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President Keynotes, Honors the Veterans' Service

By Gene Harper
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 1996 – President Clinton said the United States will pursue answers and relief for Persian Gulf illness sufferers in remarks on Veterans Day at Arlington (Va.) National Cemetery.

"I want to assure all of you that we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to investigate these cases and to provide our Gulf War veterans with the medical care they need," Clinton said. "There are many research projects now under way. There are mysteries still unanswered, and we must do more. But the United States will not forget the people who have served us, and we will discharge our obligations to those who served in the Persian Gulf."

 

He noted an independent presidential advisory commission on health concerns of Persian Gulf veterans and their spouses and children will report its findings by year's end.

 

The president again assured the fullest accounting for Americans still missing in action. "Those who do battle for our nation must never be left behind," he said.

 

Clinton also paid tribute to active duty service members around the world. "Beyond the headlines and hot spots, our servicemen and women are working every day  ... to keep our forces strong and our readiness razor-sharp," he said.

 

He also gave special recognition to his recent presidential opponent, citing contributions "one American veteran in particular has made to our nation."  

 

"Bob Dole was a 21-year-old second lieutenant serving in the Po Valley of Italy when a German shell struck him down in battle," Clinton said. "He would bear the burden of his severe injury from that day forward for the rest of his life. But he refused to withdraw from the world and instead dedicated his life serving the American people."

 

Clinton pointed to the future of America's defense. "We must ensure that America remains the world's strongest force for peace and freedom, for security and prosperity," he said. "We must strengthen and expand the alliances that have brought us thus far. We must continue to reduce the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction. We must confront the violent conflicts rooted in ethnic, religious and racial hatreds that so bedevil the world today. We must stop the global scourges of organized crime, drug-trafficking and especially terrorism.

 

"No words can repay the debt of gratitude we owe to the men and women who have stood up for our freedom," Clinton concluded. "But we can honor the memory of our veterans best by remaining the best kind of Americans we can be and keeping our nation strong and secure -- one nation under God -- to fulfill the vision of a better world that so many of them, our veterans, gave so much to create."

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