President Obama Says Men and Women in Uniform Represent 'Best of America'

In the early days, though hundreds of Confederate soldiers were buried at Arlington, it was considered a Union cemetery and family members of Confederate soldiers buried there were not allowed to visit the graves.

In 1900, Congress authorized a special section of Arlington to be set aside as a burial location for nearly 500 Confederate soldiers. They are buried in concentric circles, with the monument built in the center.

A Presidential Tradition

On June 4, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson spoke at the monument as veterans from the Union and Confederate Armies laid wreaths on the graves, as a symbol of unity.

Since then, American presidents have sent a wreath to adorn the monument. President George H.W. Bush changed the tradition by sending a wreath on Memorial Day, not on Davis' birthday as his predecessors had done.

President Obama used his weekly radio/Internet address to pay tribute to America's veterans, servicemen and women, and their families.

"This is not only a time for celebration, it is also a time to reflect on what this holiday is all about; to pay tribute to our fallen heroes; and to remember the servicemen and women who cannot be with us this year because they are standing post far from home – in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world," he said on Saturday.

ABC News' Sunlen Miller contributed to this report.

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