By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 25, 2013 – As Americans kick off a long weekend for the May 27 observance of Memorial Day, President Barack Obama today recognized the ultimate sacrifices of U.S. service members, lauding them as heroes who helped to build a free and prosperous nation.
In his weekly address, Obama noted the courage of those willing to fight and even die for America’s success.
“At a time when only about 1 percent of the American people bear the burden of our defense, the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform isn’t always readily apparent,” the president said. “They risk their lives, and many give their lives, for something larger than themselves or any of us: the ideals of liberty and justice that make America a beacon of hope for the world.”
The president emphasized that Americans must do more than remember the sacrifices of U.S. service members over the nation’s history, from a “tiny band of revolutionaries [who] stood up to an empire” to the 9/11 Generation that continues to serve and sacrifice today.
“We must care for the loved ones that our fallen service members have left behind,” he said. “We must make sure all our veterans have the care and benefits they’ve earned, and the jobs and opportunity they deserve.”
Obama also lauded families whose loved ones are in harm’s way, saying that they, too, serve.
“We must make sure that the men and women of our armed forces have the support they need to achieve their missions safely at home and abroad,” the president said.
Obama called on Americans to help in preserving what service member sacrifices have achieved in pursuit of a fair and free nation.
“It is our obligation,” he said, “and it is our privilege, as the heirs of those who came before us, and as citizens of the United States of America.”