On the seventh anniversary of Army Major Beau Biden’s death, his father, President Joe Biden finally delivered an appropriate speech after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery. Some traditions are still worthy of respect.
Less Political – More Patriotic
As camera shutters whirred and clicked, armed forces in dress blues and whites made way for their commander-in-chief. Concluding the ceremony, Biden made the Sign of the Cross and began the short journey to the podium. The careworn man dabbed at his eyes frequently, squinting in the sun, while quietly struggling to stifle coughing jags.
But unlike his public events in the past, Biden did not turn the occasion into a political stump speech. He did mention, briefly, what a bipartisan Congress was doing to help veterans and families. Although not mentioning it by name, the president referred to the Burn-pit Bill before Congress. And he spent a brief minute explaining that Ukraine was fighting for the foundations our nation was built upon – “the foundation of this great experiment” — and it made sense. But that is where talk of politics ended, and honor for the fallen was imparted.
And although Biden tends to repeat his favorite phrasings in the same remarks for emphasis, the Memorial Day speech was more heartfelt. More convincing. More sincere. He reiterated the words that provided meaning and comfort to families who mourn lost loved ones, mentioning Gold Star families and the ongoing support all Americans owe them ad infinitum. As he intoned, “The hurt is wrapped around the knowledge that they were part of something bigger. We must always live up to their example. Putting service before self.”
Of course, he spoke of his son, Beau, and the last time he held his hand, the last conversation he still clings to, and the fact that “I see him.”
Remarks also included the recent US Naval Commissioned Officers ceremony, where he was the featured guest speaker. Again, the optimism, patriotism, and dedication to service of the country were in full view. And he spoke about how this generation is committed to protecting the United States and that “freedom is worth the sacrifice.”
And although Biden spoke solemnly of sacrifices buried in the graves at Arlington National Cemetery and graveyards and mausoleums sprinkled about America, he also asked the nation to “be worthy of the price that was paid” by all before us on this Memorial Day and every day to follow.
He simply asked every American to “renew the vow to remember pain and pride mixed together.” It was almost as if he saw Beau sitting in the front row. One of the president’s better speeches.
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