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US Remembers War Dead on Memorial Day

  • VOA News

President Barack Obama, center, speaks at a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., May 25, 2015.

President Barack Obama, center, speaks at a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., May 25, 2015.

People in the United States are honoring Monday those who died in military service with the annual Memorial Day holiday.

While many communities across the country honored war dead with parades, patriotic concerts and ceremonies, others marked the day with quiet reflection on those who have lost their lives in military service.

President Barack Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns as part of his observance of Memorial Day. The ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery was attended by dignitaries, military personnel and families of the fallen.

Obama spoke about the men and women who have died to secure the United States' liberty and keep its citizen safe. He also noted that this is the first Memorial Day since the war in Afghanistan came to an end. The president said Afghanistan remains a dangerous place and that fewer than 10,000 troops remain in Afghanistan to train and assist Afghan forces.

WATCH: President Obama at Arlington Cemetery

Rolling Thunder

On Sunday, thousands of motorcycle riders rolled through Washington for the annual Rolling Thunder rally to call attention to prisoners of war and those missing in action.

WATCH: Katherine Gypson's report on Rolling Thunder

History

The first large-scale observance of what was originally called Decoration Day took place at Arlington cemetery in 1868, three years after the bloody U.S. Civil War that killed more than 600,000 people.

Many Americans have the day off from work and school, and the three-day weekend is seen as the unofficial start of the summer vacation season. Many families have picnics or make trips to the beach, parks or campgrounds.

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