Americans are observing their Memorial Day holiday, a day set aside to honor the nation's war dead. President George W. Bush paid tribute to the fallen at a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
On a damp, dreary holiday morning, the president laid a wreath at America's largest military cemetery. It is a place filled with the seemingly endless grave markers of those who gave their lives for their country, each marked on this holiday with a small U.S. flag.
Some of the graves date back to the American revolution. Others are fresh, the graves of military men and women killed in recent conflicts.
The president said they all died in the service of their country and the cause of freedom. "Today we honor the men and women who have worn the nation's uniform and were last seen on duty, from the battles of Iraq and Afghanistan to the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, to the trials of World War, to the struggles that made us a nation," Mr. Bush said.
His face was somber as the president told some of their stories, and praised their sacrifice. He said the nation's war dead did not fight for glory, but to fulfill a duty. "In every generation of Americans, we have found courage equal to the tasks of our country. The farms and small towns and city streets of this land have always produced free citizens who assumed the discipline and duty of military life," Mr. Bush said.
President Bush said time and time again, that these men and women showed the moral force of democracy is stronger than any tyrant. "The widow of one of our marines in Iraq made this point very simply. 'There is good and evil in the world,' she said, 'that is what is going on, and he was the good,'" he said.
The president said the nation honors many good people on Memorial Day, Americans who were willing to die for their country and their cause.