WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is paying tribute to the men and women who have died defending America, saying that for the first time in nine years Americans "are not fighting and dying in Iraq" and the war in Afghanistan is "winding down."
But he also says the pain of war lingers for the families of those lost in battle, and Obama notes that small groups of mourners can be seen at Arlington National Cemetery daily, not just on Memorial Day.
Obama spoke to an audience gathered under a brilliant sun at Arlington, saying "these 600 acres are home to Americans from every part of the country who gave their lives in every part of the globe."
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said "all the men and women who rest here are a constant reminder that freedom is not free.".