As Americans prepare to fire up the grill, open the pool, and enjoy the holiday weekend, President Obama is paying tribute to the nation's men and women in uniform, thanking them for their service and reaffirming his commitment to "serve them and their families as well as they have served us."
"Memorial Day is more than a three-day weekend. In town squares and national cemeteries, in public services and moments of quiet reflection, we will honor those who loved their country enough to sacrifice their own lives for it," Obama said in his weekly address.
The president and first lady will visit Arlington National Cemetery this Memorial Day to honor "patriots of every generation who gave the last full measure of devotion, from Lexington and Concord to Iraq and Afghanistan."
Later, the Obamas will join veterans at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where they will begin to mark the 50th anniversary of the war.
As the nation honors those "who made the ultimate sacrifice," the president recommitted to caring for those who served alongside them.
"We have to serve them and their families as well as they have served us: by making sure that they get the health care and benefits they need; by caring for our wounded warriors and supporting our military families; and by giving veterans the chance to go to college, find a good job, and enjoy the freedom that they risked everything to protect," he said.
"No words can ever bring back a loved one who has been lost. No ceremony can do justice to their memory. No honor will ever fill their absence," Obama said. "But on Memorial Day, we come together as Americans to let these families and veterans know that they are not alone. We give thanks for those who sacrificed everything so that we could be free. And we commit ourselves to upholding the ideals for which so many patriots have fought and died. "