15 Photos of the Memorial Day Ceremonies Happening Across the U.S. Right Now

For the first time in 14 years, Americans across the country observed the sacrifice of slain U.S. military personnel on Memorial Day without U.S. ground forces simultaneously fighting in a major theater of operations.

President Barack Obama spoke at Arlington National Cemetery and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier there, accompanied by an honor guard.

According to Time, the POTUS told 5,000 attendees that fallen soldiers' sacrifices are "a debt we will never repay," adding that "This hallowed ground is more than a final resting place of heroes. It is a reflection of America itself. It is a reflection of our history." The magazine added that Obama went out of his way to observe the deaths of Spc. Wyatt Martin and Sgt. 1st Class Ramon Morris, who were the last U.S. soldiers to lose their lives during combat operations in Afghanistan.

A Chickasaw Nation Honor Guard ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.Jacquelyn Martin/AP
President Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images
The president addresses crowds at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.Jacquelyn Martin/AP
A woman wears period clothing during a memorial service for Civil War soldiers in Spring Grove Cemetery, in Cincinnati, Ohio.John Minchillo/AP
A man in period military uniform prepares to play music during a memorial service for Civil War soldiers in Spring Grove Cemetery, in Cincinnati, Ohio.John Minchillo/AP
Civil war re-enactors fire a 21-gun salute at Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio.John Minchillo/AP
General John F. Campbell addresses coalition military forces in Kabul, Afghanistan.Allauddin Khan/AP
According to the Associated Press, 2,300 American soldiers and 12,000 other coalition forces have lost their lives since the beginning of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.Allauddin Khan/AP
A veteran bows his head during a moment of prayer during services at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.Jose Luis Magana/AP
A mother and child lay flags at the graves of soldiers in Los Angeles National Cemetery.Richard Vogel/AP
An honor guard member stands resolute at Arlington National Cemetery during the POTUS' visit.Pool/Getty Images
Honor guards fire a 21-gun salute on the Uhlerstown-Frenchtown Bridge on the Delaware River separating Pennsylvania and New Jersey.Mel Evans/AP
A child salutes members of a Memorial Day parade in the Glenwood neighborhood of New York City.Seth Wenig/AP
James F. Comley salutes during a ceremony in Bedford, Massachusetts.Gail Oskin/Getty Images
90-year-old veteran Zalman Greenberg during a ceremony in North Miami Beach, Florida.Lynne Sladky/AP

Former President George W. Bush and his wife issued a brief statement via the George W. Bush Institute, writing that "Laura and I join our fellow citizens in honoring the courageous souls who have given their lives in defense of our country. Today our hearts go out to America's Gold Star Families, for whom every day is Memorial Day. We honor your loved ones and thank you for service and sacrifice."