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Richard Overton
Richard Overton the oldest living WWII veteran, listens during a Veterans Day ceremony attended by President Barack Obama, commemorating Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. The president paid tribute to those who have served in the nation's military, including one of the nation's oldest veterans, the 107-year-old Overton of East Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Obama Pays Tribute, Veterans Day Across America



(AP/WBEN) -- President Barack Obama on Monday paid tribute to those who have served in the nation's military, including one of the nation's oldest veterans, 107-year-old Richard Overton.

"This is the life of one American veteran, living proud and strong in the land he helped keep free," Obama said during a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Overton rose slowly and stood to loud applause when Obama mentioned his name, then stood a second time at the president's request and drew more applause.

He was among hundreds attending the outdoor ceremony on a crisp, sunny Veteran's Day. Earlier Monday, Overton and other veterans attended a breakfast at the White House.

Obama used his remarks to remind the nation that thousands of service members are still at war in Afghanistan. The war is expected to formally conclude at the end of next year, though the U.S. may keep a small footprint in the country.

Soon, "the longest war in America's history will end," Obama declared.

As the 12-year-old war draws down, Obama said the nation has a responsibility to ensure that the returning troops are the "best cared-for and best respected veterans in the world." The country's obligations to those who served "endure long after the battle ends," he said.

As president, Obama said he wanted to see the "best cared-for and best respected veterans in the world."

Obama also noted that it has now been 60 years since the end of the fighting in Korea.

"We join as one people to honor a debt we cannot fully repay," he said.

Veterans in Western New York say that the best way to honor those who served is simply to acknowledge their service, and if they really want to lend a helping hand, to volunteer at the VA Medical Center in Buffalo.

"I think just acknowledging their service is huge," said one veteran. "Just to know that you are thought of and that people are appreciative of the sacrifice that you've made."

Another veterans said if people "recognize (a veteran), thank them for their service, and this is a prime example by coming here (to the VA Hospital) and seeing what goes on here and offer voluntary service."

Meanwhile, in New York City, World Trade Center families have been carrying a giant American flag along Fifth Avenue as part of New York City's Veterans Day Parade.
  
Some shouted "Don't forget 9/11!"
  
Organizers of Monday's parade up Fifth Avenue have renamed it America's Parade. They say it's the largest Veterans Day event in the nation.
  
The U.S. military's first female four-star general is a grand marshal. Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody retired last year after a 37-year Army career.
  
Former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi also is a grand marshal. Principi is a Navy veteran and vice president of the Wounded Warrior Project.
  
Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army's chief of staff, is an honorary grand marshal.
  
At a wreath-laying before the parade, a protester was grabbed by security after he went on an anti-police tirade.


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Topics : Politics
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Locations : ArlingtonVirginia
People : Barack ObamaRichard Overton
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