President Obama welcomed the end of America's combat mission in Afghanistan Saturday, lauding the sacrifices made by the men and women of the U.S. armed forces and saying he's "proud to help welcome them home."
"On Monday, I'll be visiting our troops at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey to salute them for their service and thank them for their sacrifices," Mr. Obama said in his weekly address. "Since our nation was attacked on 9/11, these men and women, like so many others in uniform, have met every mission we've asked of them. They deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. In more than a decade of war, this 9/11 Generation has worked with the Afghan people to help them reclaim their communities and prevent terrorist attacks against our own country."
The president said the war in Afghanistan is coming to a "responsible end," but he added that the war's end doesn't signal "the end of challenges to our security."
"We'll continue to work with Afghans to make sure their country is stable and secure and is never again used to launch attacks against America," he said. "The troops I'll visit on Monday have been part of our mission to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL in Iraq and Syria. They've been supporting our efforts in West Africa to fight the Ebola epidemic and save lives."
Mr. Obama urged Americans to keep service members in their thoughts over the holiday season. "Even as some are coming home for the holidays, many more will be far from their families, who sacrifice along with them," he said.
In the weekly Republican address Saturday, Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, previewed the agenda of the incoming Congress, which will see Republicans in control of the Senate for the first time during Mr. Obama's presidency.
"Republicans are also committed to protecting the rights of the minority party - a drastic shift from the past few years in Washington," he said. "Amendments will be encouraged, not ignored. The practice of passing massive bills, just to see what's in them, will be a thing of the past. And open debate and strong oversight will become the norm."