As the United States formally ended its combat mission in Iraq, President Barack Obama said restoring the country's economy is his most urgent task.
"Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work," Obama said in his 18-minute address to the nation from his Oval Office of the White House.
"To strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve, and all our workers the skills that they need to compete in a global economy," he said.
He said the US must jumpstart industries that create jobs, and end its dependence on foreign oil.
"We must unleash the innovation that allows new products to roll off our assembly lines, and nurture the ideas that spring from our entrepreneurs," he said. Acknowledgingthat this will be difficult, Obama said in the days to come, it must be America's central mission as a people, and his central responsibility as President.
"Partof that responsibility is making sure that we honour our commitments to those who have served our country with such valour. As long as I am President, we will maintain the finest fighting force that the world has ever known, and do whatever it takes to serve our veterans as well as they have served us," he said.
"Thisis a sacred trust. That is why we have already made one of the largest increases in funding for veterans in decades. We are treating the signature wounds of today's wars post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, while providing the health care and benefits that all of our veterans have earned," Obama said.