News / USA

Obama Honors US War Dead on Memorial Day

President Obama in wreathlaying ceremony at Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery May 27, 2013
President Obama in wreathlaying ceremony at Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery May 27, 2013
VOA News
Americans are pausing Monday to honor the country's war dead, as the United States observes its annual Memorial Day.

U.S. President Barack Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, just outside Washington.  He recalled the service and character of several military personnel who were killed recently in overseas operations and have been buried at Arlington, the nation's most prominent military cemetery.

"Today, just steps from where these brave Americans lie in eternal peace, we declare as a proud and grateful nation, that their sacrifice will never be forgotten.  And just as we honor them, we hold their families close," Obama said.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, also hosted a breakfast at the White House for families of the fallen.

Communities across the country honored the war dead in a variety of ways.  In New York, Women Air Service Pilots who tested aircraft during World War II were commemorated.

Washington marked the holiday Sunday with thousands of motorcycle riders roaring into the national capital, a Rolling Thunder rally aimed at calling attention to prisoners of war and those missing in action.  

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.
  • President Barack Obama speaks to a visitor at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
  • A couple photograph themselves amongst a sea of flags on Boston Common in Boston, May 26, 2013.
  • Motorcyclists ride across the Memorial Bridge into Washington during the annual Rolling Thunder "Ride for Freedom" parade ahead of Monday's Memorial Day celebration, May 26, 2013.
  • A veteran takes photographs at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, ahead of Memorial Day in Washington, May 26, 2013.
  • Jane Wick, left, and Mary Ann Chubirka wave flags while watching the College Point Memorial Day Parade in New York, May 26, 2013.
  • President Barack Obama talks with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, center, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, left, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, May 27, 2013.
  • Faith Roesch, 6, participates in the the College Point Memorial Day Parade in New York, May 26, 2013.
  • A veteran visits Arlington National Cemetery during the Memorial Day weekend, May 25, 2013. (D. Manis/VOA)

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid