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World War II Vets, Other Heroes, Honored in Ceremonies

The riflemen fire a salute to those who served.

With the dedication of the nation's World War II Memorial recently, veterans of "the greatest generation" were singled out for special attention on Memorial Day 2004. "They hold a cherished place in the history of the United States and in the memories of the people they liberated," President George W. Bush said in a proclamation issued May 27.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi praised the "selfless determination and purpose of mission that inspired American GIs to surmount the obstacles of war and build a new peace."

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimated that nearly 1.2 million men and women have died in the military since the Revolutionary War. More than 25 million veterans are alive today. Of the 16 million service members during World War II, only about 4.4 million are living.

President Bush noted that the men and women serving in the military for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom "are serving at a crucial hour in history, and each has answered a great call to serve our Nation on the front lines of freedom."

The President's Memorial Day Proclamation can be seen on the Internet at

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