President Bush at Arlington Cemetery

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President Bush visits Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day.

NEAL CONAN, host:

Earlier today the president of the United States visited Arlington National Cemetery. On a warm, sunny morning he spoke with members of the military, veterans and family members. On this Memorial Day the president said, "I stand before you as Commander in Chief and try to tell you how proud I am."

President GEORGE W. BUSH: A few moments ago I placed a wreath upon the tombs of three brave Americans who gave their lives in service to our nation. The names of these honored are known only to the creator who delivered them home from the anguish of war, but their valor is known to us all. It's the same valor that endured the stinging cold of Valley Forge. It is the same valor that planted the proud colors of the great nation on a mountain top on Iwo Jima. It is the same valor that charged fearlessly through the assault of enemy fire from the mountains of Afghanistan to the deserts of Iraq. It is the valor that has defined the armed forces of the United States of America throughout our history.

Today we gather to honor those who gave everything to preserve our way of life. The men and women we honor here served for liberty. They sacrificed for liberty, and in countless acts of courage they died for liberty. From faraway lands they were returned to cemeteries like this one where broken hearts receive their broken bodies. They found peace beneath the white headstones in the land they fought to defend. It is a solemn reminder of the cost of freedom that the number of headstones in a place such as this grows with every new Memorial Day.

In a world where freedom is constantly under attack and in a world where our security is challenged, the joys of liberty are often purchased by the sacrifices of those who served a cause greater than themselves. Today we mourn and remember all who have given their lives in the line of duty. Today we lift up our hearts, especially to those who've fallen in the past year.

CONAN: President Bush spoke with the country in the sixth year of war in Iraq and Afghanistan that has cost the lives of 4,584 American servicemen and women. He spoke today at Arlington National Cemetery.

(Soundbite of music "Taps")

CONAN: This is Talk of the Nation from NPR News.

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