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Obama: Memorial Day honors the memory of the fallen

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Memorial Day is a time for Americans to honor the memory of the service members who died in the nation's wars and an opportunity to pray for the day when such wars no longer occur, President Barack Obama said in his Memorial Day proclamation issued today.

"Our nation endures and thrives because of the devotion of our men and women in uniform, who, from generation to generation, carry a burden heavier than any we may ever know," Obama said in his proclamation. "On Memorial Day, we honor those who have borne conflict's greatest cost, mourn where the wounds of war are fresh, and pray for a just, lasting peace."

American history is filled with the stories "of sons and daughters who gave their lives in service to the country they loved," Obama said. "They were patriots who overthrew an empire and sparked revolution. They were courageous men and women who strained to hold a young Union together. They were ordinary citizens who rolled back the creeping tide of tyranny, who stood post through a long twilight struggle, who saw terror and extremism threaten our world's security and said, 'I'll go.'"

America's fallen service members "are forever bound by a legacy of valor older than the Republic itself," the president said in his proclamation. "Now they lay at rest in quiet corners of our country and the world, but they live on in the families who loved them and in the soul of a nation that is safer for their service."

Memorial Day is a time when Americans "join together in prayer for the fallen," Obama said.

"We remember all who have borne the battle, whose devotion to duty has sustained our country and kept safe our heritage as a free people in a free society," he said. "Though our hearts ache in their absence, we find comfort in knowing that their legacy lives on in all of us -- in the security that lets us live in peace, the prosperity that allows us to pursue our dreams, and the love that still beats in those who knew them."

"May God bless the souls of the venerable warriors we have lost, and may He watch over the men and women who serve us now," Obama added. "Today, tomorrow, and in perpetuity, let us give thanks to them by remaining true to the values and virtues for which they fight."

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