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United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

Today, we pay tribute to those patriots who never came back -- who fought for a home to which they never returned, and died for a country whose gratitude they will always have... Scripture teaches us that
"greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

President Barack Obama
Presidential Proclamation: Prayer for Peace

Memorial Day 2013

May 2013

Top Stories

Obama Urges Remembrance in Memorial Day Remarks

Photo: President Barack Obama is assisted by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tanner Welch as he lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns during a Memorial Day ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery, May 27, 2013. Welch is the sergeant of the guard of the Tomb of the Unknowns, serving with "The Old Guard," the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jose A. Torres Jr.

After laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery today, President Barack Obama paid tribute to American patriots from throughout the nation's history in remarks at the cemetery's Memorial Amphitheater. Story

In Memorial Day Message, Hagel Honors Sacrifices of Service Members, Families

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel honored those who have given their lives in the nation's defense and those who serve today – as well as their families – in his Memorial Day message to the men and women of the Defense Department. Story

Hagel Sends 'Message of Thanks' in Memorial Day Video

As part of his first Memorial Day observance in office, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel released a video message to thank those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and commend the military members who will carry on their legacy. Story

Dempsey: Service Members' Courage Renews Nation's Strength

The sacrifices of the men and women who have served the United States in uniform are the source of the nation's strength, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said at the National Memorial Day Concert. Story

President Notes Sacrifices of Service Members, Families

President Barack Obama recognized the ultimate sacrifices of U.S. service members, lauding them as heroes who helped to build a free and prosperous nation. Story

Old Guard Marks Graves to Honor Fallen

Photo: Army Sgt. Titus Fields of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment -- The Old Guard -- places an American flag in front of a gravestone in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., May 23, 2013. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jose A. Torres Jr.

In advance of Memorial Day, soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment -- The Old Guard -- carefully placed the flags by hand, in front of each gravestone at Arlington National Cemetery. Story

Dempsey Kicks off Memorial Weekend With TAPS Families

The nation's highest-ranking military officer has met with families of service members who died in combat as the nation prepares to mark the Memorial Day holiday. Story

Obama Issues 'Prayer for Peace'
Memorial Day Proclamation

President Barack Obama today proclaimed Memorial Day, May 27, 2013, "as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time to unite in prayer." Story

Photo: Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Wilma L. Vaught speaks to the honorees and members of the congressional caucus on women's issues during the women in the military wreath-laying ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., May 22, 2013. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Christofer P. Baines

Wreath-Laying Ceremony Honors Fallen Servicewomen

The Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues and senior women enlisted military members gathered at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial May 22 for the 16th annual recognition ceremony. Story


White House Blog: Dr. Biden Encourages Acts of Kindness in Memorial Day Message

Photo: Dr. Jill Biden

In her Memorial Day message blog, Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, urged Americans to take a moment to offer their own gesture of thanks to the troops and their families, and to reflect on the service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

"This Memorial Day, I hope you will take a moment to offer your own gesture of thanks to our men and women serving abroad and at home, as well as their families, and reflect on the service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice." Story

Speeches & Transcripts

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Memorial Day Messages

Portrait Photo: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
Chuck Hagel

“Today is a day for all Americans to gather with friends and family in communities across the country to enjoy each other's company, and honor those generations of patriots who have fought and died in uniform to preserve the freedoms we all cherish. We also grieve with those families who lost loved ones too soon.” Message | Biography

Portrait Photo: Martin E. Dempsey
Martin E. Dempsey

"We rededicate ourselves to our national purpose to secure the blessings of liberty, we decorate our homes and our hearts in the colors of America, and we honor those who have so honored us: men and women from every corner of our country in every branch of service who gave their lives so that we can live free." Story | Biography

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Memorial Day Concert

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