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Obama Honors Veterans at Wreath Laying, Breakfast

President Barack Obama (L) positions a commemorative wreath during a ceremony on Veterans Day at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery
President Barack Obama (L) positions a commemorative wreath during a ceremony on Veterans Day at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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.

Richard Overton (C), 107 years-old, who is believed to be America's oldest living veteran is acknowledged by U.S. President Barack Obama during a ceremony to honor veterans at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery
Richard Overton (C), 107 years-old, who is believed to be America’s oldest living veteran is acknowledged by U.S. President Barack Obama during a ceremony to honor veterans at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery (Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

“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, sun-splashed 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 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.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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