Ceremonies, concerts mark Veterans Day in U.S. capital

Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:02pm EST
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By Ian Simpson

ARLINGTON Va. (Reuters) - The U.S. capital marked Veterans Day on Tuesday with ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery where Vice President Joe Biden said the 23 million U.S. veterans were the backbone of the nation.

The commemoration at Arlington, where more than 40,000 military personnel and their families are buried, was part of events that include a giant concert in Washington featuring such stars as Bruce Springsteen and Rihanna.

A bugler played "Taps" after Biden laid a wreath at Arlington's Tomb of the Unknowns. Biden later told hundreds of onlookers, many of them veterans, that their service had made them "the most tested of all Americans."

"You are not only the heart and soul but you are the very spine of this nation," he said.

The ceremony began at 11 a.m., marking the hour fighting ended in World War One on Nov. 11, 1918. The commemoration included music by the U.S. Marine Band and the singing of "God Bless America."

President Barack Obama, who is on a trip to Asia, said in a proclamation that his administration was working to end homelessness among veterans and was committed to providing them healthcare and access to education.

"We will never forget the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice and all those who have not yet returned home," he said.

The ceremony, under cloudless skies and amid autumn foliage, drew a scattering of uniformed military personnel and many veterans and their families.   Continued...

U.S. Marine combat veteran Charlie Wittwer pays his respects at the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Veteran's Day in Washington, November 11, 2014.       REUTERS/Larry Downing