REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ABOARD THE USS CARL VINSON
USS Carl Vinson
San Diego, California
4:10 P.M. PST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! How you feeling tonight? (Applause.) We are so fortunate to be able to witness two of the greatest basketball programs in history — (applause) — Michigan State Spartans, North Carolina Tar Heels. (Applause.) Two of the best coaches of all time — Coach Izzo, Coach Williams. (Applause.) So we are proud to be here and see a great sporting event.
But the main reason we’re here is, on Veterans Day, we have an opportunity to say thank you. One of the greatest privileges of this job, and one of the greatest responsibilities of this job, is to serve as your Commander-in-Chief. And I can tell you that every day when I interact with our military, every day when I interact with the men and women in uniform, I could not be prouder to be an American. (Applause.)
And that gratitude that we have for our men and women of the Armed Forces does not stop when they take off the uniform. When they come home, part of the long line of those who defended our freedom, we have a sacred trust to make sure that they understand how much we appreciate what they do. And that’s not just on Veterans Day. That is every day of every year where we salute them and we say thank you for making the sacrifices, and for their families’ sacrifices, on our behalf. (Applause.)
This week, throughout the week, we’ve been celebrating our veterans, but we have to turn our words into action. And so what we’ve done is make sure that Congress passed legislation that makes it a little bit easier for businesses to hire our veterans. (Applause.) We’ve put in place a series of reforms to help veterans, make sure they get the counseling and the job placement that they need.
The First Lady along with Dr. Jill Biden have put together something called Joining Forces that has now gotten commitments — 100,000 jobs for veterans and military spouses all across the country. And we are grateful for them for that effort. (Applause.)
But every American citizen can make a solemn pledge today that they will find some opportunity to provide support to our troops, to those who are still active duty, to our National Guard, to our Reservists, and to our veterans.
And it’s especially appropriate that we do it here, because the USS Carl Vinson has been a messenger of diplomacy and a protector of our security for a long time. And the men and women who serve on this ship have done extraordinary service in the Pacific, in the Persian Gulf, in the Indian Ocean. It was from this aircraft carrier that some of the first assaults on Iraq were launched. This ship supports what’s happening in Afghanistan.
I think some of you may know because it’s been reported that the men and women on the Carl Vinson were part of that critical mission to bring Osama bin Laden to justice. (Applause.)
So to all our veterans, to all our men and women in uniform, we say thank you. And we want you to know that we are committed to making sure that we serve you as well as you have always served us. Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. Thank you. (Applause.)