ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) -- President Barack Obama calls it "the most wrenching decision" that he's had to make the decision to send troops into harm's way.
At Arlington National Cemetery on this Memorial Day, he paid tribute to the men and women who have died in service to their country, saying the United States must strive "to be a nation worthy of your sacrifice."
He said he would never put troops at risk unless "absolutely necessary."
And when he does so, he says, the troops must have "a clear mission and the full support of a grateful nation."
Obama spoke after taking part in the traditional wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
The large audience included many uniformed servicemen and women.
He noted that the war in Iraq has ended after nine years, and that it is "winding down" in Afghanistan.
But he conceded that the pain of war lingers for the families of those who were lost in battle.
The president promised war veterans that "we will be there for you" making sure troops returning home from battle get the benefits they need.