/PRNewswire/ -- Thousands of wartime veterans rose to cheer as General David H. Petraeus, Commander of the U.S. Central Command, was awarded The American Legion's Distinguished Service Medal this morning.
The Legion's National Commander, David K. Rehbein, began his tribute to the Iraqi conflict leader by quoting critics who had declared, "The war is lost," and "The surge will never work."
"Yet," said Rehbein, "General David Petraeus, the chief advocate of the military troop surge and the Commander of the Multi-National Forces Iraq, refused to share this pessimism. He never lost faith in America's fighting men and women. He would be the first to tell you that the credit for the success in Iraq belongs to those who served and are still serving over there."
General Petraeus himself reiterated this point as he accepted The American Legion's medal and in remarks a short time later. He also vowed to wage a vigorous campaign against insurgents in Afghanistan as U.S. forces aid the fragile country in its quest for self-sufficiency and freedom from tyrannical rule.
The award, the veterans' service organization's highest honor, was presented during The American Legion's 91st national convention in Louisville, Ky. this morning, General Petraeus joined fellow convention speaker Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Legion convention's opening ceremonies.
With a current membership of 2.5-million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.
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