This is historical material “frozen in time”. The website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work.

Search form

President Obama Speaks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention

See President Obama's address to the 116th Veterans of Foreign Wars convention.

Yesterday, President Obama traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to speak at the 116th Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) convention.

The President addressed a crowd of thousands of veterans to discuss veterans’ health care, the performance of the VA, civilian and military relations, and American foreign policy and leadership abroad. 


“VFW, our nation endures because citizens like you put on the uniform and serve to keep us free,” the President said, praising the dedication and service of American veterans. “We endure because your families serve and stay strong on the home front. We endure because the freedoms and values you protected are now defended by a new generation.”


President Obama went on to discuss his view of American foreign leadership: “Instead of rushing into another conflict, I believe that sending our sons and daughters into harm’s way must always be a last resort, and that before we put their lives on the line, we should exhaust every alternative. That’s what we owe our troops.”

And he also talked about what we owe our veterans when they come home. “Real strength is measured by how we take care of our veterans,” he said, which is why the Obama administration has worked to reduce wait times at the VA and to make VA benefits available to more than 2 million veterans who didn’t have them before.

During his remarks, the President also took a few moments to honor the five service members killed in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

"We are grateful to the courageous police who stopped the rampage and saved lives. And we draw strength from yet another American community that has come together with an unmistakable message to those who would try to do us harm: We will not give in to fear. You cannot divide Americans."

— President Obama on the shooting in Chattanooga

Read the President’s full remarks at the VFW convention in Pittsburgh here.

See what the Obama administration is doing to help veterans here.

See more on Joining Forces — First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden’s effort to support military families — here.