ATLANTA - President Barack Obama spoke at the 95th National Convention of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) in Atlanta Monday afternoon. He was scheduled to leave Atlanta at 4 p.m.
President Barack Obama says the U.S. has made serious progress improving services for veterans but should still be outraged about shortcomings and work to do better.
Obama addressed the annual convention of the Disabled American Veterans in Atlanta. He says it's his final major address to veterans as president.
"I came to your convention in my first term and my second term, along with Michelle," President Obama said at the beginning of his speech. "So it is fitting that my final major address to our nation's veterans, as president, is here at the DAV."
President Obama told attendees that some of the most unforgettable experiences that he's had, have been moments spent with members of the DAV.
"This organization shows us, shows this nation, what it means to be strong," President Obama said.
Air Force One arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport shortly before 1 p.m. on Monday. The presidential motorcade then headed to the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta, where President Obama spoke at the annual event.
The president, who leaves office January, planned to use the appearance to recap how he has tried to help former military members, moving beyond headline-grabbing scandals over lengthy wait-times for veterans seeking medical care. Outrage over those delays cost Obama's first Veterans Affairs secretary, retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki, his job.
Obama says Veterans Affairs has hired more doctors and clinicians since the scandal over long wait times for VA services. He says services are reaching more veterans who live in rural areas through telemedicine. He's touting progress in extending services to disabled and female veterans.
Obama says there are still too many suicides among veterans. He's asking Congress to provide more funds for mental health care. Obama also says the VA claims processing backlog must be further reduced.
Care for America's veterans is a top issue in the presidential campaign, with the nearly 21 million veterans in the U.S. making up a critical voting bloc that Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are vying for in November's election. Both Trump and Clinton spoke at the recent Veterans of Foreign Wars convention.
Ahead of the convention, the White House said Obama would announce overall veteran homelessness has been cut nearly in half, by 47 percent. That's still short of his long-held goal of getting it to zero by 2015. The White House also gives credit to first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden's wife, Jill, for using their initiative on military families to challenge mayors and county officials nationwide to end veterans' homelessness.
Following his speech, President Obama is attending a private fundraiser for Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton.
President Obama returned to Washington, D.C. late Monday afternoon.
The Associated Press contributed to this article