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Obama Honors Fallen At National Cemetery

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

Unidentified Man: Present, halt.

(SOUNDBITE OF HONOR GUARD)

BLOCK: There in the 90-degree heat, the president paid tribute to America's fallen. Following Memorial Day tradition, he placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

(SOUNDBITE OF GUNSHOT)

BLOCK: There was a 21-gun salute.

(SOUNDBITE OF GUNSHOT)

BLOCK: And music by the United States Marine Band.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: President Obama called his role as commander-in-chief his most solemn responsibility. And he said that responsibility carries a special weight on this day.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

BARACK OBAMA: We remember that the blessings we enjoy as Americans came at a dear cost. That our very presence here today as free people in a free society bears testimony to their enduring legacy. Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay.

BLOCK: Of those fallen heroes, the president said, they gave of themselves until they had nothing more to give. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.