ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. (AP) - In a solemn ceremony with numerous high-profile politicians and officials in attendance, the bodies of 4 Americans killed in Libya were returned to the United States on Friday.
Among them was the body of Christopher Stevens, the Ambassador to Libya, who was among the people killed when the United States Consulate in Benghazi was attacked by militants earlier this week.
Two Navy SEALS, 42-year-old Glen Doherty and 41-year-old Tyrone Woods, along with State Department information officer Sean Smith, were also killed in the attack.
Said President Barack Obama of all four men: "They embodied it: the courage, the hope and yes the idealism, that fundamental belief that we can leave this world a little bit better than before. That's who they were, and that's who we are. If we want to truly honor their memory, that's who we must always be."
"Their sacrifice will never be forgotten," Obama said as four flag-draped cases rested near him.
In the heat of a presidential election year, the scene was a gripping reminder of the danger facing Americans in diplomatic and military service every day around the world.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's voice broke as she spoke, and she appeared to be fighting tears after she listened to Obama.
"They knew the danger, and they accepted it," Obama said. "They didn't simply embrace the American ideal. They lived it."
Before the ceremony, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visited with families of the victims of this week's attack on the consulate.
U.S. officials are investigating whether the assault was a coordinated terrorist attack that took advantage of protests in the Arab world over an anti-Muslim video.
"Chris Stevens was everything America could want in an ambassador," Obama. "He believed in Libya and its people."
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.