Americans gathered at cemeteries, memorials and monuments nationwide to honor fallen military service members on Memorial Day, at a time when combat in Afghanistan approaches 12 years and the ranks of World War II veterans dwindles. President Barack Obama laid a wreath Monday at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery across the Potomac River from Washington.
“Let us not forget as we gather here today that our nation is still at war,” Obama said.
“When they give their lives, they are still being laid to rest in cemeteries in quiet corners across our country, including here in Arlington,” he said. He told the stories of three soldiers who had died. Each had been devoted to their mission and were praised by others for saving lives.
Earlier in the morning, he and first lady Michelle Obama hosted a breakfast at the White House with “Gold Star” families of service members who have been killed.
Another wreath-laying ceremony was planned at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in New York City. The park is a tribute to President Roosevelt’s famous speech calling for all people to enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
(Photo: President Barack Obama, center, participates in the wreathlaying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns with Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, left, Commander of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 27, 2013, in Arlington, Va. Associated Press/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.)