President Barack Obama honored America's fallen soldiers on Memorial Day Monday during a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. He also paid tribute to the thousands of soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade while signaling that the conflict in the region is nearing an end, according to The Associated Press.
Obama participated in the traditional laying of the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns before speaking to a large crowd gathered at the cemetery. He also paid a visit to the Vietnam War Memorial in recognition of the more than 58,000 troops who gave their lives during the conflict.
In addition to honoring soldiers who have been killed in action, Obama also emphasized the importance of supporting the veterans who will be returning to the United States. According to the AP, he used his weekly radio address to highlight his commitment to doing just that.
"We have to serve them and their families as well as they have served us," Obama told listeners. "By making sure that they get the health care 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."
Obama's statements come as other members of his cabinet work to make sure veterans' benefits are protected and there are jobs for them when they return home. Most recently, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack discussed programs aimed at getting veterans in rural areas back to work, according to the Des Moines Register.
The president is not the only member of his family affirming a commitment to supporting the Armed Forces. First lady Michelle Obama was recently named the sponsor of a new Navy submarine – the USS Illinois. The announcement was made while Obama met with the first contingent of women assigned to serve in the Navy's operational submarine force.
"It's an honor and a privilege to serve as sponsor of the USS Illinois," Obama said. "I'm always inspired by the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the Navy, as well as the families who support them."