WASHINGTON — President Bush asked Americans to pay tribute to veterans by pausing on Memorial Day for "a moment of remembrance."
Bush had several suggestions for how to honor the sacrifices of those who have fought for the United States — place a flag at a veteran's grave, go to a battlefield or say a prayer. He said the moment of remembrance would be marked Monday at 3 p.m. local time.
"At that moment, Major League Baseball games will pause, the National Memorial Day parade will halt, Amtrak trains will blow their whistles and buglers in military cemeteries will play taps," he said Saturday in his weekly radio address.
The president said that as people "fire up the grill" and mark the unofficial beginning of summer, they need to honor the sacrifices that make freedom possible.
"No words are adequate to console those who have lost a loved one serving our nation," Bush said. "We can only offer our prayers and join in their grief. We grieve for the mother who hears the sound of her child's 21-gun salute. We grieve for the husband or wife who receives a folded flag. We grieve for a young son or daughter who only knows Dad from a photograph."
John Boccieri, a Democratic state senator in Ohio who is running for Congress, said in the Democrats' weekly radio address that the best way to honor soldiers' sacrifice is to provide benefits they need after their service.
"If our veterans want to go to college, they should be able to do so the minute their boots hit the ground," said Boccieri, an Air Force Reserve pilot in Iraq.
He called on the Pentagon to rethink its opposition to expanding the GI Bill to guarantee full college scholarships for people with three years of military service. The administration opposes the expansion, saying that offering such a benefit after only three years of service would encourage members of the military to leave after only one enlistment.
The Democratic-led Senate on Thursday passed the measure, sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., on a 75-22 vote, as 25 Republicans went against Bush's opposition. Republicans have proposed a bill to increase benefits commensurate with a veteran's length of service.