Americans across the country marked Memorial Day with solemn remembrance by making pilgrimages to gravesides, bearing flowers and flags to honor soldiers who sacrificed their lives in battle.
"It means a lot to me, coming out here and seeing the veterans," said Boy Scout Lee Booker, 15, as he helped place miniature American flags at the foot of 46,850 veterans' headstones at the Memphis National Cemetery in Tennessee.
Booker was one of 200,000 Scouts nationwide who decorated veteran cemeteries the Saturday before Memorial Day.
First recognized in 1868, Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day for the wreaths, crosses and bouquets left on veterans' graves. The name was later changed, and the day was declared a national holiday in 1971.
In Washington, President Bush on Monday signed legislation to construct a World War II monument on the National Mall.
"I will make sure the monument gets built," the president told applauding veterans, among them former Sen. Bob Dole.
In New York City, sailors unfurled a 100-foot-long American flag and four ceremonial wreaths were dropped into the Hudson River.
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