Obama To Troops: 'Welcome Home'
"On behalf of a grateful nation, I'm proud to finally say these two words and I know your famlies agree:
With that, President Obama began an address today at North Carolina's Fort Bragg, where he continued to mark the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq by talking with some of the troops who served in that nearly nine-year conflict.
We updated this post with more from his address.
Update at 12:25 p.m. ET. "Because Of You":
"Because of you," says Obama, "we are ending these wars [including Afghanistan] in a way that will make America stronger and the world more secure."
Update at 12:22 p.m. ET. The Nation Can Learn From Its Troops:
American military personnel have given Americans "a lesson about our national character" with the sacrifices they've made in Iraq and Afghanistan, the president says.
"For all of the challenges that our nation faces," he continues, "you remind us that there's nothing we Americans can't do when we stick together. For all of the disagreements that we face, you remind us that there's something bigger than our differences."
Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. A Thank You To The Families:
The president marks the sacrifices of those who died in the war and the bravery of all those who served there. And he tells military families that have carried the burden of worrying about their loved ones and keeping things going back at home, "you too have the thanks of a grateful nation."
Update at 12:12 p.m. ET. Troops' Strong Will:
"Your will proved stronger than the terror of those who tried to break it," Obama tells the troops.
Update at 12:10 p.m. ET. "An Extraordinary Achievement":
The Iraq War ends, Obama says, "not with a final battle but with a final march toward home. This is an extraordinary achievement."