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“They Deserve Our Respect”

President Obama addressed the American Legion national convention in Minnesota earlier today. In his speech, the President reiterated his commitment to funding veterans’ programs:

“As today’s wars end, as our troops come home, we’re reminded once more of our responsibilities to all who have served. The bond between our forces and our citizens must be a sacred trust. And for me and my administration, upholding that trust is not just a matter of policy, it is not about politics; it is a moral obligation. That’s why my very first budget included the largest percentage increase to the VA budget in the past 30 years. So far, we’re on track to have increased funding for Veterans’ Affairs by 30 percent. And because we passed advanced appropriations, when Washington politics threatens to shut down the government, as it did last spring, the veterans' medical care that you count on was safe.

“And let me say something else about VA funding that you depend on. As a nation, we’re facing some tough choices as we put our fiscal house in order. But I want to be absolutely clear: We cannot, we must not, we will not, balance the budget on the backs of our veterans. As Commander in Chief, I won’t allow it.”

President Obama also underlined the need to support the mental health of returning servicemembers:

“The days when depression and PTSD were stigmatized—those days must end. That’s why I made the decision to start sending condolence letters to the families of service members who take their lives while deployed in a combat zone. These Americans did not die because they were weak. They were warriors. They deserve our respect. Every man and woman in uniform, every veteran, needs to know that your nation will be there to help you stay strong. It’s the right thing to do.”

Earlier this month, the President outlined his job initiatives for veterans. You can find out more and show your support here.

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