And because thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have suffered from Traumatic Brain Injury, one of the signature injuries of these wars, this budget improves services for cognitive injuries. And many with TBI have never been evaluated by a physician. And because such injuries can often have long-term impacts that only show up down the road, this funding will help ensure they receive the ongoing care they need.
Because we all share the shame of 154,000 veterans going homeless on any given night, this budget also funds a pilot program with not-for-profit organizations to make sure that veterans at risk of losing their homes have a roof over their heads. And we will not rest until we reach a day when not one single veteran falls into homelessness. (Applause.)
Finally, this budget recognizes that our veterans deserve something more — an equal chance to reach for the very dream they defend. It’s the chance America gave to my grandfather, who enlisted after Pearl Harbor and went on to march in Patton’s Army. When he came home, he went to college on the GI Bill, which made it possible for him and so many veterans like him to live out their own version of the American Dream. And now it’s our turn to help guarantee this generation the same opportunity that the greatest generation enjoyed by providing every returning service member with a real chance to afford a college education. And by providing the resources to effectively implement the Post-9/11 GI Bill, that is what this budget does.
And even as we care for veterans who’ve served this country, Bob Gates has helped us design a budget that does more for our soldiers, more for their families, and more for our military. It fully protects and properly funds the increase to our Army and Marine force strength and halts reductions in the Air Force and Navy, allowing fewer deployments and more time between each. It builds on care for our wounded warriors and on our investments in medical research and development. It deepens our commitment to improve the quality of life for military families — military child care, spousal support, and education — because they’re deployed when their loved one gets deployed.
On my visit to Baghdad this week, I was inspired all over again by the men and women in our armed services. They’re proud of the work they’re doing. And we are all deeply proud of them. And through their service, they are living out the ideals that stir something deep within the American character — honor, sacrifice, and commitment to a higher purpose and to one another.
That, after all, is what led them to wear the uniform in the first place — their unwavering belief in America. And now we must serve them as well as they’ve served us. And as long as we are fortunate to have leaders like Secretary Gates and Secretary Shinseki, and as long as I am Commander-in-Chief, I promise that we will work tirelessly to meet that mission and make sure that all those who wear this nation’s uniform know this: When you come home to America, America will be there for you.
Thank you very much, everybody. (Applause.)
(Source: White House)