WASHINGTON, May 26 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Saturday called on Americans to honor military veterans and uphold "the ideals for which so many patriots have fought and died."
In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president noted many Americans will take "a well-earned moment to relax" this weekend but he said Memorial Day is "more than a three-day weekend."
"In town squares and national cemeteries, in public services and moments of quiet reflection, we will honor those who loved their country enough to sacrifice their own lives for it," he said.
"Even as we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, we reaffirm our commitment to care for those who served alongside them -- the veterans who came home," Obama said. "This includes our newest generation of veterans, from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We have to serve them and their families as well as they have served us: By making sure that they get the healthcare and benefits they need; by caring for our wounded warriors and supporting our military families; and by giving veterans the chance to go to college, find a good job, and enjoy the freedom that they risked everything to protect.
"No words can ever bring back a loved one who has been lost," the president said. "No ceremony can do justice to their memory. No honor will ever fill their absence.
"But on Memorial Day, we come together as Americans to let these families and veterans know that they are not alone," he said. "We give thanks for those who sacrificed everything so that we could be free. And we commit ourselves to upholding the ideals for which so many patriots have fought and died."
Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will join Gold Star families Monday at Arlington National Cemetery and then join Vietnam veterans and their families at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
"And we'll be calling on you -- the American people -- to join us in thanking our Vietnam veterans in your communities," the president said.
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