President Barack Obama has paid tribute to fallen American military
personnel, saying they sacrificed all so the nation might know peace,
opportunity and freedom.
Mr. Obama made the remark Monday on his first Memorial Day national holiday as president.
He attended a solemn event at Arlington National Cemetery, where more
than 300,000 people, including veterans from all the nation's wars, are
buried. The cemetery, with its gently sloping lawns and rows of white
headstones, is a short drive from the White House.
The president said military personnel represent the best in America,
willingly risking their lives for the defense of the country and for
people they have never met.
Before delivering the remarks, the president laid a wreath at the Tomb
of the Unknowns. Three unknown servicemen are buried at the marble
Parades, ceremonies and other special events are being held across the
United States for Memorial Day. The Department of Veterans Affairs says
nearly one-million Americans have died in military service to the
Memorial Day also is the unofficial start of the summer season, and
many Americans spend the day enjoying barbecues and other outdoor
On Sunday, thousands of motorcycle riders from around the country
rallied in Washington for a tribute to military veterans. The "Rolling
Thunder" participants gather in the nation's capital each year to draw
attention to the cases of missing U.S. military personnel and urge
greater support for veterans' causes.