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Obama: US Owes Military Veterans Its Gratitude

President Barack Obama has joined millions of Americans on Veterans Day in a salute to the men and women who have served in the country's armed forces.

Mr. Obama pledged Monday that Americans "will never forget" the sacrifices made by the country's military veterans, and promised that his administration would continue pushing for money to support the men and women now home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The president spoke at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington after placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Earlier, Mr. Obama and his wife Michelle hosted a breakfast at the White House for military veterans and their families.

President Obama said the country owes its veterans gratitude for their service. He paid special tribute to one of the nation's oldest veterans, 107-year-old Richard Overton.

Mr. Obama also pledged particular support for veterans returning home from battlefields in Afghanistan, as the United States' longest war winds down in the coming year.

"Today reminds us of our sacred obligation. So even though this time of war is coming to a close, our time of service to our newest veterans has only just begun."

Americans honor veterans in a variety of ways, often with parades. In (the central state of) Oklahoma, a new wall commemorating Vietnam veterans is being dedicated that is a smaller version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.

In New York, the parade focused on returning female veterans and the challenges they face.

November 11 was first observed in the United States in 1919 as Armistice Day to mark the anniversary of the end of World War One. The holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to honor American veterans of all wars.