Obama thanks troops as Afghanistan war ends

 

President Obama on Saturday thanked members of the military for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan and announced he would visit troops stationed in New Jersey on Monday.

His address marks the end of combat operations in Afghanistan, which began in 2001 in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the longest war in American history.

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In his weekly address, Obama urged Americans to express their gratitude to active troops and veterans who have served in combat zones around the world to defend the nation’s interests.

“As we go about our days, as we gather with loved ones and friends, it’s important to remember: our way of life—the freedom, prosperity and security that we enjoy as Americans—is not a gift that is simply handed to us,” he said. “It has to be earned—by every generation.  And no one sacrifices more to preserve our blessings than our extraordinary men and women in uniform.”

The president announced he would visit soldiers stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst on Monday to recognize their service in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Since our nation was attacked on 9/11, these men and women, like so many others in uniform, have met every mission we’ve asked of them,” he said.  “They deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq.  In more than a decade of war, this 9/11 Generation has worked with the Afghan people to help them reclaim their communities and prevent terrorist attacks against our own country.”

Obama highlighted that this month marks the end of the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan and said he is proud to welcome home all troops returning home.

“So this holiday season, as we give thanks for the blessings in our own lives, let’s also give thanks to our men and women in uniform who make those blessings possible,” he said.