Arlette Saenz and Nikki Carvajal, CNN
President Joe Biden honored Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday, a site he described as a “sanctuary of sacrifice” during his deeply personal remarks.
“We come together today to once again honor the generation of Americans who stood on the front lines of freedom,” the president said, “to once again bear witness to the great deeds of a noble few who risked everything – everything to give us a better future, those who have always, always kept the light of liberty shining bright across the world – our veterans.”
Biden called Veterans Day personal for his family as he talked about his late son, Beau Biden, who served in the Delaware Army National Guard. “On this day I can still see my son, the attorney general of Delaware, standing ramrod straight as I pinned his bars on him the day he joined,” the president said. “We miss him.”
The president recalled his son explaining why he joined the military. “He said, ‘Dad, it’s my duty.’ Duty. That was the code my son lived by and the creed that millions of veterans have followed.”
Beau Biden was exposed to toxic burn pits while serving in Iraq, and the president has said he believes there is a connection between that exposure and the brain cancer that ultimately killed his son.
“Folks, as a nation, we owe them,” Biden said of the nation’s veterans. “We owe you, not just for keeping the flame of freedom burning during the darkest of moments, but for serving our communities even after they hang up the uniform, for inspiring the next generation to serve.”
Biden also offered praise for military families and acknowledged those who have lost loved ones or have family members unaccounted for, saying, “We see you, we stand with you, and we will not forget.”
Citing his administration’s efforts to protect veterans, including the PACT Act, a bipartisan law that expands health benefits to veterans exposed to toxic burn pits, Biden noted that “far, far too many” veterans were still not getting the help they need.
“As our veterans know best, we are the United States of America, and there is nothing, nothing, nothing beyond our capacity.”
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