WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama urged the nation to keep veterans in their thoughts long after Veterans Day and ensure that they receive the care and benefits they've earned.
Participating in a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, the president said the nation is boosting funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs and making progress on longstanding problems such as veteran homelessness and in reducing a backlog of disability claims. But other problems must still be addressed.
"Still the unacceptable problems that we've seen, like long wait times and some veterans not getting the timely care that they need is a challenge for all of us if we are to match our words with deeds," Obama said.
He said the nation is in the midst of a new wave of veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. He asked communities and businesses to consider hiring veterans as they fill job openings. He said some 200,000 veterans are returning to civilian life every year.
"They're ready to serve and they'll make you proud," Obama said.
The president laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and led the remarks at an annual observance intended to honor and thank those who have served in the armed forces.
Earlier in the day, the president had a breakfast reception with veterans and their families in the East Room of the White House.