Obama pays tribute to America's veterans, including 107-year-old WWII veteran

By Stacy A. Anderson

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Nov. 11 2013 2:13 p.m. MST

World War II veteran 107 year-old Richard Overton, center, from East Austin, Texas, stands up for the presentation of the colors during Veteran Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery Amphitheater, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. Overton celebrated his 107th birthday last week and travel this weekend to Washington D.C., as part of the Honor Flight, a collection of World War II veterans who are recognized each year for their contribution to America.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Va. — 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.

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