in foxholes and trenches

In this time of war, we gather here mindful that the generation serving today already deserves a place alongside previous generations for the courage they have shown and the sacrifices that they have made.  In an era where so many acted only in pursuit of narrow self-interest, they've chosen the opposite.  They chose to serve the cause that is greater than self; many even after they knew they'd be sent into harm's way.  And for the better part of a decade, they have endured tour after tour in distant and difficult places; they have protected us from danger; and they have given others the opportunity for a better life.

So to all of them -- to our veterans, to the fallen, and to their families -- there is no tribute, no commemoration, no praise that can truly match the magnitude of your service and your sacrifice.


Ninety-one years ago today, the battlefields of Europe fell quiet as World War I came to a close.  But we don't mark this day each year as a celebration of victory, as proud of that victory as we are.  We mark this day as a celebration of those who made victory possible.  It's a day we keep in our minds the brave men and women of this young nation -- generations of them -- who above all else believed in and fought for a set of ideals.  Because they did, our country still stands; our founding principles still shine; nations around the world that once knew nothing but fear now know the blessings of freedom.

That is why we fight -- in hopes of a day when we no longer need to.  And that is why we gather at these solemn remembrances and reminders of war -- to recommit ourselves to the hard work of peace.

There will be a day before long when this generation of servicemen and women step out of uniform.  They will build families and lives of their own.  God willing, they will grow old.  And someday, their children, and their children's children, will gather here to honor them.

President Barack Obama, speaking today at Arlington Cemetery.