President Joe Biden on Thursday delivered a speech during a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in honor of Veterans Day, marking the first peace-time remembrance of fallen troops in more than two decades.


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“Our veterans represent the best of America. You are the very spine of America, not just the backbone. You’re the spine of this country. And all of us — all of us — owe you. And so, on Veterans Day and every day, we honor that great debt and recommit ourselves to keeping our sacred obligation as a nation to honor what you’ve done,” Biden said in his address.

Veterans Day is “personal” for himself and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden said the president, whose son late son Beau, a former member of the National Guard, served in Iraq.

He remarked on the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan this summer, which formally ended the bloody twenty-year occupation that took the lives of 2,448 American service members, 3,846 American contractors, 66,000 Afghan national military and police and over 47,000 Afghan civilians.

“For two decades, the lives of our service members and their families and veterans have been shaped by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 9/11, hundreds of thousands of Americans have served. So many are still serving today in harm’s way, and we cannot forget them. The American people are forever grateful and in awe of what you’ve accomplished,” said Biden.

The commander in chief pledged that his administration will “meet the sacred obligation that we owe you” and “work with Congress — Republicans and Democrats together — to make sure our veterans receive the world-class benefits that they’ve earned, and meet the sacred — the specific care — specific needs that they each individually need.”

Biden added that the “mighty arm of the American warrior — never bending, never breaking, never yielding… secured for us the blessings of a nation that still stands today as the beacon of liberty, democracy, and justice around the world.”

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