It was a fitting sight this Memorial Day, 2200 marines and sailors returning home to their loved ones after the war in Iraq. For many,
this Memorial Day has taken on a more serious tone.
One hundred fifty American servicemen and women died in Iraq and 145,000 troops are still there, along with thousands stationed around the world.
One veteran says that makes today's remembrances all the more meaningful.
"Even more so than they have been in the past because at this very moment we have people in harm's way and people being killed," said retired U.S. Army veteran Durle Hickerson.
No one knows that better than the family and friends of the six men whose names were added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The granite wall now holds more than 58,000 names.
But Monday's memorials were also a time for celebration. Former prisoner of war Ronald Young was the grand marshal of a parade in
Dacula, Ga., a visual reminder of the American spirit and the sweetness
As he laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, President Bush said that's why America is grateful to its veterans
"Their sacrifice was great, but not in vain," said President Bush. "All Americans and every free nation on earth can trace their liberty to the white markers of places like Arlington National Cemetery. And may God keep us ever grateful."
Next Memorial Day, World War Two veterans will dedicate their own memorial in Washington DC. Out of the 16 million who served in that war, fewer than 4 million are expected to be around for the historic occasion.