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Obama: Veterans Deserve Thanks, And A Chance At A Good Civilian Life

President Obama Emphasizes Need For Jobs, Education For Vets
President Barack Obama speaks during an Economic Address at The Port of New Orleans on Nov. 8, 2013 in New Orleans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama speaks during an Economic Address at The Port of New Orleans on Nov. 8, 2013 in New Orleans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — In his weekly radio address Saturday, President Barack Obama urged all Americans to say “thank you” to all that have defended the country as Veterans’ Day approaches.

“Veterans’ Day Weekend is a chance for all of us to say two simple words: ‘Thank you.’ Thank you to that greatest generation who fought island by island across the Pacific, and freed millions from fascism in Europe. Thank you to the heroes who risked everything through the bitter cold of Korea and the stifling heat of Vietnam. And thank you to all the heroes who have served since, most recently our 9/11 Generation of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan,” Obama said.

But Obama said the country owes more to veterans than just verbal expressions of gratitude. When veterans return from service, they are owed the chance for a successful life, Obama said.

“I’ve often said that my top priority is growing the economy, creating new jobs, and restoring middle-class security. And a very important part of that is making sure that every veteran has every chance to share in the opportunity he or she has helped defend,” Obama said. “In addition to the care and benefits they’ve earned – including good mental health care to stay strong – that means a good job, a good education, and a home to call their own.”

Obama said he already has put policies in place to ensure that the nation does right by its veterans. He said since he took office, the federal government has hired about 300,000 veterans, and has established a new transitions program to help veterans and their spouses find new jobs and careers.

Businesses have also worked with Michelle Obama and Jill Biden’s Joining Forces campaign to help veterans find work in the private sector, Obama said. The campaign has already resulted in the hiring of 290,000 veterans and military spouses, and is committed to the hiring of more than 400,000 more.

The federal government also has worked to ensure that veterans have “the same shot at a great education this country gave my grandfather when he came home from World War II,” through the post-9/11 GI bill, Obama said. The government also has worked with schools to fight against dishonest recruiting and predatory lending targeting veterans, he said.

“Thanks to these efforts, and the efforts of the private sector, we’ve made progress getting our vets back to work. But we’ve got a lot more to do,” Obama said. “And as more than a million of our troops return to civilian life, we’re going to have to work even harder. Because the skill, dedication, and courage of our troops is unmatched – and when they come home, we all benefit from their efforts to build a stronger America and a brighter future for our kids.”

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