WASHINGTON — Americans marked Memorial Day with parades, barbecues and somber reflection in a holiday infused with fresh meaning by the approaching 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The National Memorial Day Parade in Washington honored veterans and America's war dead but also featured special tributes to Sept. 11 first responders, victims and their families. Special guests included Medal of Honor recipients, and astronaut and Korean War veteran Buzz Aldrin.
Elsewhere, military jets thundered through the sky above New York after a wreath-laying ceremony aboard an aircraft carrier that's been turned into a museum, while hundreds of volunteers put small flags on the 25,000 graves at a military cemetery near Las Vegas. U.S. troops in Afghanistan took time out to remember fallen comrades.
Hamilton Peterson, who lost his father and stepmother when the hijacked United Airlines 93 crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pa., said the looming anniversary of the terror attacks should serve as a reminder to Americans to be vigilant.
"Obviously, bin Laden's death is a highlight of the 10th anniversary. However, we recognize that future attacks are imminent and that, absent using 9/11 as a model for how to respond, all Americans need to get involved," she said. "It can't just be the military."