The wreath, Obama said, was "to remember every service member who has ever worn our nation's uniform."
"On behalf of the American people, I say to you that the memory of your loved one carries on not just in your hearts, but in ours as well. And I assure you that their sacrifice will never be forgotten," Obama said in a speech at the Memorial Amphitheater.
Obama spoke on the "9/11 Generation" who "stepped forward after the towers fell, and in the years since, have stepped into history, writing one of the greatest chapters of military service our country has ever known."
The president also said Sunday was the first Veterans Day in a decade with no American troops fighting and dying in Iraq.
"Thirty-three thousand of our troops have now returned from Afghanistan, and the transition there is under way. After a decade of war, our heroes are coming home. And over the next few years, more than a million service members will transition back to civilian life. They'll take off their uniforms and take on a new and lasting role. They will be veterans," he said.
"On this day, we thank all of our veterans from all of our wars -- not just for your service to this country, but for reminding us why America is and always will be the greatest nation on Earth," Obama said in closing. "God bless you. God bless our veterans. God bless our men and women in uniform. And God bless these United States of America. Thank you very much."