Veterans Honored at White House Dinner

Seventy-eight veterans welcomed to dinner commemorating end of war in Iraq.
2:46 | 03/02/12

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Transcript for Veterans Honored at White House Dinner
State dinner at the White House is usually reserved for the most distinguished and dignitaries -- -- that tradition pageantry and Tom was about a very different guest list this week. -- -- -- that was there. President Obama welcomed 78 veterans to a first of its kind state style dinner commemorating the end of the war in Iraq. And a culture that celebrates fame and fortune. -- are not. Necessarily household names. -- something more. The patriots who served in our name. Ever wonder why were you selected. I do I mean each one of us represents about 121000. Men and women who served. It is it's it's very humbling I'm reminded every day when I put on my prosthesis now staff Sargent Eric Alva was the very first American injured and rock the memories of war will always be there. And and it's something you'll never forget in the nine years of the war our country has changed and our military has to. When all the enlisted as a marine Don't Ask Don't Tell was law my whole time in the service sent. -- -- I was I was a -- man. When this war started women weren't permitted to serve in combat today the government is moving to change that has served one tour -- Was it violent twenty millimeter rocket army Sargent Sarah Adams a single mother received a purple heart while deployed both my children love the -- It's giving me. Great values to give them. But it's hard to rebuild the war that began with 9/11 changed so many lives Sargent John Mark Gladstone with the schoolboy in Ghana. I -- that it is a calling why did you feel this this calling to a country that wasn't done. Pat's point more that Thailand papers it was a country that wasn't -- but then if you -- -- simple -- -- somewhat. You that you're getting even if -- connection with that person regardless of -- -- -- age race you know. Sexual preference on and then you know that's that's good to know what this country. That's the character and action that you see. In Iraq Afghanistan or ever necessarily these forces are deployed or are British streets so I think that's. That's what again we take away that's why he answered the call issue are asking them land and was willing to risk his life and serve in harm's way. And even as they celebrate the end of one war for many of these honorees like staff Sargent. Their service will continue in Afghanistan -- built huge celebration want to go or forced back. You know it's such a humbling experience speaking with these veterans. I was really surprised by something that they told me. Which isn't as much as they enjoyed this big White House dinner -- means the most of them are all those little expressions of gratitude. A handshake a thank you from a stranger.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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