At a ceremony marking Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery, President Barack Obama said that most Americans are able to remain unaffected by war.
"[D]uring World War II, millions of Americans contributed to the war effort -- soldiers like my own grandfather; women like my grandmother, who worked the assembly lines. During the Vietnam War, just about everybody knew somebody -- a brother, a son, a friend -- who served in harm’s way," Obama said at the ceremony.
The president continued:
"Today, it’s different. Perhaps it’s a tribute to our remarkable all-volunteer force, made up of men and women who step forward to serve and do so with extraordinary skill and valor. Perhaps it’s a testament to our advanced technologies, which allow smaller numbers of troops to wield greater and greater power. But regardless of the reason, this truth cannot be ignored that today most Americans are not directly touched by war."
The president further explained:
As a consequence, not all Americans may always see or fully grasp the depth of sacrifice, the profound costs that are made in our name -- right now, as we speak, every day. Our troops and our military families understand this, and they mention to me their concern about whether the country fully appreciates what’s happening. I think about a letter I received from a Naval officer, a reservist who had just returned from a deployment to Afghanistan. And he wrote me, “I’m concerned that our work in Afghanistan is fading from memory.” And he went on to ask that we do more to keep this conflict “alive and focused in the hearts and minds of our own people.”