US Honoring Military Personnel on Veterans Day

Posted November 11th, 2011 at 10:40 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama is leading the nation Friday in honoring those who have served in the armed forces.

To mark the Veterans Day holiday, President Obama will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony and deliver remarks at Arlington National Cemetery, just outside Washington.

Later, he travels to the southern California city of San Diego, where he will speak on a U.S. Navy carrier, the USS Carl Vinson. He will then attend a Veterans Day basketball game on the carrier featuring teams from two U.S. universities .

Veterans Day commemorates the date in 1918 when the cease-fire agreement was signed that ended the battles of World War One . It is observed in Europe and elsewhere as Armistice or Remembrance Day.

In the U.S., the holiday comes less than two months before all U.S. troops are due to leave Iraq. In Afghanistan, nearly 100,000 American service members remain. U.S. combat troops are set to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. International forces have already begun transferring security responsibility to their Afghan counterparts.

Earlier this month, President Obama issued a proclamation honoring the men and women of the U.S. armed forces. The proclamation said that in times of war and peace alike, “our veterans have served with courage and distinction in the face of tremendous adversity, demonstrating an unfaltering commitment to America and our people.” He said many have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the country they loved.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has also issued a Veterans Day message extending his thanks to troops and veterans. He said the U.S. owes a profound debt to all veterans and military families, noting that President Obama has designated November as Military Family Month.