President Joe Biden asked Americans to remember the “valor” and “sacrifice” of our fallen service members during remarks on Memorial Day after participating in the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, where he was joined by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Vice President Kamala Harris and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.
“Remember their sacrifice, their valor and their grace. Remember their smiles, their loves, their laughter, their essential vibrant and transcendent humanity,” Biden said of service members who died in service to their country. “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.”
More than a million American military members have died while serving, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS). The two biggest wars in terms of casualties have been the American Civil War and World War II, each of which had over 400,000 American casualties.
“Democracy” in danger
Biden continued his speech by saying that “democracy” is in danger in America and around the world.
“The soul of America is animated by the perennial battle between our worst instincts, which we’ve seen of late, and our better angels,” Biden said. “Between ‘me first’ and ‘we the people.’ Between greed and generosity. Cruelty and kindness. Captivity and freedom.”
Biden also repeated a statement he made during his campaign, that the country is in a “struggle for the soul of America itself.”
He said that while he and wife Jill Biden may not have had the experience of having a loved one die during service to the country, they know the grief of losing a son who served, since their son Beau Biden, a veteran, died of cancer at age 46 after leaving the service.
Trump makes own Memorial Day statement
Former President Donald Trump released his own Memorial Day statement ahead of Biden’s, saying those who died while serving were “unrivaled heroes.”
“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 said. “The depth of their devotion, the steel of their resolve, and the purity of their patriotism has no equal in human history.”
“It is because of their gallantry that we can together, as one people, continue our pursuit of America’s glorious destiny,” he went on.
“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,” Trump said.
“America’s warriors are the single greatest force for justice, peace, liberty, and security among all the nations ever to exist on earth. God bless our fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, Airmen, and Marines,” he concluded.