"This generation of service members, this 9/11 generation, has borne the burden of our security during a hard decade of sacrifice," Obama said at a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery,
The president said their "service has been selfless, their accomplishments have been extraordinary."
"In Iraq, they have battled a brutal insurgency, trained new security forces and given the Iraqi people the opportunity to forge a better future," Obama said. "In Afghanistan, they have pushed back the Taliban, decimated al-Qaida and delivered the ultimate justice to Osama bin Laden."
And with allies, he said, U.S. Forces helped end Moammar Gadhafi's dictatorship in Libya.
Because of service members' "incredible efforts, we can stand here today and say with confidence the tide of war is receding," Obama said.
He noted more than 5 million Americans have served in the armed forces in the past decade, including 3 million who have joined since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
"That is something for America to be proud of," Obama said. "That is the spirit America needs now -- a stronger, new spirit of service and of sacrifice, that spirit that says, 'What can I do to help? What can I do to serve?' That spirit that says, 'When my country is challenged, I will do my part to meet that challenge.'"
Obama repeated his call for businesses to hire veterans.
"Just as our greatest generation left a country recovering from [the] Depression and returned home to build the largest middle class in history, so now will the 9/11 generation play a pivotal role in rebuilding America's opportunity and prosperity in the 21st century," he said.