Americans killed in US consulate attack honored at Joint Base Andrews, MD on Sept. 14, 2012. (NBC)
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MD (NBC) -- Four Americans killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, earlier in the week were returned to the United States and honored in a somber ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Friday.
President Barack Obama arrived shortly before the transfer ceremony honoring the victims - U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith and security personnel Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty..
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Marines carried flag-draped coffins bearing remains of the four across the tarmac and placed them before a gathering of family, friends, White House officials and high-level State Department personnel. In total, 800-1,000 were in attendance, an Air Force official said.
After a moment of silence and a prayer, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton eulogized each of the victims.
"We owe it to those four men to continue the long, hard work of diplomacy," Clinton said.
May God bless them, and grant their families peace and solace, and may God continue to bless the United States of America," Clinton said, before making way for comments by President Obama.
President Obama said the men embodied and lived "the American Ideal" embracing what he called, "the fundamental American belief that we can leave this word a little better than before."
In honoring the fallen Americans, he also made a case for the continued diplomatic and aid commitments to allies in the Middle East.
After the national anthem, and a prayer, "America the Beautiful" was played as the caskets were loaded into waiting hearses, which then departed.