President Biden in Memorial Day remarks Monday asked Americans not only to remember the “sacrifice” and “valor” of American military members who died in service but also their “humanity” and “precious life.”
The president lauded the United States’ fallen service members as “those who gave their all in the service of America, in the service of freedom, in the service of justice.”
“Remember their sacrifice, their valor and their grace. Remember their smiles, their loves, their laughter, their essential vibrant and transcendent humanity,” Biden added. “For while we stand amid monuments of stone, we must never forget that each of these markers, for those known and unknown, here at Arlington and far beyond, represent a precious life. A son, a daughter, a mother, a spouse, brother, a sister, a friend, a neighbor.”
Biden made the comments shortly after a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery at which he was joined by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Vice President Kamala Harris and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.
Biden appeared to pray over the wreath for a few moments before it was laid at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), more than 1 million American service members have died in the history of the United States, dating back to the Revolutionary War. The deadliest conflicts were the Civil War and World War II, which killed more than 400,000 Americans each.
The United States’ most recent war, the Global War on Terror, has killed more than 6,900 American service members, according to the CRS.
Biden also on Monday referenced the death of his son Beau Biden, a veteran, as he sympathized with the loved ones of those who have died while fighting on behalf of the country. Beau Biden died of cancer in 2015 at the age of 46.
“To those who mourn a loved one today, Jill and I have some idea how you’re feeling. Our losses are not the same. But that black hole that you feel in your chest as it’s going to suck you into it, we get,” Biden said, referring to first lady Jill Biden. “Our son Beau’s service in the Delaware National Guard unit, the year he spent deployed in Iraq, was one of the things that he was most proud of in life.”
“Every day is Memorial Day for the families of our fallen,” Milley also said Monday.