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Saluting the troops, past and present

Hawaii 24/7 photos by Karin Stanton

The ceremony at West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery …

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye issued the following statement in recognition of Veterans Day. Inouye is a retired U.S. Army Captain who earned the Medal of Honor while fighting with “E” Company of the 442 Regimental Combat Team in Europe during World War II.

“Today is a reminder that the freedom we enjoy is defended by brave men and women who have fought, bled and died for our great nation. I experienced these sacrifices first hand in Europe during World War II and I know the price that has been paid repeatedly over the years to keep Americans safe. Right now American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are in harm’s way, far away from their families. We must honor their plight and thank them for what they have given and what they continue to give to protect our way of life.”

President Barack Obama released the following statement in recognition of Veterans Day:

Each fall, Americans take time to honor the brave men and women in uniform who put themselves in harm’s way to protect our nation and the ideals on which it was founded.

Today, I met with service members in Yongsan Garrison in South Korea, and I told them that honoring their service isn’t just about the memorial services we attend on Veterans Day or Memorial Day — it’s about how we treat our Veterans every day of the year.

Our men and women in uniform and their families have sacrificed so much, and all Americans owe them a debt of gratitude for their service. It is our moral obligation to care for our service members, Veterans and military families as they have cared for us.

As Commander in Chief, this is a commitment I take very seriously. That’s why my Administration is building a 21st-century Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to ensure that our Veterans have every opportunity to live happy, productive and healthy lives once they step out of uniform:

* Through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, we are helping nearly 400,000 Veterans and family members pursue higher education.
* We have dramatically increased funding for Veterans health care across the board and are directing unprecedented resources to treat the wounds of today’s wars — traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
* The VA is working to streamline the claims process by creating a single electronic record that our troops and Veterans can keep for life and hiring thousands of claims processors to finally break the back of the backlog of claims.

Today, there are 18 percent fewer homeless Veterans on our streets than there were when I took office, and we won’t rest until all our Veterans have a place to call home.

I encourage all Americans to take time to thank the Veterans, service members and military families in your lives and recognize their extraordinary service to our country.

To all of our men and women in uniform, our Veterans and our military families: We honor your service, we are grateful for your sacrifice, and we will not let you down.

Sincerely,
President Barack Obama

P.S. You can learn more about how to support our Veterans, military families and active duty service members at www.serve.gov/vets.asp

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