The following is a copy of a speech by retired U.S. Navy Admiral John B. Nathman at the Democratic National Convention.
Today and every day, our military men and women serve our country with their actions and deeds. The veterans standing with me, all veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, are part of a proud legacy—from those who defended us in the earliest days of our country to the "greatest generation" in World War II to those who served and sacrificed in Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, the Balkans; anywhere they've been needed. Today's servicemen and women have been called the "next great generation," and they live up to their calling in everything they do. They've gone beyond the call of duty in every way one can imagine. I served in the United States Navy for thirty-seven years. As a fighter pilot, as commander of the Naval Air Forces, and as vice chief of the Navy—I've heard plenty of folks praise the military and thank us for our service. We appreciate the gratitude.
And since the day he took office, the president has demonstrated that he respects and understands the challenges for those who wear a uniform. For every branch of the service, for those in civilian clothes or the uniform, President Obama gives us a foreign policy worthy of the men and women on this stage, to ensure that wherever they serve, their uniform and dedication is respected, and that their service makes a difference for America.
For every veteran who comes home wounded, the president invested in the VA and expanded care to more than a half million returning troops who deserve that care. For every family waiting at home, anxious every time the phone rings, the president, the first lady, and Dr. Jill Biden are engaging whole communities to support those families. And for every man and woman coming back to an uncertain future, the president strives to help veterans apply their talents, expand their skills and get good jobs. Last year, he challenged American businesses to hire 100,000 veterans and military spouses. He and the first lady got businesses across the private sector to sign on, supported by tax credits for hiring our veterans and wounded warriors. Last month, these same participating businesses reported that they've exceeded the goal by 25 percent— ahead of schedule—and now they're committing to bring on a quarter million more new veteran jobs.
And it's not just about finding jobs today; it's about giving these men and women the chance to learn the skills for the jobs of tomorrow. That's why I'm proud that the president is offering veterans the best education benefits since the original GI Bill. This education is something that can and will change their lives, and it guarantees American progress, vitality and growth.
My parents were members of the "greatest generation." My dad joined the Army Air Corps in 1940 as an enlisted man fixing bombers in World War II. He served a career in the Strategic Air Command. My mother was a volunteer for the USO. Later, as a widow, she raised five children. In the years since, I've been privileged to lead and serve with members of this "next great generation." I see in them tough, bright, courageous, inspiring men and women. I see this country's future leaders. These service members have been to some of the bleakest corners of the globe. They know how good this country is. They know firsthand what America means to the world and they are going to bring us to the next great moment in our nation's history, because president Obama is standing with them.
Tonight, we are standing here with you. We are standing with our president. The men and women on this stage are only a small sample of this amazing generation. Americans from Texas, Virginia, Florida,Oregon, New York, Nevada, Hawaii, North Carolina and all across this great country. So for them and everyone they represent, please stand with me in saying thank you.