President Trump Delivers Remarks at the American Veterans 75th National Convention
The President: Well,
thank you very much. That’s a great honor.
Great people. (applause) Thank you.
(laughs) Sit down, please. Thank you. And I want to
thank Commander Riley. Truly thrilled to be here with
thousands of America’s proudest and toughest
and most extraordinary patriots: the
incredible veterans of AMVETS. We love our veterans.
AMVETS. (applause) Thank you very much.
You’re special people. You fought courageously
for our country, and now my administration
is fighting for you. That’s for sure.
(applause) And, you know,
we’ve accomplished a lot. We’ve done a lot. And one of the things
we have done is you get that
medical care quickly now, when you go
into those doctors. And you used to have to wait
for weeks and weeks and weeks. And you don’t wait anymore. You go out and see a private
doctor and we pay the bill. And people are really
happy about it, and the vets are
very happy about it. (applause) Veterans Choice, as you’ve been
trying to get that for 44 years, they say – 44 years. I guess it’s longer than that;
probably earlier than that. But for 44 years, at least,
that we know of. And you got it,
so congratulations. Hopefully, you don’t
have to use it too often because you’re going
to feel great. Okay?
(applause) To every veteran here today
and all across our land, thank you for your noble
and incredible service. It’s an honor,
really, of my life. I understand that I’m the first
Commander-in-Chief, first President,
to address you and be here. And that’s something
– (applause) – something that’s very special.
(applause) And it’s also an honor to be
the Commander-in-Chief of the greatest fighting force
the world has ever known:
The United States Military. And it’s stronger today.
(applause) And it’s a lot stronger today
than it was two and a half years ago,
I can tell you that. A lot stronger today.
A lot stronger. Seven hundred billion dollars
we spent, and then seven hundred
and sixteen billion. That’s with a “B.” And this year it’s $738 billion.
So we’ve rebuilt your military, and it’s stronger
than ever before. And that was really needed. It was depleted. It was tired.
It was exhausted. And you know
that better than I do. But we have totally rebuilt it. I want to thank your outstanding
National Commander Rege Riley, as well as your terrific
Executive Director Joe Chenelly. (applause)
Where is Joe? Joe, thank you. Where’s Joe?
Thank you, Joe. That’s not a very good seat
for you, Joe. Huh? Give that mention right up top.
Look. See? You want to give
other people the better seats. I like that type of person.
Right? (laughter) Thank you, Joe.
(applause) It’s also my privilege to recognize your National
First Vice Commander – the highest-ranking
woman in AMVETS history – retired Air Force Senior Master
Sergeant Jan Brown. (applause)
Jan? Thank you, Jan. Thank you. Congratulations as well
to this year’s recipients of the Silver Helmet Awards, especially a dear friend
who is an inspiration to all Americans: World
War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient
Woody Williams. (applause)
Where’s Woody? Thank you, Woody.
You’re looking good Woody. (laughs) Woody is looking good.
That was a big day – Medal of Honor.
Nothing like the Medal of Honor. I wanted one, but they told me
I don’t qualify, Woody. (laughter) I said, “Can I
give it to myself any?” They said, “I don’t think
that’s a good idea.” (laughter)
Great, great people. These are great,
great men and women that get the Congressional
Medal of Honor. Thank you, Woody. We are unbelievably grateful
to all of the members of AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary.
They’ve worked so hard. And the Sons of AMVETS,
and the Junior AMVETS – (applause) – and, of course, the legendary
AMVETS Riders – (applause) – who are fighting to keep alive
the spirit of Rolling Thunder. I love Rolling Thunder
– that noise. (applause)
Wow. Rolling Thunder. We’re taking care of Rolling
Thunder, since I’ve been there. Rolling Thunder,
please stand up. You have so many great people.
So many great people. Thank you. Thank you. And the leaders
are all here too. Thank you.
(applause) And we’ll see you in a little
while, in Washington. And to honor the prisoners
of war and those missing in action, today we renew our vow that
America will never, ever forget. It’s a great – (applause)
– thank you. Great to be joined
by a number of champions for America’s veterans, including Secretary
of Education Betsy DeVos. Betsy? Betsy.
(applause) Doing a great job.
Deputy VA Secretary James Burn. James, thank you. Great job.
(applause) A an who has really done
a great job – I don’t know
if he’s appreciated. Sometimes it doesn’t
work out that way, but he’s done an incredible job, and your state is doing
phenomenal business and I want to take
all of the credit but I can, because I have to give him a lot
too, because he has been a truly great governor:
Matt Bevin. (applause)
Thank you, Matt. And you know, Kentucky
has record numbers right now. It’s the best year
they’ve ever had in just about every category. So it’s – it’s really
an incredible thing. And a man who I just watched
on television – he’s so good. You can do television for me
anytime you want. Congressman Thomas Massie.
Where’s Thomas? (applause) Good job. Thomas,
say hello to our friends. Say hello to our friends
back in Washington. That was a good job.
Just watched you. I cannot come to Kentucky without also praising
the exceptional work of Senator Mitch McConnell.
I have to tell you – (applause) – this guy is a true fighter for
our veterans and for Kentucky. He’s worked tirelessly
to enact massive tax cuts, record defense spending,
and crucial VA reform that I was
just talking about. And I have to think – yet, of all the things
with respect to Mitch. Mitch is a – he’s a good person, but his leadership
in the Senate, we’ve confirmed – think of this – almost 150 federal judges to uphold our nation’s
beloved Constitution, and the foundation
of American freedom. And Mitch and I
have worked very hard. We’re up to 150. Within about two months,
we’ll be at 179 federal judges and two Supreme Court judges.
(applause) And – it’s your senator.
And it’s – for him, that’s – that’s a passion
like I’ve never seen before. And there is nothing
more important. You know, when I became
President, he said, “The most important thing
you can do is judges.” And in particular, they said,
Supreme Court justices. Well, as you know, we’ve named two Supreme
Court justices, right? Justice Kavanaugh,
Justice Gorsuch. (applause) And I want to just congratulate
Mitch McConnell. And you have them.
You have them. And he’s a champion.
And he fights hard. And he really
is something special. And he loves your state. And I’ll be here
campaigning for Mitch and I’ll be campaigning
for Matt. And we’re going to get them
both back in. And I just had to say, because Mitch
has been somebody very special and Matt knows that as well. This year, we commemorated
the 75th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944, when thousands
of American patriots stormed the beaches of Normandy and charged
through the fires of hell to ensure their survival
of liberty. This year also marks the 75th
anniversary of the organization that took care
of those victorious veterans when they returned, and every generation
of veterans since. Incredible job.
Today we celebrate AMVETS – (applause)
– for 75 years of love, and loyalty, and lifelong service
to our military personnel, to our veterans,
and to their families. Congratulations.
Thank you very much. Thank you. AMVETS posts across the nation have become pillars of pride
in our community – so true – and shining symbols of the enduring power
of the American spirit. Your support of our troops
overseas, it welcomes them
when they come back home. And you welcome them and you’re
there for them in every way – medically, physically, morally.
You’re with them all the way. And they appreciate it much more
than you would even know. You safeguard our values,
pass on our traditions, and teach generation after
generation to love our country, honor our heroes, and always
respect our great American flag. (applause) We gather today at a truly
incredible time for our nation. We are reawakening American
pride, American confidence, and American greatness.
We are America first. (applause)
It’s about time, too. It’s about time,
wouldn’t you say? We hear, “America first.”
You didn’t used to hear that. You didn’t use to hear
that too much, right? You didn’t used to hear it
at all, come to think of it. You hear that a lot now. Hope you don’t get sick of it.
I don’t think you will. (laughter)
Not this group. Not too many people in our
country would feel that way. We’re respected again
as a nation. We’re respected again. We’re restoring the fundamental
principles that government – and its first obligation
is the highest loyalty is to our citizens.
It’s the loyal to our citizens that really is
that first obligation. No longer will we sacrifice
America’s interest to any foreign power. In all things, we are putting
our country first. We are saying, let’s say,
“Make America great again.” But we’re almost there,
where we say, “Make America great again.”
We may have to switch it. You know what we’re going
to switch it to? Right? Audience Member:
Keep America great! The President:
That’s right. That’s right. I won’t say it here because
this is not a campaign speech. (laughter and applause) This is not a campaign speech, so I will not say
“keep America great,” but we’re going
to keep America great. (applause) We’re going to keep
America great. That’s a lot of press
back there. Look at all of them. Wow. That’s a lot
of cameras going. Look at all those
red lights on there. (laughter) The red lights mean,
“You’re on.” (laughter)
When the lights are off, you can get a little sleepy
back here and take it easy. (laughter) Nowhere is this
patriotic allegiance more essential than
fulfilling our duty to the American warrior
and to the American veteran. We’re upholding
our nation’s solemn pledge to protect
those who protect us – and they’ve
protected us brilliantly. With America’s core interests
guiding us as we do, we are making
unprecedented strides. Our incredible American warriors
have pulverized the bloodthirsty
killers of ISIS. We defeated 100 percent
of the caliphate in Syria. We’re holding thousands of ISIS
fighters right now – prisoners. And we’re going to give them
to – from where they came. The Europe- –
certain countries in Europe, they got to take them back because we don’t want
to hold them. Got to give them back. We’re fighting for other people,
and we got to give them back. They’ve got to take them.
They’d rather have us hold them and let us have them
for 50 years. We don’t want them.
We don’t want them. They should take them.
Do we agree? They should take them. (applause)
They say to us, “Why don’t you hold them
in Guantanamo Bay for 50 years and you just hold them
and spend billions and billions of dollars
holding them?” And I’m saying,
“No, you got to take them.” We fought.
We have them captured. They’re all captured – thousands. ISIS. But now Europe has to take them,
and different countries, where they came from,
have to take them. Do we agree with that? Yes?
(applause) I was just curious
as to what you thought. We withdrew from the horrible
Iran nuclear deal. Horrible deal.
(applause) We brought home
the remains of our fallen North Korean war heroes.
(applause) We brought them home –
so many of them, and many more are coming – so they can rest
alongside their brothers and sisters in American soil. We believe in our
sacred responsibility to ensure no one
is left behind, right? (applause) We’re rebuilding the awesome
might of the United States military with these big budgets
that I just described. And think of it – Audience
Member: Thank you! The President: Thank you.
Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Thank you very much. And we’re very proud of it.
We’re very proud of it. And those in the military
are very proud, too. Beautiful new –
the best equipment in the world. We make the best planes.
We make the best missiles. We make the best ships.
We make the best everything. And it also, in this case,
secondarily, it also happens to be made
in the USA, every inch of it. And it’s called jobs,
jobs, jobs. That’s secondary,
but it’s also good. (applause) And the Army will very soon
have 300 powerful, new M1 Abrams tanks.
(applause) The Navy is deploying
the most advanced class of aircraft carriers in history, with hundreds of brand new
F-35s and F-18s, American airmen will continue to
own the skies wherever we fly. We have the greatest Air Force
in the world. (applause) And we’re preparing to dominate
the newest warfighting domain by establishing a sixth branch
of the armed forces. It’s called the Space Force.
We need that. The Space Force.
(applause) And that’s moving
along through approval and it’s become very,
very popular. People see it now more than they
did two and a half years ago. They see it now and they know
how important it is for defense and offense
and for everything. We’ve delivered
the largest pay raise in years for every soldier,
sailor, airman, coast guardsman, and Marine in
the United States military. One of the largest increases.
(applause) Our active duty personnel
are the best-equipped, best-trained,
most technologically-advanced fighting force
in the history of the world. The best equipment in the world.
Best training in the world. America is
a peace-loving nation. We seek friendship. We seek harmony,
not conflict and division. But if we are threatened,
we will never hesitate to defend our people
as they should be defended. (applause) And if our enemies
should dare to fight us, they will be crushed with
overwhelming American might. No adversary stands a chance against the awesome power
of the Red, White, and Blue. They is no military
even close to ours. You know, you read
all sorts of things. (applause) “Well, maybe this country,
maybe that…” It’s only propaganda put out
by different areas and different countries.
There is nothing close. And they all know it
and they tell me that. They tell me that:
There is nobody close. And we have to keep it
that way. And we don’t want
to have to use it. We don’t want
to have to use it. But we have to have it
just in case, right? (applause)
The members of our armed forces – and you understand
that very well – the members of our armed
forces have always lived by the word of Douglas MacArthur: “In war, there is
no substitute for victory.” We have an armed forces
that’s unparalleled. And to achieve victory,
there is no substitute for the unmatched character
and courage of those who proudly wear
the nation’s uniform. And we even have
different uniforms. Did you see some
of the different designs of the uniforms?
We’re going back to a style and a look that nobody thought
we’d go back to because of expense,
and now we have brand new – the most beautiful uniforms
you’ve ever seen. But much more importantly
are the people that wear that uniform –
what’s inside that uniform. That’s much more important.
Much more important. (applause)
That’s the best in the world. Every warrior who serves
has a poured out – and they have poured out their
hearts and souls for America. We believe their government
must show them the same devotion in return.
And we’ve been doing that – at least, in the last two
and a half years, we have. Can you believe
it’s almost three years now? Because I’ve been saying
“two and a half years” now for a number of months.
(laughter) And we’re getting
close to three. I’ll have to be changing it
to “three” very soon. After years of neglect,
we’re fixing the heartbreaking failures
from the last administration at the Department
of Veterans Affairs. America must never abandon
our heroes in their hour of need.
We’ll never do that. For that reason,
I proudly signed into law the groundbreaking
VA Accountability Act. (applause)
Thank you. Big deal. And that was another one.
They wouldn’t do it – 40 years, 50 years.
They wouldn’t do it. You couldn’t get it done.
And I won’t blame unions and I won’t blame civil service.
I won’t blame any of it. But, man,
was there power against it. It was tough and I got it done.
(applause) Now somebody mistreats you
or mistreats people in the VA and we know what happens, right?
It’s called, “You’re fired.” (applause)
Stand up, please. Stand up. There is the man
that implements it. “You’re fired. Get out of here.
Get out of here.” (applause) You couldn’t fire anyone
for virtually any reason. They could do anything. So we have
the Accountability Act. And we’ve removed
more than 7,600 bad employees who failed to give our vets the care
they so richly deserve – 7,600. (applause)
Think of that. They were treating
some of them – you know, most of them are fantastic, but some of them
were treating our people, our great heroes so badly.
Sadistic, terrible people. They were terrible people
and they’re gone. They’re fired. They would never
have been fired – 7,600. I didn’t know you were
that vicious to get rid of that many, huh?
(laughter) And everyone deserves
to be out, right? Good. That was a big deal.
That was a hard one to get. (applause)
And, as I said – and something that I guess
I’m most proud of because – I don’t know, Accountability
was very important. Some people think
it was as important – maybe not. But most significantly, the VA reforms –
we did the Veterans Choice. And that’s – I don’t know
which was more difficult. They were pretty much equal. But since I took office,
nearly 3 million veterans have been able to choose
a private doctor in their own community.
And have you ever seen – and this is a great tribute
to the people at the VA – the people
and the leadership of the VA. I don’t hear
these horror stories. You know, I used to see –
as growing up, I’d see, “VA, VA, VA.” I don’t want to, you know –
well, let me find some wood. Wait. (laughter) (The President knocks
on wooden desk.) (laughter)
I’m not hearing bad stories. I’m hearing all good stories.
(applause) But the fake news will go out and they’ll find somebody
in the system. (laughter)
They’ll find somebody. They’ll find somebody
in this giant medical system – the largest system
in the world, by far. They’re going to find somebody
that wasn’t treated perfectly. And he’ll be on the top
of the news tonight. “We have breaking news.”
(laughter) We’ve also slashed
wait times at the VA by more than 33 percent.
That’s a great thing. (applause)
And the care is better. More importantly,
the care is even better. A recent study published
in the Journal of American Medical Association found that wait times
are now shorter for primary care at the VA than at private
sector doctors and hospitals. How about that? (applause)
Good job. Say hello to our friend.
Tell him he’s doing a good job. He’s done some job.
What a job all of you have done. To improve
the efficiency at the VA, I signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement
and Modernization Act. You know what that is.
So far this fiscal year, the VA has processed
nearly 1.2 million claims for compensation and increased the number of
appeals decisions by 70 percent compared to two years ago, when I really
started doing this. That’s a big number.
(applause) We are modernizing
your medical records to begin a seamless transition from the Department of Defense
into the VA – something that they just
said they couldn’t do. You know that, right? They said, “We can’t do it.
It’s just too complicated.” We did it. The VA has also
cut opioid prescriptions by 30 percent over
the last two and a half years – (applause) – and we’re committed
to defeating the opioid epidemic in America. And I have instructed
all of our people that give so many grants
to lots of geniuses all over the country, I said, “Find a pain killer
that’s non-addictive. Get a pain killer that,
when you break your arm and you go to the hospital, you don’t come out of the
hospital addicted to opioids. Get a pain killer
that’s non-addictive.” And we’re closer
than you think, right? We’re closer than you think.
(applause) Our veterans are seeing
dramatic improvements in the quality of care
across the board. Patients’ trust has increased – I mean, you look at the trust
that the patients give – increased at 92 percent
of VA medical centers. Ninety-two percent increase
at the medical centers. And we will not rest
until we reach 100 percent. And we’ll get there, too.
We’ll get there. (applause) Probably there already.
Probably we’re there already. No issue facing our veterans
is more urgent than ending the national
crisis of veterans suicide. My administration –
(applause) – is determined to do everything
in our power to save the lives of our heroes. And if you think about
what’s going on, we have a new – I guess you’d call it a drug –
that came out. Johnson & Johnson. And I know you’re dealing
very strongly with them. I think they should
make a contribution to the United States of America. But they have something that,
whatever it may do, it really takes
that horrible anxiety – whatever causes somebody to be
so desperate to commit to suicide.
You take it; it’s an inhaler. And you take it,
and its results are incredible. And I don’t know long term,
but it really – it really has an incredible
effect on a lot of people. And I’ve instructed
the top officials to go out and get as much of it as you can
from Johnson & Johnson. And I think they should make –
they’ve done so well in this country,
and they’ve made so much money, I think they should
give it to us for free. (applause) Give it a shot.
(applause) Give it a shot.
No, but it’s incredible. Actually it’s –
it does something – something pretty amazing. It’s new.
And it’s had a tremendous – and it’s been approved. And I guess it’s been
fully approved. Right?
It’s gone through the process. And it’s gone through
a long process and it’s been fully approved. We think that’s going to have
a great impact. We’ve secured a record
$8.6 billion for mental health services. (applause)
And we opened – that’s a record. We opened
the White House VA Hotline to help ensure no claim ever
again falls through the cracks. I mean, a lot of claims
were having a lot of problems, going on for years.
We work it out. The VA is now providing same-day
emergency mental health care and mental health screenings to every patient
that walks through the door. It’s incredible the difference
between now and three years ago. To end the tragedy
of veteran suicide, it will require
government and society at all levels working together. We have to work together
with a lot of different groups, a lot of people. And a lot of progress
is being made, but going to be made.
Things are happening. We must strive
to build communities that truly serve, support, and protect our veterans
from the very first moment they return to civilian life.
It’s an incredible adjustment. That’s exactly what we aim
to achieve with the PREVENTS Initiative.
You know what the PREVENTS Initiative is – a task force
created earlier this year to unify the efforts
of government, business, and nonprofit groups. We want to build on proven
strategies, like the AMVETS HEAL – you know what AMVETS HEAL – you know what it is;
you told me about it – Program. (applause) An amazing partnership
with the VA that has served over 600 families
in crisis in just the last year, without a single life
lost to suicide. Not one.
(applause) To every veteran
who is facing this struggle, I want you to know
that you are not alone. We are with you. You are not forgotten –
not at all forgotten. We’re with you all the way.
And you are not beaten. You will overcome,
you will prevail, you will triumph,
and you will thrive. You will thrive.
A lot of progress has been made. So many different things
we’re making progress in. Millions of Americans
are right by your side, and we are with you
every single step of the way. One of those Americas is – Americans – is someone that you know very well:
Jim Pidgeon, a Navy veteran and former
National Commander of AMVETS. Jim? Where’s Jim?
(applause) Come on up here, Jim.
Come on up here, Jim. For the past
1,257 consecutive days, Jim has challenged Americans
to join him in doing 22 push-ups – don’t challenge me
– (laughter) – don’t make me do that – representing the number
of veterans whose lives – think of that, 22 –
representing – that’s the number of
suicides a day. Can you believe it? I heard that number and I said,
“It can’t be possible.” You would think a year, a month.
A day. Nobody can believe it. Nobody believes that, Jim. Thousands of patriots have
joined him in raising awareness, and together they are summoning
the national will to act. And I want to thank, Jim.
Jim, say a few words, please. (applause)
Great job. Mr. Pidgeon: Thank you,
Mr. President. It’s an honor to be here. I would not be able to do this
without the support, the love, and the prayers
of my beautiful wife, Paulette. (applause) The President: Good. Thank you. Mr. Pidgeon: Thank you. The President: He’s got
strong arms. (laughter) I just tapped them.
It’s like a piece of steel. (laughter) Thank you, Jim. No one deserves
the blessings of freedom more than the heroes who risk
their lives to defend it. For this reason,
my administration has worked aggressively to boost
veterans employment, and we’re setting records.
Since my election, we have reduced the number
of unemployed veterans by 37 percent.
That’s pretty good. (applause) Veterans unemployment
has reached the lowest level ever recorded.
You ever hear that? That’s big. Same thing with
African American unemployment. Same thing with
Asian unemployment. Same thing with
Hispanic unemployment. Same thing with
many other groups. It’s been amazing.
To every employer in America, we say: If
you are looking for a worker of unrivaled skill,
integrity, and devotion, all you have to do
is hire a veteran. That’s what’s happening
and they’re doing it. (applause)
They’re doing it. I have a friend who’s been
doing it lately, and he said, “Why didn’t I do this
25 years ago?” I said, “That’s your problem.”
(laughter) He was very happy. Every service member
has the right to return to civilian life
with dignity and security, and that’s what’s happening. Driven by this core principle,
we have helped 30,000 veterans find permanent housing
over the last two years. Thirty thousand.
(applause) We have also expanded
the GI Bill so that veterans
can use their benefits to get an education
at any point in their lifetime – a crucial reform to expand
opportunity to veterans in every stage
of their career. That’s a big thing.
(applause) And today, I am proud
to announce that I am taking
executive action to ensure that
our wounded warriors are not saddled with mountains
of student debt. In a few moments,
I will sign a memorandum directing the Department
of Education to eliminate every penny
of federal student loan debt owed by American veterans who are completely
and permanently disabled. (applause) Incredible. Nobody can complain
about that, right? Nobody can
complain about that. The debt of these
disabled veterans will be entirely erased.
It’ll be gone. (applause)
And you’ll sleep well tonight. Altogether, this action will
wipe out an average of $30,000 in debt owed by more
than 25,000 eligible veterans who have made immense
sacrifices – the ultimate sacrifice,
in many – in many ways, for our nation. They have made a sacrifice
that’s so great. And they’re such
incredible people. And they never complain.
They never complain. That’s hundreds of millions
of dollars in student debt held by our severely
wounded warriors. It’s gone forever.
(applause) I want to thank Secretary DeVos
for her leadership and making
veteran debt forgiveness a top priority for
the Department of Education. Betsy, thank you very much. (applause)
Stand up, Betsy. Stand up. (applause) And there will be
no federal income tax on the forgiven debts.
So that’s really big stuff. (applause) It’s all passed.
It’s all passed. All we have to do
is sign it, which we’re going to do right
at that beautiful desk, okay? (applause)
All we have to do. Today, I’m also calling upon
all 50 states to immediately waive all
applicable state taxes as well. The state taxes, hopefully,
will be going away very quickly. Most of the states have
already agreed to do that. (applause) Joining us today is one
of the many American heroes who will benefit from
this action, Katherine Castle. Amazingly, Katherine served
in three different branches of the Armed
Forces: the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force.
Wow. You’re going to have to tell me
which is the best, please. (laughter) I want to know
which is the best. Which is the best? Don’t – don’t say it.
Don’t say it. I might – she may say it
and I’ll be in big trouble. Please say a few words,
Katherine. Thank you very much.
Thank you. Ms. Castle: Thank you,
everybody. This is an amazing relief
on my family, as well as, I know, many thousands
of veterans as well. Thank you. The President: Thank you
very much, Katherine. After two tours in Iraq, Katherine developed multiple
serious health conditions – very, very serious –
related to her service, including significant
lung problems. Despite these obstacles,
Karen [Katherine] is now pursuing a degree
at the University of Nevada. Katherine, we are really
profoundly grateful for your service
and for your immense sacrifice. You’ve been incredible.
And thank you. And it’s great to have
gotten to know you. And everybody in this room
is very proud of you. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Katherine. (applause) Veterans like Katherine
who have made such enormous sacrifices
for our country should not be asked
to pay any more. Rather, it is America
who owes our heroes a supreme debt of gratitude. (applause)
So that’s the way we feel. Across oceans, jungles,
mountains, and deserts, in battlefields and enemy camps
across the globe, our veterans fought and bled
to vanquish our enemies and preserve America’s
birthright of freedom. Our country, our liberty,
our families, our homes, our safety,
our very lives – everything that matters
and everyone who we hold dear – are sacred,
and just sacred to us, and secured by the grace of God and the immortal courage
of those who serve. The story
of the American veteran – and I call them
the “American warrior,” because that’s what they are;
they’re great warriors – is the story
of the American nation. You have written our history,
shaped our identity, forged our destiny,
marched us to glory, and always planted the righteous
flag of American victory. (applause) You have filled
our enemies with dread, you have filled
our friends with hope, and you have filled
our American heart with fierce patriotic pride.
Because of you, America is safe. Because of you,
America is strong. Because of you, America is free.
And because of you, America will forever remain
the bravest, mightiest, and greatest nation
on the face of the Earth. Thank you.
(applause) Thank you. Because of you.
You. Because of you. I would now like to ask AMVETS’s
leaders to come forward; Secretary DeVos – please come forward; Deputy Secretary Byrne,
Governor Bevin, Sergeant Katherine Castle,
and Sergeant Nick Stefanovic – to join me on stage as I sign
the presidential memorandum facilitating the cancellation
of student loan debt for 25,000 of our most
severely disabled veterans. (applause) And with today’s order,
we express the everlasting love and loyalty
of a truly grateful nation. God bless our veterans,
and God bless America. (applause)
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much.
(The memorandum is signed.) Thank you very much,