Queen visits WWII memorial

Published May 9, 2007

WASHINGTON - Queen Elizabeth II paid tribute to American soldiers with a trip to the National World War II Memorial on Tuesday, winding up her six-day American visit. Later in the day, she concluded her visit by sharing a toast with President Bush celebrating the close alliance of Britain and the United States.

During her trip to the World War II memorial, the queen was accompanied by the president's father, former President George Bush, a veteran of the war, and his wife, Barbara. The queen placed a wreath in honor of the 400, 000 U.S. soldiers who died. It said: "In memory of the glorious dead."

Afterward there was a drum roll and a bugler played taps.

Dressed in a sharp blue suit and hat, the queen then joined Mary Bomar, the British-born director of the National Park Service, for a walk around a fountain at the center of the memorial. They stopped to look at the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument before greeting veterans of World War II, some in wheelchairs.

One of the veterans, Marjorie Gallun, 85, who said she served in the Marine Corps, told the queen: "We are happy to have you here."

The queen politely replied: "We are happy to be here."

Outside the memorial, several hundred onlookers gathered behind a picket fence, on which two Union Jacks were draped. The crowd applauded as the queen's limousine went by.

The queen concluded her Washington visit by hosting a dinner for the Bushes at the British Embassy Tuesday night, a return favor for the white-tie state dinner Bush put on for the royal couple Monday night at the White House.

It was a full day of sightseeing in the U.S. capital. The queen started off with a trip to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in suburban Maryland, where she spoke with several astronauts and helped plant a tree in the garden commemorating her visit.

Earlier, first lady Laura Bush joined the queen and her husband for a visit to Children's National Medical Center.

The royal couple were to fly back to England on Tuesday night.