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Obama Visits 'Hallowed Ground' of Flanders Field

"We must commit perennially to peace, which binds us across oceans," President says at World War I cemetery.
Image: Barack Obama, King Phillipe, Elio Di Rupo
President Barack Obama tours the American cemetery at Flanders Field with Belgian King Phillippe and Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, far right, in Waregem, Belgium, on March 26, 2014. Obama paid tribute to American troops who died a century ago in the struggle to save Europe in World War I. Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

WAREGEM, Belgium — President Barack Obama reached back 100 years to reinforce the U.S.-European bond, calling for a recommitment to peace Wednesday during a solemn pilgrimage to a World War I cemetery as European tensions run high over Russia's incursion into Ukraine.

"This visit, this hallowed ground, reminds us that we must never ever take our progress for granted," Obama said at Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial in northwest Belgium. "We must commit perennially to peace, which binds us across oceans."

Image: President Obama visits Belgium
President Obama and Belgian King Philippe, left, attend a ceremony during their visit to the U.S. military cemetery Flanders Field in Waregem, Belgium, March 26, 2014.OLIVIER HOSLET / EPA

Followed by the stirring sound of a bugler playing Taps, Obama joined Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo and King Phillipe in laying a trio of wreaths at the white stone monument at the center of the cemetery, the site of a significant World War I battle. The three leaders then walked among some of the white crosses that mark the burial site of 368 American troops, most of whom gave their lives in liberating Belgium from German occupation.

— The Associated Press