Obama: US turning 'a page on a decade of conflict'

“Fewer Americans are making the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan, and that’s progress for which we are profoundly grateful,” he said. But, he continued, “let us never forget, as we gather here today, that our nation is still at war. It should be self-evident, and in generations past, it was.”

The president compared past conflicts including the Vietnam War and the Second World War, in which his grandfather Stanley Dunham fought, with today. In earlier struggles, he said, almost every American knew someone directly involved.

“Today, most Americans are not directly touched by war. As a consequence, not all Americans may always see or fully grasp the depths of sacrifice.”

Obama’s remarks at Arlington came amid controversy over sexual assaults and harassment in the military, and as the Pentagon grapples with policy shifts and budget cuts.

A recent Pentagon study found that cases of unwanted sexual contact across the branches of the military rose 37 percent in 2012 to about 26,000 cases. Speaking to graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., on Friday, Obama warned that the involvement of some military personnel in sexual assaults threatens “the trust and discipline which makes our military strong.”

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