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Bush Marks US Memorial Day at National Cemetery

President Bush has paid tribute to America's fallen soldiers, marking the U.S. Memorial Day, when Americans remember servicemen who gave their lives to defend the United States. VOA's Michael Bowman reports.

President Bush traveled to Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington and placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Shortly thereafter, under clear blue skies, the president said that the need to defend liberty is eternal, and the United States has been blessed to have citizens willing to answer the call to arms.

"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," said President Bush. "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 serve a cause greater than themselves."

Mr. Bush added that American servicemen do not revel in the devastation of war, but do not flinch in the face of danger.

This Memorial Day occurs during the seventh-consecutive year America's military has been engaged in foreign combat. More than 4,000 U.S. servicemen have died in Iraq since the United States launched the 2003 invasion to topple Saddam Hussein. More than 500 have perished in Afghanistan since late 2001.

By comparison, the United States suffered more than 400,000 military deaths during World War II, and more than 100,000 during World War I.

Some U.S. military campaigns have enjoyed more domestic backing than others. But Americans are nearly unanimous in their support for U.S. armed-service members and grateful for their sacrifices, regardless of the public's opinion of a particular military conflict.