Today President Bush laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. The White House has posted his remarks here. He said:
At our National Cemetery, we’re reminded why America has always been a reluctant warrior. This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, a victory for which more than 400,000 Americans gave their lives. Their courage crossed two oceans, and it conquered tyrants. Some of you here today fought in that war as young men, and we make this pledge to you: America will always honor the character and the achievements of your brave generation. (Applause.)
Today we also remember the Americans who are still missing. We honor them. And our nation is determined to account for all of them. (Applause.)
Another generation is fighting a new war against an enemy that threatens the peace and stability of the world. Across the globe, our military is standing directly between our people and the worst dangers in the world, and Americans are grateful to have such brave defenders. (Applause.) The war on terror has brought great costs. For those who have lost loved ones in Afghanistan and Iraq, today is a day of last letters and fresh tears. Because of the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, two terror regimes are gone forever, freedom is on the march, and America is more secure. (Applause.)
After referring to some of those who have died in our current struggle, he said:
These are the men and women who wear our uniform. These are the men and women who defend our freedom. And these are the men and women who are buried here. As we look across these acres, we begin to tally the cost of our freedom, and we count it a privilege to be citizens of the country served by so many brave men and women. (Applause.) And we must honor them by completing the mission for which they gave their lives, by defeating the terrorists, advancing the cause of liberty, and building a safer world. (Applause.)
A day will come when there will be no one left who knew the men and women buried here. Yet Americans will still come to visit, to pay tribute to the many who gave their lives for freedom, who liberated the oppressed, and who left the world a safer and better place. Today we pray that they have found peace with their Creator, and we resolve that their sacrifice will always be remembered by a grateful nation.
Below is the White House photo of the crowd inside the amphitheatre at Arlington today.