Yesterday the President participated in the wreath-laying ceremony for National Medal of Honor Day at Arlington National Cemetery, along with more than 30 of the 98 living Medal of Honor recipients.
(With the Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery and the city of Washington in the background, President Barack Obama concludes ceremonies Wednesday, March 25, 2009, at the National Medal of Honor Day at the military cemetery. Medal of Honor recipients applaud after laying a wreath at the tomb in Arlington, Va. The White House / Pete Souza)
The President issued the following statement yesterday:
We are grateful to all those who wear the uniform of our Armed Forces and serve and sacrifice on behalf of our great nation. Members of our Armed Forces hold themselves to the highest standards and set an example of responsibility to one another and to the country that should inspire all Americans to serve a purpose greater than themselves. Today we pay our respect to those who distinguished themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty - the recipients of the Medal of Honor.
Since it was first awarded during the Civil War to the current battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, Medal of Honor recipients have displayed tremendous courage, an unfailing determination to succeed, and a humbling willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice. It is telling that so many Medal of Honor recipients received the award posthumously. These soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsman embody the best of American values and ideals.
Medal of Honor recipients are the foremost example of greatness in service and sacrifice. Their bravery and humble strength continues to reassure our nation of the strength of its character and ideals even in these difficult times. We owe these heroes a debt of gratitude that our nation can never fully repay. So, it is on this day that we salute that fact and celebrate their lives and heroic actions that have placed them amongst the "bravest of the brave." We must never forget their sacrifice and will always keep the Fallen and their families in our thoughts and prayers.