President Barack Obama laid a wreath of flowers at Arlington National Cemetery on Sunday in a traditional gesture as Americans marked three days of Veterans Day commemorations.
Barack Obama was joined by the First Lady, as well as Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
The President said the wreath-laying is a gesture to “remember every service member who has ever worn our nation’s uniform”.
He said in a speech at the cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater that America will never forget the sacrifice made by its veterans and their families.
Barack Obama also says that “no ceremony or parade, no hug or handshake is enough to truly honor that service”. He says the country must commit every day “to serving you as well as you’ve served us”.
Earlier, the Obamas and Bidens held a breakfast with veterans at the White House.
This year, Veterans Day falls on a Sunday, and the federal observance is on Monday.
It’s the first such day honoring the men and women who served in uniform since the last U.S. troops left Iraq in December 2011.
It’s also a chance to thank those who stormed the beaches during World War II – a population that is rapidly shrinking with most of those former troops now in their 80s and 90s.
At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, a steady stream of visitors arrived Saturday morning as the names of the 58,000 people on the wall were being read over a loudspeaker.
Some visitors took pictures, others made rubbings of names, and some left mementos: a leather jacket, a flag made out of construction paper, pictures of young soldiers and even several snow globes with an American eagle inside.
A half-dozen women of various ages knitted intently near a pile of hand-made scarves while frail, silver-haired men sat waiting for a chance to tell their war stories Saturday as tourists and veterans filed into the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
The museum planned a series of events to celebrate the Veterans Day weekend.
The knitters had gathered to commemorate 1940s homefront efforts to supply World War II troops with warm socks and sweaters.
At the National Cemetery in Bourne, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, about 1,000 people including Cub Scouts and Gold Star Mothers gathered on a crisp fall day for a short ceremony.