Obama pays tribute to fallen troops

May 28, 2012 at 2:14 PM
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ARLINGTON, Va., May 28 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama Monday honored fallen American troops and noted the United States has ended its role in Iraq and is preparing to pull out of Afghanistan.

"For the first time in nine years, Americans are not fighting or dying in Iraq," Obama said in Memorial Day remarks at Arlington National Cemetery. "We are winding down the war in Afghanistan and our troops will continue to come home."

Obama's remarks came on the first Memorial Day since the end of the war in Iraq and the president's announcement of plans to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Hundreds of people watched as the presidential motorcade made its way through the cemetery and a 21-gun salute greeted the motorcade as it headed to the Tomb of the Unknowns, where Obama placed a large floral wreath on its stand.

The U.S Army Band played the National Anthem, and a lone bugler played Taps.

Paying tribute to those buried at the cemetery, Obama said: "From the jungles of Vietnam to the mountains of Afghanistan, they stepped forward and answered the call. They fought for a home they may never return to, they fought for buddies they would never forget. While their stories may be separated by hundreds of years and thousands of miles, they rest here together side-by-side, row-by-row, because each of them love this country and everything it stands for more than life itself."

Earlier, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama had breakfast at the White House for Gold Star Families, loved ones of U.S. troops who died while serving.

Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their wives were also to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Monday to attend a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War.

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