President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses paid tribute to veterans at Arlington National Cemetery Saturday.
They arrived at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Saturday morning to honor veterans for Veterans Day, as a line of officers held flags from different military branches and the military band played the national anthem.
In remarks at the Memorial Amphitheater, Biden recounted famous battles fought by U.S. troops, The Associated Press reported.
He said soldiers are “linked in a chain of honor that stretches back to our founding days. Each one bound by a sacred oath to support and defend. Not a place, not a person, not a president, but an idea, to defend an idea unlike any other in human history. That idea is the United States of America.”
According to the White House, they participated in the Presidential Armed Force Full Honor Wreath-Laying Ceremony with the Department of Veterans Affairs secretary Denis McDonough, military officers and officials for veterans programs.
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The annual day of remembrance honors members of the military and has been a day of reflection since World War I. It is observed on Nov. 11 because the armistice between Germany and the allied nations went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year.
When it became a holiday, Veterans Day was known as Armistice Day. It was meant to mark the war to end all wars after the brutality of World War I. It became known as Veterans Day in 1954 after Congress, at the urging of veterans groups, changed the name.
Federal employees observed the holiday Friday, and celebrations and observances continued into the weekend.
At the ceremony, Biden honored his late son, Beau, who was enlisted in the Delaware Army National Guard in 2003 and was deployed to Iraq in 2008. He earned the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star before he died in 2015 of brain cancer.
“We miss him,” Biden said.
As commander in chief, Biden said he has no higher honor. As the father of a son who served, he said he has no greater privilege.
“Our veterans are the steel spine of this nation and their families, like so many of you, are the courageous heart,” Biden told the crowd in Arlington.
The Associated Press contributed.