by Deb Riechmann
Associated Press Writer
Mired in a complicated, unfinished mission in Iraq, President Bush paused on Veterans Day to reflect on the sacrifices of 140,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and to honor soldiers of past wars. "This nation has always gone to war reluctantly," Bush said.
Speaking in a drizzle at a coliseum draped in flags at Arlington National Cemetery, Bush cited the sacrifice of U.S. troops who died fighting for freedom in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
"The loss is terrible," Bush said Tuesday. "It is borne especially by the families left behind, but in their hurt and in their loneliness, I want these families to know: Your loved ones served in a good and just cause."
As Bush arrived at the cemetery, he was greeted by a 21-gun salute. Cannon blasts shook the cemetery and left smoke hanging over rows of tombstones in low-lying areas. He observed a moment of silence and listened to taps, his head bowed.
Bush helped set a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns on the 11th day of the 11th month of the 85th anniversary of the signing of an armistice on Nov. 11, 1918 that ended World War I.