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Joe Biden and Kamala Harris mark Memorial Day by visiting Arlington

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President Joe Biden honored the nation’s war dead on Memorial Day by taking part in a solemn ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

Biden was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris as they attended the traditional wreath-laying ceremony Monday.

‘We gathered at this sacred case in this solemn hour engaged in the most fundamental of undertakings: the right of remembrance. To remember those who gave their all in the service of America and the service of freedom and the service of justice,’ Biden said in remarks Monday. 

‘To those who mourn a loved one today, Jill and I have some idea how you’re feeling. Our losses are not the same, but that black hole you feel in your chest as if it’s going to suck you into it, we get.,’ said Biden, recalling his late son Beau Biden, who served in the Delaware National Guard and was deployed in Iraq. 

A day after marking the anniversary of Beau’s death, Biden said: ‘It’s a hard time. A hard time here for me and our family, just like it is for so many of you. It can hurt to remember, but the hurt is how we feel and how we heal.’

‘I always feel Beau close to me on Memorial Day. I know exactly where I need to be: right here, honoring our fallen heroes.’

The president saluted during aa playing of the National Anthem and a bugler’s rendition of ‘Taps.’ He approached a memorial wreath, and made the sign of the cross during the brief ceremony.

He stood alongside Harris and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. He is to give remarks later Monday.   

In his remarks, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley honored Gold Star parents and the ‘one million Americans who have given the last full measure of devotion in service of their country.’

‘Their sacrifice is an example for all of us to never forget and to always honor,’ he said, on the 153rd annual Memorial Day ceremony. 

‘It is our job to live a life worthy of their sacrifice,’ said Milley. 

‘We know the depth of your sacrifice, but we can never know the depth of your loss,’ Austin said in his own remarks, addressing words to families who have lost loved ones. 

Earlier, Biden and first lady Jill Biden flew back to Washington from Delaware Monday as they marked Memorial Day observances with a visit to the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

The first couple boarded Marine One at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Del., then flew to Washington, where they landed south of the White House.

The Bidens then traveled by motorcade to Arlington, where Memorial Day services were scheduled to be held.

President Joe Biden adjusts a the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, 2021, in Arlington, Va.

President Joe Biden, with first lady Jill Biden, waves as they walk from Marine One upon arrival on the Ellipse at the White House, Monday, May 31, 2021, in Washington

President Joe Biden, with first lady Jill Biden, waves as they walk from Marine One upon arrival on the Ellipse at the White House, Monday, May 31, 2021, in Washington

 They were to be joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, first gentleman Doug Emhoff, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Mark Milley.   

On Sunday, Biden honored the sixth anniversary of his son Beau’s death in remarks at a pre-Memorial Day event. ‘This is a hard day for us,’ Biden said while speaking to veterans and families of fallen military members during remarks at Veterans Memorial Park near the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

‘Six years ago today, Hunter lost his dad, and I lost my son,’ Biden said of losing Beau in 2015 to brain cancer.

‘Beau didn’t die in the line of duty, but he was serving a Delaware National Guard unit in Iraq for a year,’ the president continued. ‘That was one of the proudest things he did in his life.’

President Joe Biden boards Marine One at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Del., Monday, May 31, 2021. Biden is returning to Washington after spending the weekend at his home in Delaware

President Joe Biden boards Marine One at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Del., Monday, May 31, 2021. Biden is returning to Washington after spending the weekend at his home in Delaware

‘So thank you for allowing us to grieve together today.’ 

Biden pictured with son Beau in 2009 at Camp Victory on the outskirts of Baghdad. Beau died May 30, 2015 of brain cancer

Biden pictured with son Beau in 2009 at Camp Victory on the outskirts of Baghdad. Beau died May 30, 2015 of brain cancer

Beau Biden, who attained the rank of major, joined the Delaware Army National Guard in 2003 and attended JAG School at the University of Virginia. He deployed to Iraq in October 2008, the month before his father was elected vice president to serve with Barack Obama for his first term. Beau returned from Iraq in September 2009 after completing his yearlong stint on active duty.

He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his service in Iraq. He was posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit for his service in the Delaware National Guard and the Delaware Conspicuous Service Cross.

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