President Joe Biden observed not just his first Veterans Day as commander in chief with remarks at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetary, but that wasn’t the only major milestone being commemorated on Thursday.
It was also the first time in 20 years that America wasn’t at war on the day we honor our military veterans.
President Biden said it was “the single greatest honor” he’s been afforded as president to stand before veterans and Medal of Honor recipients to speak about Veterans Day. “Today we pay homage to the unrelenting bravery and dedication that distinguishes all of those who earned the title of ‘American Veteran,'” the President said to the crowd of observers. “For two decades, the lives of our service members and their families and veterans have been shaped by the conflicts in Afghanistan. Since 9/11, hundreds of thousands of Americans have served. So many are still serving in harm’s way. We cannot forget them,” he said
Tune in as I deliver remarks at the National Veterans Day Observance at the Memorial Amphitheater. https://t.co/9OvletPbjI
— President Biden (@POTUS) November 11, 2021
The President then took his printed daily schedule out of his suit jacket pocket and said, as he has in speeches before, that he keeps an updated list from the Defense Department of the number of American troops killed and wounded in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq written on the back of it.
Pres. Biden: "We have many obligations, but one truly sacred obligation: to properly prepare those and equip those who we send into harm's way, and care for them and their families…This is a lifetime sacred commitment. It never expires." https://t.co/Zxj3ZIpEOv #VeteransDay pic.twitter.com/cA3rzq07fg
— ABC News (@ABC) November 11, 2021
The President said that Americans are “forever grateful” for what veterans have accomplished, but that in fulfilling their missions, “so many veterans and their families and caregivers have been through hell.” Speaking about his late son, Beau, whom he has said in the past he suspects had exposure to “burn pits” overseas which contributed to his death from cancer, President Biden said took action on that health issue Thursday.
Our first Veterans Day in 20 years where America is not at war in a foreign land. 🇺🇸
— Jonathan D. Lovitz (@jdlovitz) November 11, 2021
“I want you to know that our administration will meet the sacred obligation that we owe you,” he said. “We’re going to work with Congress — Republicans and Democrats together — to make sure our veterans receive the world-class benefits that they’ve earned.”