Memorial Day 2021: Biden lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as Trump honors the nation's 'fallen heroes'
JOE Biden laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during his first Memorial Day ceremony as president on Monday.
Biden traveled to Arlington National Cemetary with first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff.
Also standing at the president's side was Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley.
The president appeared to wipe away a single tear as he laid the wreath on the grave shortly after 10am.
He then addressed the nation from the national military ceremony.
"We gathered at this sacred case in this solemn hour engaged in the most fundamental of undertakings: the right of remembrance," Biden said. "To remember those who gave their all in the service of America and the service of freedom and the service of justice."
Biden attended the traditional wreath-laying ceremony after returning to the capital from his home in Delaware where he spent much of the holiday weekend.
On Sunday he spoke at a memorial service in New Castle, honoring the men and women who have died in the line of duty.
"I can’t thank you enough for the continued service for the country," Biden said as he addressed a crowd at the War Memorial Plaza in the shadow of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. "I know how much the loss hurts."
"They’re the guardians of us and we’re the guardians of their legacy," the president said. "Despite all the pain, I know the pride you feel in the loved one you have lost."
The president also marked the sixth anniversary of the death of his son, Beau, an Iraq war veteran who died from a brain tumor in 2015 aged 46.
Hours earlier on Sunday, Biden and first lady Jill visited Beau's gravesite in St. Joseph shortly after attending church.
Vice President Kamala Harris, meanwhile, provoked outrage on Saturday when she tweered "enjoy the long weekend" without mentioning the nation's fallen troops.
"I’ve never been able to ‘enjoy' Memorial Day. It became that much harder when I lost my son fighting for this country. Thanks anyway Madam Vice President," one user hit back.
On Sunday, Harris issued a second statement about the holiday weekend, this time paying tribute to America's military.
“Throughout our history, our servicemen and women have risked everything to defend our freedoms and our country,” she wrote.
“As we prepare to honor them on Memorial Day, we remember their service and their sacrifice.”
Biden's precessesor, former President Donald Trump, also shared his own tribute to the military in a statement on his website on Monday.
"On this Memorial Day, we remember the fallen heroes who took their last breaths in defense of our Nation, our families, our citizens, and our sacred freedoms," Trump wrote.
"The depth of their devotion, the steel of their resolve, and the purity of their patriotism has no equal in human history."
Trump continued that "on distant battlefields, in far-off oceans, and high in the skies above, they faced down our enemies and gave their lives so that America would prevail."
He said that those being honored this Memorial Day "made supreme sacrifice so that our people can live in safety and our Nation can thrive in peace. It is because of their gallantry that we can together, as one people, continue our pursuit of America’s glorious destiny."
"We owe all that we are, and everything we ever hope to be, to these unrivaled heroes. Their memory and their legacy is immortal. Our loyalty to them and to their families is eternal and everlasting," he concluded.
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