And like all the others, whether delivered by a president or by some junior councilman from the smallest burg, it mentioned the magic word:
"From Concord to the Korengal, generations of brave warriors have fought for freedom across sand and snow, over mud and mountains, into lonely deserts and through crowded streets," Mr. Obama's proclamation reads.
"Today, we pay tribute to those patriots who never came back — who fought for a home to which they never returned, and died for a country whose gratitude they will always have."
Politicians love using the word "freedom." Unfortunately, our war dead can't hear them.
But haven't you ever wondered what they would say if they could return to this modern America, this 2013 America, and see what we've done with the freedom they purchased with their lives?
They'd certainly look strange in their uniforms, the Revolutionary War heroes with the Civil War fighters touring the country with those from World War I and every war since. And America would seem equally strange to them.
Obviously, the Returned would need a federal guide.
"These are our surveillance cameras," Federal Guide would say, pointing to the cameras on street light poles, telling them about the cameras on bridges, on the sides of buildings, at airports, buses and trains, on public streets and quiet corners. Cameras at tollbooths. Cameras everywhere.
"The cameras watch you wherever you go?" a soldier from Valley Forge might ask, leaning on his musket, after an Iraq veteran explained how cameras work.
"And these here cameras protect your freedom?"
"Yes, and please put out that pipe," says Federal Guide. "This is a public park. There is no smoking here. The cameras can see you. But yes, the cameras protect us and make us feel secure."
Federal Guide would explain about the computers that can track license plates of cars and facial-recognition software that allows pedestrians to be followed for miles. And up in the sky, he'd tell them about cameras on satellites and drones.
The Returned would also learn all about our cellphones, those wonderful squares of plastic and metal that never leave our sides, gizmos that can be used to play video, read the news and perform many other tasks. The Returned would marvel that we can call our friends, and even send messages of our most private thoughts to people we've never met.
Some might be shocked to learn that some of our leaders even send photos of their private parts to people they don't know.
"Anthony Weiner is running for mayor of New York after doing that?" a World War II Marine might ask. "You've got to be kidding."
"No," says Federal Guide. "This is America. We're free. And cellphones have made everyone free to communicate with everyone else."
He'd explain about data mining, and how the phone companies sell personal information to other companies, following customers into stores, ballparks, anywhere. And, how these patterns allow the companies to tailor marketing strategies to free Americans.
Wherever free Americans go, their phones go with them, and this is how they may be tracked.