On Veterans Day Monday, observers across the nation paid tribute to the men and women who've served for their military service and contributions.
Richard Overton, one of the nation’s oldest veterans at 107 years old, was among those honored at a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
“This is the life of one American veteran, living proud and strong in the land he helped keep free,” President Barack Obama said at the outdoor ceremony, which hundreds attended, according to The Associated Press
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The holiday occurs as America’s war in Afghanistan, its longest war in history, winds down with plans for total withdrawal of combat troops by next year.
Some veterans told U.S. News & World Report
there should to be more attention on returning service members' transition back into civilian life.
Some 750,000 veterans remain in the VA backlog, still waiting to receive a ruling on whether they will receive federal assistance for emotional, physical, and psychological issues. Of these, more than 421,000, almost 60 percent, have been waiting longer than four months.
"Filing a claim is an act of courage," said Anu Bhagwati, a Marine Corps veteran from 1999 to 2004, who added that the process is not a "one-time" deal, U.S. News reported.
Bhagwati serves as the executive director of veterans advocacy group the Service Women's Action Network.
Waiting for a decision from the government can range from weeks to years, she said.
"It's the less sexy side of talking about military service," she told U.S. News. "We cannot let VA off the hook."
Joe Davis, public affairs director for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, asks the country "to never forget the men and women who serve in uniform, and their families, not only on Veterans day but every day of the year,” U.S. News & World report said.
Obama, who had breakfast with Overton and other veterans, said the returning troops deserve the best care.
“The country’s obligations to those who served endure long after the battle ends,” he said.
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