On Memorial Day, Biden recognizes son, war dead in Arlington National Cemetery

On Memorial Day, Biden recognizes son, war dead in Arlington National Cemetery

1 of 12 | U.S. President Joe Biden (L) and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (R) look on during the 156th National Memorial Day Observance Ceremony on Monday in the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery. Before introducing Biden, Austin said “defending our republic carries risk. And that goes beyond the dangers of combat” as he said “our troops and their families don’t just sacrifice during wartime.” Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

May 27 (UPI) — President Joe Biden on Monday laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, then remembered the fallen troops and his son who served in the military before dying from cancer.

“America is the only country in the world founded on an idea that all people are created equal, deserves to be treated equally throughout their lives,” Biden said in his remarks Monday during the 156th National Memorial Day Observance. “We’ve never fully lived up to that but we’ve never ever walked way from it.”

He was joined at Arlington’s amphitheater by first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown Jr.

“My fellow Americans,” Biden said as he addressed the crowd of military personnel, veterans and their families, “we gather at this sacred place at this solemn moment to remember, to honor the sacrifice of the hundreds of thousands of women and men who have given their lives for this nation.”

Before introducing Biden, Austin said “defending our republic carries risk. And that goes beyond the dangers of combat” as he said “our troops and their families don’t just sacrifice during wartime.”

“Our military families know the long deployments and the painful absences. They know the pride that never fades, and the worry that never leaves,” the 28th defense secretary said in his remarks.

The president said he spoke to Gold Star families who lost loved ones in military service and took the time to recognize his late son Beau, who died in 2015. “I know how hard it can be.”

“I know it hurts. The hurt is still real, still raw,” Biden said as he noted this week is the ninth anniversary of his son’s death which the president indicated was cancer thought to be from toxic exposure during Beau Biden’s Iraq war service.

“The pain of his loss is with me every day as it is for so many of you,” he said.

“Still sharp, still clear but so is the pride I feel in his service as if I can still hear him saying, ‘It’s my duty, dad, it’s my duty.'”

“Freedom has never been guaranteed,” he said. “Every generation has to earn it, fight for it, defend it in battle between autocracy and democracy, between the greed of a few and the rights of many.”

“It matters, our democracy is more than just a system of government. It’s the very soul of America. It’s how we’ve been able to constantly adapt to the centuries. It’s why we’ve always emerged from every challenge stronger than we went in.”

The “one truly sacred obligation” the United States has among its many to those who serve, Biden said, is “to prepare those we send to the battle, ” and to “prepare to take care of them and their families when they come home, and when they don’t.”

He touted his achievements to help military personnel and the 30 bipartisan pieces of military and veteran-related legislation he signed into law since taking office Jan. 2021.

“Last year the VA delivered more benefits and processed more claims than ever in our history,” Biden claimed as he talked of the PACT Act and its delivery of $2.2 billion in VA benefits for vets exposed to toxins.

Biden on Saturday gave West Point’s commencement speech in New York where he told graduating cadets to “above all, hold fast to your oath.”

“On your very first day at West Point, you raised your right hands and took an oath,” Biden said in his remarks. “Not to a political party, not to a president, but to the Constitution of the United States of America — against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Biden’s likely 2024 Republican challenger, former President Donald Tump, on Monday took to social media to attack writer E. Jean Carroll and others, including judges in his cases.

“Happy Memorial Day to All, including the Human Scum that is working so hard to destroy our Once Great Country,” Trump put on his social media platform Truth Social.  » …
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