On Memorial Day, Obama Honors Sacrifices Of Service Members : The Two-Way The president called Arlington National Cemetery "more than a final resting place for fallen heroes." It is, he said, "a reflection of America itself."
NPR logo On Memorial Day, Obama Honors Sacrifices Of Service Members

On Memorial Day, Obama Honors Sacrifices Of Service Members

Americans are paying tribute today, Memorial Day, to the sacrifices of service members in the nation's earliest conflicts and the newest.

Army veteran Bernie Klemanek, of Mineral, Va., stops to salute his fallen comrades on Memorial Day during an early morning visit Monday to "The Wall" at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington. J. David Ake/AP hide caption

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J. David Ake/AP

Army veteran Bernie Klemanek, of Mineral, Va., stops to salute his fallen comrades on Memorial Day during an early morning visit Monday to "The Wall" at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington.

J. David Ake/AP

President Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, just outside Washington.

President Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington, Va. Olivier Douliery/EPA /Landov hide caption

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Olivier Douliery/EPA /Landov

President Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington, Va.

Olivier Douliery/EPA /Landov

Some 5,000 people were at the grounds of the cemetery, which Obama called "more than a final resting place for fallen heroes." It is, he said, "a reflection of America itself. A reflection of our history, the wars we've waged for democracy, the peace we've laid to preserve it.

"It is a reflection of our diversity, of people from different races and creeds who fought for the ideals that bind us as one nation."

Crowds stand for the national anthem during the Memorial Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters /Landov hide caption

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Jonathan Ernst/Reuters /Landov

Crowds stand for the national anthem during the Memorial Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery.

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters /Landov

The president noted that this is the first Memorial Day since the end of the war in Afghanistan. But, he added, "we are acutely aware, as we speak, our men and women in uniform still stand watch and still serve, and still sacrifice around the world."

Tom Nicholson of Gretna, Neb., visits graves at Arlington National Ceremony ahead of Memorial Day ceremonies. His son, Marine Capt. Kevin Nicholson, died serving in Afghanistan in 2014. Jacquelyn Martin/AP hide caption

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Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Tom Nicholson of Gretna, Neb., visits graves at Arlington National Ceremony ahead of Memorial Day ceremonies. His son, Marine Capt. Kevin Nicholson, died serving in Afghanistan in 2014.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP