Watch President Barack Obama’s Veterans Day speech video on Fri. Nov. 11, 2011 (11-11-11). He takes part in the wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The observance will start at 11 a.m. ET. Watch live stream video at that time. Thereafter replay video and transcript text will be posted.
UPDATE: Replay video and transcript are below.
Article continues below.
Remarks by the President on Veterans Day
Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia
11:40 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Ric Shinseki, for your extraordinary service to our country and your tireless commitment to our veterans; to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta; to Chairman Dempsey and Mrs. Dempsey; to our wonderful veterans service organizations for the extraordinary work that you do for our nation’s heroes; to all who tend to and watch over this sacred cemetery; and above all, to every active duty member, Guardsman, Reservist, and veteran of the United States Armed Forces.
There are many honors and responsibilities that come with this job. But none are more humbling than serving as your Commander-in-Chief. And I’m proud to be with so many of you here today.
Here, where our heroes come to rest, we come to show our gratitude. A few moments ago, I laid a wreath to pay tribute to all who have given their lives to our country. For even though this is a day we rightly honor America’s veterans, we gather today in solemn respect -– mindful that we are guests here; mindful that we share this hallowed space with a family’s moment of quiet grief; mindful that many veterans not far from here are tracing their fingers over black granite for friends who never came home –- and expect us to do all we can to bring every missing American service member home to their families.
To all our nation’s veterans: Whether you fought in Salerno or Samarra, Khe Sanh or the Korengal, you are part of an unbroken chain of men and women who have served this country with honor and distinction. On behalf of a proud and grateful nation, we thank you.
When I spoke here on this day two years ago, I said there would be a day before long when this generation of servicemen and women would begin to step out of uniform. And I made them a promise. I said that when your tour ends, when you see our flag, when you touch our soil -– you will be home in an America that is forever here for you, just as you’ve been there for us. (Applause.)
For many, that day has come. Over the past decade, more than 5 million Americans have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. Of these, 3 million stepped forward after the attacks of September 11th, knowing full well that they could be sent into harm’s way. And in that time, they have served in some of the world’s most dangerous places. Their service has been selfless. Their accomplishments have been extraordinary.
In Iraq, they have battled a brutal insurgency, trained new security forces and given the Iraqi people the opportunity to forge a better future. In Afghanistan, they have pushed back the Taliban, decimated al Qaeda, and delivered the ultimate justice to Osama bin Laden. In concert with our allies, they have helped end Qaddafi’s brutal dictatorship and returned Libya to its people.
Because of their incredible efforts, we can stand here today and say with confidence -– the tide of war is receding. In just a few weeks, the long war in Iraq will finally come to an end. (Applause.) Our transition in Afghanistan is moving forward. My fellow Americans, our troops are coming home. (Applause.)
For many military families, this holiday season will be a season of homecomings. And over the next five years, more than 1 million Americans in uniform will transition back to civilian life, joining the nearly 3 million who have done so over the past decade and embraced a proud new role, the role of veteran.
This generation of service members -– this 9/11 Generation -– has borne the burden of our security during a hard decade of sacrifice. Our servicemen and women make up less than 1 percent of Americans, but also more than 1 million military spouses and 2 million children and millions more parents and relatives — all of whom have shared the strains of deployment and sacrificed on behalf of the country that we love.
Only 27 years old on average, these young men and women have shattered the false myth of their generation’s apathy, for they came of age in an era when so many institutions failed to live up to their responsibilities. But they chose to serve a cause greater than their selves. They saw their country threatened. But they signed up to confront that threat. They felt some tug, they answered some call, and they said, Let’s go. And they’ve earned their place among the greatest of generations. (Applause.)
That is something for America to be proud of. That is the spirit America needs now — a stronger, newer spirit of service and of sacrifice. That spirit that says, What can I do to help? What can I do to serve? That spirit that says, When my country is challenged, I will do my part to meet that challenge.
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. (Applause.)
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. (Applause.) 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. (Applause.)
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.
If you’re a veteran looking for new ways to serve, check out Serve.gov. If you’re a civilian looking for new ways to support our veterans and our troops, join Michelle and Jill Biden at JoiningForces.gov. Find out what you can do. There is no such thing as too small a difference. That effort you make may have the biggest impact.
I say this because recently, I received a letter from a Vietnam veteran. She wasn’t writing to tell me about her own experience. She just wanted to tell me about her son, Jeremy. Now, Jeremy isn’t deployed, Jeremy’s not a veteran, or even in the military at all, as badly as he wants to follow in the footsteps of his family and enlist. You see, Jeremy has Down Syndrome.
So Jeremy chooses to serve where he can best -– with his local Vietnam Veterans of America chapter in Beaver, Pennsylvania. He calls them “the soldiers”. And one day last spring, Jeremy spent the day with several of these veterans cleaning up a local highway.
“He worked tirelessly,” wrote his mother. “He never asked to take a break. He didn’t stop to talk about his beloved Steelers. He didn’t even ask for anything to eat or drink. He only asked for one thing, several times –- ‘Mom, will President Obama be proud of me for helping the soldiers?’”
Well, Jeremy, I want you to know, yes, I am proud of you. I could not be prouder of you, and your country is proud of you. Thank you for serving our veterans by helping them to continue their service to America.
And Jeremy’s example — one young man’s example — is one that we must all now follow. Because after a decade of war, the nation we now need to build is our own. 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.
We know it will be hard. We have to overcome new threats to our security and prosperity, and we’ve got to overcome the cynical voices warning that America’s best days are behind us. But if there is anything our veterans teach us, it’s that there is no threat we cannot meet; there is no challenge we cannot overcome. America’s best days are still ahead. And the reason for that is because we are a people who defy those voices that insist otherwise. We are a country that does what is necessary for future generations to succeed. (Applause.)
You, our veterans, fight so our children won’t have to. We build and we invent and we learn so that we will know greater opportunity. America leads so that the next generation, here and around the world, will know a more hopeful life on this Earth.
So today, I thank you all for making that possible. God bless you. God bless our veterans and our troops, and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
END 11:51 A.M. EST
Link for mobile viewing. Live web-feed video is above. The streaming video can also be seen on CNN Live and CNN for iPhone and iPad app It can also be seen via the White House iPad and iPhone app, a free download. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. ET. (8 a.m. PT). The location is the Tomb of the Unknowns (a.k.a. the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier) at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
“Today, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate did the right thing and passed tax credits that will encourage businesses to hire America’s veterans. Tomorrow, our nation will commemorate Veterans Day and honor the service and the sacrifice of all who have worn the uniform of the United States of America. No veteran who fought for our nation should have to fight for a job when they come home, and I urge the House to pass these tax credits as well so I can sign them into law. I also urge Congress to pass additional jobs proposals in the weeks ahead to help the millions of other Americans who are still looking for work.”
Today’s complete itinerary: President Obama official schedule and guidance, November 11, 2011. The President will travel to San Diego, California later today to attend the first annual Veterans Day Carrier Classic 2011, a basketball game between Michigan State and the University of North Carolina aboard the USS Carl Vinson. Thereafter he departs for a trip to Asia and the Pacific Rim, which will include the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Watch a video report below.
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- President Obama Yeadon, Pennsylvania Speech Video Nov. 8, 2011 Address at Yeadon Regional Head Start Center
- President Obama Press Conference Video: Nov. 4, 2011 G-20 Summit Speech in Cannes, France/a>
President Obama Georgetown Waterfront Park Speech Video Nov. 2, 2011 Address at Key Bridge on the American Jobs Act
- President Obama Denver, Colorado Speech Video Oct. 26, 2011 Address on Student Loan Repayment Changes
- President Obama Las Vegas Speech Video Oct. 24, 2011 Address on New Mortgage Rules
- President Obama Weekly Address Video, Transcript Oct. 22, 2011 (Radio, YouTube Video)
- President Obama Iraq Speech Video Oct. 21, 2011: All U.S. Troops out of Iraq
- President Obama Libya Speech Video Oct. 20, 2011 Statement on Muammar Gaddafi Death
- President Obama North Chesterfield, Virginia Bus Tour Speech Video Oct. 19, 2011: Fire Station 9
- President Obama Hampton, Virginia Bus Tour Speech Video Oct. 19, 2011: Langley Air Force Base
- President Obama Emporia, Virginia Bus Tour Speech Video Oct. 18, 2011: Greensville County High School
- President Obama Jamestown, North Carolina Bus Tour Speech Video Oct. 18, 2011: Guilford Technical Community College
- President Obama North Carolina Bus Tour Speech Video Oct. 17, 2011: Asheville, West Wilkes High School
- Obama, Lee GM Orion Assembly Plant Speech Video: Oct. 14, 2011 U.S. and South Korean Presidents in Lake Orion, Michigan
- President Obama State Dinner with South Korean President Lee Live Stream Video Oct. 13, 2011
- Obama, Lee Press Conference Video: Oct. 13, 2011 U.S. and South Korean Presidents’ Joint News Conference
- President Obama Pittsburgh Speech Video Oct. 11, 2011 Address at International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
- Obama Press Conference Video: Oct. 6, 2011 Presidential News Conference on the American Jobs Act
- President Obama Eastfield College Speech Video Oct. 4, 2011 Address in Mesquite, Texas
- President Obama HRC Keynote Speech Video Oct. 1, 2011 Human Rights Campaign 15th Annual National Dinner
- President Obama Joint Chiefs of Staff Ceremony Speech Video Sept. 30, 2011 Address at Change of Office at Ft Myer
President Obama Back to School Speech Video Sept. 28, 2011 Annual Address to Students
- President Obama Denver, Colorado Speech Video Sept. 27, 2011 Address at Abraham Lincoln High School
President Obama LinkedIn Town Hall Video Sept. 26, 2011 Speech at LinkedIn Headquarters in Mountain View, CA
- President Obama Cincinnati, Ohio Speech Video Sept. 22, 2011: Brent Spence Bridge Address
- President Obama Tax Plan Speech Video Sept. 19, 2011: Budget Deficit Reduction Plan Address
- President Obama North Carolina State Univ. Speech Video September 14, 2011 Address in Raleigh, NC on the American Jobs Act
- President Obama Columbus, Ohio Speech Video Sept. 13, 2011 Address at Fort Hayes High School
- President Obama American Jobs Act Speech Video Sept. 12, 2011: Statement at Rose Garden Ceremony
- President Obama Labor Day Speech Video Sept. 5, 2011: Address in Detroit at GM Renaissance Center
- President Obama Jobs Speech Video Sept. 8, 2011: Address to Joint Session of Congress
- President Obama Speech Video Aug 31, 2011: Statement on Surface Transportation Bill
- President Obama American Legion Annual Conference Speech Video Aug 30, 2011: Address in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
- President Obama Speech Video Aug. 29, 2011: Announcement of Alan Krueger as Head of Council of Economic Advisers
- President Obama Hurricane Irene Speech Video Aug. 28, 2011: Statement on Disaster Relief
- President Obama Hurricane Irene Speech Video Aug. 26, 2011: Statement on Emergency Response
- President Obama Libya Speech Video: Aug. 22, 2011 Statement on Moammar Gadhafi and Libyan War
- President Obama Alpha, Illinois Town Hall Video Aug. 17, 2011 Midwest Bus Tour, Speech at Country Corner Farm Market
- President Obama Atkinson, Illinois Town Hall Video Aug. 17, 2011 Midwest Bus Tour, Speech at Wyffels Hybrids, Inc.
- President Obama Decorah, Iowa Town Hall Video: Aug. 15, 2011: Midwest Bus Tour, Speech at Seed Savers Exchange
- President Obama Cannon Falls, Minnesota Town Hall Video Aug. 15, 2011 Economic Bus Tour, Speech at Lower Hannah’s Bend Park
- President Obama Weekly Address Video, Transcript Aug. 13, 2011 (Radio, YouTube Video)
- President Obama Fuel Efficiency Standards Speech Video Aug. 9 2011: Address at Interstate Moving Services in Springfield, VA
- President Obama Speech Video Aug. 8, 2011 Statement on S&P Downgrade of U.S. Credit Rating to AA+
- President Obama Debt Ceiling Speech Video Aug. 2, 2011: Address on Budget Deal>
- President Obama Debt Ceiling Speech Video July 31, 2011: Statement on Budget Deficit Agreement
- President Obama Debt Ceiling Speech Video July 29, 2011
- President Obama Fuel Efficiency Speech Video July 29, 2011: Address on Fuel Economy Standards
- President Obama Debt Ceiling Speech Video July 25, 2011: Presidential Address to the Nation on Budget Deficit Talks
- President Obama Debt Ceiling Speech Video: July 22, 2011 Press Conference on Budget Deficit Talks
- President Obama Town Hall Video July 22, 2011: Speech on Debt Ceiling at Univ. of Maryland
- President Obama Debt Ceiling Speech Video July 19, 2011: Statement on Debt Talks Progress
- Obama Press Conference Video: July 15, 2011 Presidential News Conference: Debt Ceiling, Debt Talks
- President Obama Interview with Scott Pelley Video July 12, 2011 CBS Evening News
- Obama Press Conference Video: July 11, 2011 Presidential News Conference on the Debt Ceiling
- President Obama Weekly Address Video, Transcript July 9, 2011 (Radio, YouTube Video)
- President Obama June Jobs Report Speech Video July 8, 2011: Statement on Unemployment
- President Obama Debt Ceiling Speech Video, Transcript July 7, 2011
- President Obama Debt Ceiling Speech Video July 5, 2011 Address on Debt Talks
- Obama Press Conference Video: June 29, 2011 Presidential News Conference
- President Obama Fort Drum Speech Video June 23, 2011: Address to 10th Mountain Division Soldiers
- President Obama Afghanistan Speech Video June 22, 2011: Address on Afghan War Troop Withdrawal
- President Obama Puerto Rico Speech Video June 14, 2011 Address at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport
- President Obama Weekly Address Video, Transcript June 11, 2011 (Radio, YouTube Video)
- Obama Merkel Press Conference Video: June 7, 2011 U.S. President, German Chancellor Joint News Conference
- President Obama State Dinner with German Chancellor Merkel Live Stream Video June 7, 2011
- President Obama Weekly Address Video, Transcript June 4, 2011 (Radio, YouTube)
- President Obama Memorial Day 2011 Speech Video: Arlington National Cemetery, Tomb of the Unknowns Wreath Laying Ceremony
- President Obama Joplin, Missouri Memorial Service Speech Video May 29, 2011: Joplin, Missouri Tornado
- President Obama Address to British Parliament Video May 25, 2011: Speech at West
- President Obama State of the Union Address 2011 Video: Jan. 25 Speech to Joint Session of Congress