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Obama Dedicates Memorial to Disabled US Veterans

  • VOA News

U.S. President Barack Obama makes remarks at the dedication of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, near the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, October 5, 2014.

U.S. President Barack Obama makes remarks at the dedication of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, near the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, October 5, 2014.

President Barack Obama paid tribute to disabled U.S. veterans on Sunday as he inaugurated a memorial in their honor.

The president said the new memorial - the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial - in Washington commemorates two centuries of Americans who were physically or mentally injured while fighting for the United States.

"From this day forward, Americans will come to this place and ponder the immense sacrifice on their behalf, the heavy burden born by few so that we might live in freedom and peace," said the president.

The Obama administration came under heavy criticism earlier this year, when the head of Veterans Affairs resigned amid reports that veterans were receiving inadequate healthcare and waiting months for treatment.

The president said from the podium Sunday that the memorial should be a "reminder of the obligations this country is under."

"If they (veterans) come home having left a part of themselves on the battlefield on our behalf, this memorial tells us what we must do. When our wounded veterans set out on that long road of recovery, we need to move Heaven and Earth to make sure they get every single benefit, every bit of care, that they have earned, that they deserve," said Obama.

More than 50,000 U.S. troops were wounded while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan since the early 2000s.

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The United States recently signed a security deal with Afghanistan to keep nearly 10,000 troops on the ground for another decade to train local security forces and conduct counterterror operations.

U.S. officials, including the president, insist that American ground troops will not be deployed for the country's most recent military action - an air campaign against the Islamic State (IS) as the group expands its offensive in Iraq and Syria.

A U.S. Marine was nevertheless killed last week when he and another soldier jumped from a plane flying over the Persian Gulf that was supporting U.S.-led airstrikes against the ultra-radical Sunni militants.

The soldiers believed the plane was about to crash, however the pilots were able to land safely aboard an aircraft carrier. Only one of the soldiers was found at sea, making Corporal Jordan Spears the first American killed in military operations against IS.

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