Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Sunday, June 16, 2024 76° Today's Paper


Top News

Biden honors fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery

REUTERS/Ken Cedeno
                                President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Commanding Army General Major General Trevor J. Bredenkamp, participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in honor of Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery, in Washington, today.
1/1
Swipe or click to see more

REUTERS/Ken Cedeno

President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Commanding Army General Major General Trevor J. Bredenkamp, participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in honor of Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery, in Washington, today.

Related Photo Gallery

Biden honors fallen soldiers at the Arlington National Cemetery

ARLINGTON, Virginia >> President Joe Biden honored fallen soldiers during the 156th observance of Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery outside the nation’s capital today.

Biden placed a wreath of flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in a solemn ceremony, where he was accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“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,” Biden said afterward at the cemetery’s amphitheater.

Earlier in the day, Biden hosted a White House breakfast in honor of Memorial Day that included administration officials, military leadership, veterans and so-called Gold Star family members, referring to those who have lost an immediate relative in military action.

The Memorial Day ceremony is the latest in a string of events where Biden has focused on active and retired military personnel, including delivering the commencement speech on Saturday at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.

Next week, the president will travel to Normandy, France, to participate in ceremonies marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. He is expected to give a major speech about the heroism of Allied forces in World War Two and the continuing threats to democracy today.

Thursday will mark the ninth anniversary of the death of Biden’s son Beau, who served in Iraq as part of Delaware’s National Guard. Beau died from glioblastoma, a highly aggressive form of brain cancer that his father believes was possibly a consequence of exposure to military burn pits in Iraq.

“This week marks nine years since I lost my son, Beau,” Biden said. “Our losses are not the same. He didn’t perish on the battlefield. He was a cancer victim.

“The pain of his loss is with me every day … so is the pride in his service,” the president said.

On Memorial Day, each grave site at Arlington will have a small American flag carefully positioned exactly one boot’s length away from the headstone. The flags were placed by 1,500 soldiers from the Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, better known as The Old Guard. The regiment has carried out the tradition, known as “Flags In,” just before Memorial Day every year since 1948, when it was designated as the Army’s official ceremonial unit.

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines. Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.