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President Obama pays tribute to 107-year-old veteran

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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Barack Obama places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, during a Veterans Day ceremony.

Updated Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 | 10:32 a.m.

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Richard Overton the oldest living WWII veteran, listens during a Veterans Day ceremony attended by President Barack Obama on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, at Arlington National Cemetery.

Veterans Day

President Barack Obama and Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, left, lower their heads after the president placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, during a Veterans Day ceremony. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill are at left. Launch slideshow »

ARLINGTON, Va. — President Barack Obama on Monday paid tribute to those who have served in the nation's military, including one of the nation's oldest veterans, 107-year-old Richard Overton.

"This is the life of one American veteran, living proud and strong in the land he helped keep free," Obama said during a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Overton rose slowly and stood to loud applause when Obama mentioned his name, then stood a second time at the president's request and drew more applause.

He was among hundreds attending the outdoor ceremony on a crisp, sun-splashed Veteran's Day. Earlier Monday, Overton and other veterans attended a breakfast at the White House.

Obama used his remarks to remind the nation that thousands of service members are still at war in Afghanistan. The war is expected to formally conclude at the end of next year, though the U.S. may keep a small footprint in the country.

Soon, "the longest war in America's history will end," Obama declared.

As the 12-year-old war draws down, Obama said the nation has a responsibility to ensure that the returning troops are the "best cared-for and best respected veterans in the world." The country's obligations to those who served "endure long after the battle ends," he said.

As president, Obama said wanted to see the "best cared-for and best respected veterans in the world."

Obama also noted that it has now been 60 years since the end of the fighting in Korea.

"We join as one people to honor a debt we cannot fully repay," he said.

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