The Straits Times
Published on Nov 12, 2012

Obama hails end of 'decade of war' on Veterans Day


WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama marked Veterans Day on Sunday by celebrating the fact that America's painful decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan is coming to a close.

Under glorious autumn sunshine, Mr Obama placed a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery in memory of all Americans who died while serving in the military, and thanked their grieving families.

Mr Obama praised the post-Sept 11 generation of soldiers who came forward after the suicide airliner attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon in 2001, saying they had "stepped into history" by ousting Iraq's Saddam Hussein, taking on the Taleban in Afghanistan and killing Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

"Tour after tour, year after year, you and your families have done all that this country has asked - you've done that and more," he said. Mr Obama noted his withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq and the gradual drawdown under way from Afghanistan. "This is the first Veterans Day in a decade in which there are no American troops fighting and dying in Iraq," he said to applause.