Biden praises military as ‘solid spine’ of the US at Memorial Day service

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President Biden called the US military the “solid spine” of the nation as he remembered America’s fallen — including his son Beau, an Iraq War veteran — during a rainy Memorial Day service Sunday in Delaware. 

“I know that pride you feel in the loved one, and that you lost, and those who are still serving, pride and bravery in the service to our great American experiment. Our military community is the solid spine of this country, the spine of the nation,” Biden said during the address at a veterans memorial near the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

“My first Memorial Day as commander-in-chief, I want to reaffirm my long standing belief. We may have many obligations as a nation, we only have one truly sacred obligation. And that’s to equip those that we send into harm’s way with all they need, care for them and their families when they return home and when they don’t,” the president said.

Shortly before the ceremony, Biden visited the grave site of his son, Beau, a member of the Delaware Army National Guard who died of brain cancer on May 30, 2015.

He was accompanied by his grandson and Beau’s son, Hunter, to the gravesite and to the Memorial Day ceremony.

The president said the nation must always remember “the price that was paid for our liberties and we must remember the debt we owe those who have paid it with families left behind.”

“My heart is torn in half by the grief to communities that are never whole again. It’s also an important tradition in our family. As many of you know, this is a hard day for us. Six years ago today, Hunter lost his dad and I lost my son,” Biden said.

Referring to the names of the Delaware and New Jersey service members who died in World War II and Korean War inscribed on the memorial wall, Biden said their memories unite everyone as part of the “American creed.”

“We’re unique and all our history, we really are. But those names etched on that wall, and every other wall and tombstone in America of veterans is the reason why we’re able to stand here,” he said.

“We can’t kid ourselves about that. And so I hope, I hope that the nation comes together.
We’re not Democrats, Republicans today. We’re Americans,” he said.

Biden’s Memorial Day speech that focused on veterans and their families contrasted with Vice President Kamala Harris’ Saturday message urging Americans to “enjoy the long weekend” that stirred criticism.

She tweeted the greeting alongside a picture of herself smiling, drawing online backlash.

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