President Barack Obama commemorated his first Memorial Day in office honoring men and women who made America’s history.

Obama referred to them as the “best of America” for their willingness to risk their lives for the ones they have never met.

The president spoke after participating in a solemn holiday tradition, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, the burial ground for American veterans dating to the Revolutionary War.

In brief remarks after laying the wreath and observing a moment of silence, Obama referred to the ones who laid on the grounds as makers of the American story and said, “to walk these grounds then is to walk through that history.”