After first addressing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the government’s efforts to contain the damages, President Obama gave a pep rally-esque speech to servicemen and women at Pensacola's Naval Air Station and said that a grateful nation has their back.
“As you begin your careers, as you look ahead to a life of service, I want you to know on behalf of the American people that your nation thanks you, your nation appreciates you, your nation will stand with you every step of the way,” he said.
Obama reiterated that while he will not hesitate to use force to protect the American people or the nation’s interest, he will also not risk American lives “unless it’s absolutely necessary.”
“And if it is necessary, we are going to back you up to the hilt with the strategy and the clear mission and the equipment and the support that you need to get the job done right,” he said.
The president touted the work of First Lady Michelle Obama to reach out to military families to ease the burden during deployments.
“When a loved one goes to war, that family goes to war,” Obama said. “That's why we're working to improve family readiness and increase pay and benefits, working to give you more time between deployments, increasing support to help spouses and families deal with the stresses and the separation of war.”
The president said that supporting military families is not just the task of the government.
“One percent of Americans may be fighting our wars, but 100 percent of Americans need to be supporting our men and women and their families in uniform. You guys shouldn't be carrying the entire burden,” he said.
In a speech free of politics, Obama noted that there isn’t a “military world” and “civilian world” here in the United States and said that challenges must be confronted with unity.
“We're all Americans,” he said. “There's not Democrats and Republicans when you take the long view. We're all Americans. We all rise and fall together. And we all need to do our part, to get through the challenges we face as a people.”
-Karen Travers and Sunlen Miller