President Obama today praised the extraordinary decade of service rendered by the 9/11 Generation of our military, the more than five million men and women – all of whom voluntarily joined the armed forces over the past ten years. He also paid special tribute to the more than 6,200 Americans who have given their lives in this hard decade of war.
Speaking before the American Legion National Convention today in Minneapolis, the President said that America’s military is the best it’s ever been, and highlighted the ways in which this new generation has changed the way America fights and wins our wars:
They're a generation of innovators, and they’ve changed the way America fights and wins at wars. Raised in the age of the Internet, they’ve harnessed new technologies on the battlefield. They’ve learned the cultures and traditions and languages of the places where they served. Trained to fight, they’ve also taken on the role of diplomats and mayors and development experts, negotiating with tribal sheikhs, working with village shuras, partnering with communities. Young captains, sergeants, lieutenants — they've assumed responsibilities once reserved for more senior commanders, and reminding us that in an era when so many other institutions have shirked their obligations, the men and women of the United States military welcome responsibility.
The President touched on some of the most extraordinary achievements of the past ten years, in Iraq and Afghanistan, including “our greatest victory yet in the fight against those who attacked us on 9/11—delivering justice to Osama bin Laden in one of the greatest intelligence and military operations in American history.”