Americans are honoring their war dead on this Memorial Day holiday. President Bush spoke for the nation at a ceremony at the country's largest military cemetery.
A lone military bugler saluted his fallen comrades with a mournful song.
President Bush stood at attention with members of the armed forces, veterans and the families of those who have died in service to their country. Mr. Bush looked out at the rows of military graves at Arlington National Cemetery and said, simply, this is a place where valor sleeps.
"All who are buried here understood their duty. They saw a dark shadow on the horizon, and went to meet it," Mr. Bush said. "They understood that tyranny must be met with resolve, and that liberty is always the achievement of courage."
The president said he is in awe of those who sacrifice for freedom. He said America honors them on Memorial Day and every day.
"Our nation is free because of brave Americans like these, who volunteer to confront our adversaries abroad, so we do not have to face them here at home," he said. "Our nation mourns the loss of our men and women in uniform; we will honor them by completing the mission for which they gave their lives - by defeating the terrorists, by advancing the cause of liberty, and by laying the foundation of peace for a generation of young Americans."
The president noted that about 270 military men and women of the more than 2500 killed in the line of duty since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks are buried at Arlington. He said they are a reminder to the nation of the human cost of the war on terror.
Overall, almost 300,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Before his speech, President Bush honored them - and all the nation's military fallen - by placing a wreath at Arlington's Tomb of the Unknowns, which contains the symbolic unidentified remains of several Americans killed on distant battlefields.