More than 1.5 mil­lion Amer­i­cans have served in Iraq. More than 30,000 of these brave men and women were wound­ed. Near­ly 4,500 gave their lives. America’s mil­i­tary fam­i­lies have borne a heavy burden.”

Oba­ma called on Amer­i­cans to demon­strate their appre­ci­a­tion for the nation’s mil­i­tary vet­er­ans and their families. 

“As we mark the end of this war, we need to show our vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies that they have the thanks of a grate­ful nation,” he said. “Part of end­ing a war respon­si­bly is stand­ing by those who have fought it. It’s not enough to hon­or our heroes with words; we must do so with deeds.”

The pres­i­dent not­ed his and Michelle Obama’s con­tin­u­ing efforts to take care of vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies fol­low­ing their service. 

“That’s why we’ve worked to send 600,000 vet­er­ans and fam­i­ly mem­bers back to school on the Post‑9/11 GI Bill,” Oba­ma said. “That’s why one of Michelle’s top pri­or­i­ties as First Lady has been to sup­port mil­i­tary fam­i­lies and why she’s worked with the pri­vate sec­tor to get com­mit­ments to cre­ate 100,000 jobs for those who’ve served and their spouses.

“That’s why we worked with Con­gress to pass a tax cred­it so that com­pa­nies have an incen­tive to hire vets and have tak­en steps to help vet­er­ans trans­late mil­i­tary expe­ri­ence to the pri­vate sec­tor job mar­ket,” he added.

Cit­i­zens should real­ize that “our com­mit­ment to those who fight for our free­dom and our ideals does­n’t end when our troops take off the uni­form,” the pres­i­dent said. 

“You can be a part of this effort to hon­or our heroes,” Oba­ma added. “Help mark this moment. Write a quick note that troops and vet­er­ans all over the world will be able to see.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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