In a Veterans Day address at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, President Obama again emphasized what he said was his administration’s commitment to ensuring the country takes care of returning service members.
“Long after the battles end, long after our heroes come home, we stay by their side,” he said, speaking at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Sunday. “That’s who we are. And that’s who we’ll be for today’s returning service members.”
He went on to describe some of the major challenges facing veterans of recent wars, and said that his administration would work to help make things easier for returning soldiers. “No one who fights for this country overseas should ever have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they have earned when they come home.”
As MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show has reported, Veterans Affairs is currently in a state of some disrepair. Veterans who file disability claims may have to wait for more than a year before the claim is ruled to be legitimate. In the meantime, those veterans remain at serious risk for disabilities, health problems, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, as the Center for American progress reports, a disproportionate number of military veterans in the United States are homeless.
In his speech, Obama told American military members that his administration was working to make sure they would be able to “find jobs worthy of your incredible skills and talents.”
“That’s why we’re transforming, for the first time in decades, how the military transitions service members from the battlefield to the workplace,” he said. He also said that various “patriotic businesses” had worked with First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden to train roughly 125,000 veterans for re-entry into the workplace.
“And because you deserve to share in the opportunities that you defend, we are making sure that the post-9/11 G.I. bill stays strong, so that you can earn a college education and pursue your dreams,” he said.
Regarding disability claims, the president vowed to “continue to attack the claims backlog.”