WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden He praised the sacrifices of a generation of American troops who “braved all and gave all” fighting for their country, and called on Americans to make sure their “sacrifice was not in vain” at the Memorial Day observances at Arlington National Cemetery.
First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Harris’ husband Douglas Emhoff joined Biden in a traditional wreath-laying ceremony to mark the 155th National Memorial Day. He pondered for a moment in front of a garland decorated with flowers and red, white and blue bows, then bowed his head in prayer.
“We must never forget the price that was paid to protect our democracy,” Biden said later in a speech at the Memorial Amphitheater. “Let us never forget the life these flags, flowers and marble markers represent.”
“Every year we remember,” he said. “Every year it doesn’t get easier.”
Monday is a federal holiday honoring America’s fallen service members It came a day after Biden and Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached a final deal on a deal that would raise the U.S. debt ceiling and await congressional approval.
As it stands, the contract keeps unsecured costs roughly equal It will increase by 1% in FY2024. The move would allow defense growth of 3% to $886 billion that year and 1% to $895 billion the following year.
Biden boasts that his Democratic administration has overseen a period of relative calm for the U.S. military after two decades of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It’s been 21 months since Biden ended America’s longest warIn Afghanistan, fulfilling a campaign promise to end the 20-year “forever war” It claimed the lives of more than 2,400 American service members.
However, the war in Afghanistan ended in messy and deadly fashion under Biden’s watch in August 2021, as critics criticized the administration’s poorly planned and poorly executed handling of the evacuation of 120,000 American citizens, Afghans and others..
The Biden administration released a review last month In the final days of the battle, Biden largely blamed his Republican predecessor, President Donald Trump, insisting that he was “heavily constrained” by Trump’s decisions.
The United States now leads a coalition of allies that have poured billions of dollars in military and economic aid to Ukraine to repel Russia’s invasion.It seems there is no end in sight.
While making it clear that he has no desire for US troops to enter the conflict, he considers any attempt to seize Russian territory to be against international norms and has pledged to help Kiev succeed by deploying artillery, tanks and drones. It agreed to allow allies to train the Ukrainian military on US F-16 jets.
Biden linked the sacrifices of the roughly 400,000 Americans buried at Arlington to the work of U.S. troops stationed around the world today, saying the impact of the fallen men and women goes “beyond those silent stones” of the hallowed burial ground.
“We see the strength of our NATO alliance built from bonds forged in the fires of two world wars,” Biden said. “We see troops still standing guard on the Korean Peninsula, working with allies to keep the peace. At every base, camp, and ship around the world, our military proudly serves and stands as a force for good in the world.
During the Arlington ceremony, Biden also spoke about the need to care for American service members on and off the battlefield.
“We have only one truly sacred duty: to prepare those we send into harm’s way and to take care of them and their families when they come home and when they don’t,” Biden said.
The president noted that he signed legislation to expand federal health care services to millions of veterans who served on military bases where toxic fumes emanated from large burn pits.Until years ago, it was commonly used by the military to dispose of chemicals, tires, plastics, and medical and human waste.
Before Monday’s ceremony at the Arlington, Virginia, cemetery, Biden hosted a breakfast at the White House for veterans organizations, military service and military family organizations, surviving families of fallen U.S. troops, senior Defense Department and other administration officials.
The president and first lady returned to their home near Wilmington, Delaware late Monday.