Global Courant 2023-05-30 00:50:32
WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden praised the sacrifice of generations of American troops who “dared and gave their all” in fighting for their country and called on Americans to ensure that their “sacrifice was not in vain” as he marked Memorial Day with the traditional wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery.
Biden was joined by First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Harris’ husband Douglas Emhoff for the 155th National Memorial Day Observance. He had a moment of contemplation before the wreath, which was decorated with flowers and a red, white, and blue bow, and then bowed his head in prayer.
“We must never forget the price paid to protect our democracy,” Biden later said in a speech at the Memorial Amphitheater. “We must never forget the lives these flags, flowers and marble markers represent.”
- Advertisement -
“Every year we remember,” he said. “And every year it never gets easier.”
Monday’s federal holiday honoring America’s fallen servicemen came a day after Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached a final agreement on a deal that would increase the US debt limit and is now awaiting approval by Congress.
As it stands, the agreement would keep non-defense spending about the same in fiscal year 2024 and increase it by 1% the following year. The measure would allow defense growth of 3% in fiscal 2024, to $886 billion, and then another 1% in fiscal 2025, to $895 billion.
Biden is proud that his Democratic administration has overseen a time of relative peace for the US military after two decades of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It’s been nearly 21 months since Biden ended the United States’ longest war in Afghanistan, fulfilling a campaign promise to end a 20-year-old “forever war” that has claimed the lives of more than 2,400 US military personnel.
- Advertisement -
However, the war in Afghanistan ended chaotically and deadly under Biden’s watch in August 2021, with critics decrying the government’s handling of the evacuation of some 120,000 US citizens, Afghans and others as poorly planned and poorly executed.
The Biden administration released an overview of the final days of the war last month, largely blaming his Republican predecessor, President Donald Trump, and claiming that Biden was “severely constrained” by Trump’s decisions.
The US now leads a coalition of allies pouring tens of billions of dollars in military and economic aid into Ukraine as they try to fend off the Russian invasion, which seems to have no end.
- Advertisement -
While making it clear that he has no need for US troops to enter the conflict, Biden has maintained that he sees Russia’s attempt to seize territory as an affront to international standards and has vowed to help Kiev win, through artillery, tanks and drones and recently agreed to allow allies to train Ukrainian military personnel on US F-16 jets.
Biden linked the sacrifices of some 400,000 Americans buried in Arlington to the work of US troops deployed around the world today, saying the impact of the fallen men and women “goes far beyond that silent stones” of the solemn cemetery.
“We see the strength of our NATO alliance built from the bonds forged in the fires of two world wars,” Biden said. “We see it in the troops still standing guard on the Korean peninsula, side by side with allies keeping the peace. We see it in every base, every barracks, every ship around the world where our military proudly serves and stands as a force for good in the world.”
During the ceremony in Arlington, Biden also spoke about the need to care for American servicemen on and off the battlefield.
“We have only one truly sacred obligation: to prepare those we put at risk and care for them and their families when they come home and when they don’t,” Biden said.
The president took note of legislation he signed into law to expand federal health care for millions of veterans serving on military bases where toxic fumes seeped from massive fire pits, which until a few years ago were used by the military to burn chemicals, tires, plastic and clean up medical and medical equipment. human waste.
Prior to the ceremony at the cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, the Bidens hosted a White House breakfast for members of veterans organizations, military service and military family organizations, surviving families of fallen U.S. troops, senior Defense Department officials and other government officials.
The president and first lady would return to their home near Wilmington, Delaware, later Monday to spend the remainder of the federal holiday.