National Memorial Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery, May 30, 2022.
The Armed Forces Honor guard and the United States Army band are formed and waiting as the president moves to the tomb of the unknown soldier to place the wreath. Ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the playing of the national anthem. The wreath laying taps and while the president observes a moment of silence. Oh, mm hmm, mm hmm. Oh oh Oh, mm hmm. Okay. Mhm. Yeah. Mhm. Hi. Oh, oh, please be seated. The wreath ceremony is now complete. The Memorial Day. Observance will begin momentarily. Please move to your seats. Okay, on ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the arrival of the official party and remain standing for the invocation and national anthem. Mm Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States, accompanied by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mm hmm. Ladies and gentlemen, chaplain, Colonel James Foster Command chaplain, Joint Task Force, National Capital region and the United States Army Military District of Washington. I invite you to a moment of prayer with me on this hot an amazing day. Almighty God who rules the nations and gives freely to those who ask. I praise you this morning and thank you for a nation here who continues to call upon your name. I thank you for the blessings you have bestowed upon us and the freedoms we enjoy because of your righteous right arm For generation after generation. Now the men and women of this nation have stood up when called upon in order to do our very best at providing liberty justice for all and a peace that passes all understanding the headstones surrounding this amphitheater and a multitude of others around the globe stand and representation of the brave souls that have gone on before us and for which we give particular thanks today, Lord, they call out to us to choose wisely in our endeavors. So on this day of remembrance stir our hearts to stand united and to continue striving for that piece that only you provide. Now bless our efforts and our words in this place today, in your holy name, I ask it. Amen. Please remain standing for our national anthem presented by the United States Air Force band and singing sergeants, please be seated. Ladies and gentlemen, General Mark A Milley, Mr. President madam, Vice President, Secretary Austin, Distinguished Gas, fellow Americans and most importantly Gold Star. Families welcome to all and it’s an honor to join you all in Solemn remembrance and reflection on the 154th observance of Memorial Day For the over one million Americans who have given the last full measure of devotion in service to our country. Beginning with the founding of our nation. More than 42 million Americans have worn the cloth of our country from Lexington and concord New York town. From an axis to Appomattox in Bella warden Normandy and Iwo Jima Poussin Inchon, the I drank Ramadi Mosul and the Arghandab. These places are forever etched in our national vocabulary and in our collective memory. The story of the sacrifices made is the story of our nation. It’s the story of our values and behind every fallen soldier, sailor airman or marine is a family. A family whose sacrifice beats in the heart of every American on this day reflect and the parents who grow up without the comfort of their child, of the Children who grow up without a parent. For the families of our fallen every day it’s Memorial Day mm our fallen fought and gave their lives for an idea. A simple yet powerful idea. The idea that is America embedded in our founding documents, declaration of independence and the constitution for which we swear an oath. The idea that here in the United States of America, every single one of us is born free and equal, no matter who you are, no matter where you came from. Under these colors of red, white and blue. All of us, every single one of us as an American and our fallen lived knowing that freedom and the idea that is America it is worth fighting for and it’s up to us the living to ensure they did not die in vain and we do that by recommitting ourselves to the idea the values that constitute America that we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and all women are endowed by their creator with the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and we uphold the cause not just for which they died but the cause for which they live and we must continue. We must live a life that is worthy of their sacrifice. And we continue to build this nation and never forget the idea that is America. So on this day, every day may God bless our fallen and the cause for which they gave their all, it is now my privilege to introduce the Secretary of Defense. A man who I have personally witnessed his leadership in the crucible of battle and I have had the pleasure of knowing him for a quarter of a century. He’s a leader of courage, leader of integrity, a leader of grit. It’s my pleasure to serve alongside him Yet again. Ladies and gentlemen, It’s my honor to introduce the 28th United States Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III. What? Mr. President dr Biden. Vice President Harris Mr. Emhoff, fellow members of the Cabinet, General Milley and Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Good afternoon to our distinguished guests. Our service members and my fellow veterans. Thank you for letting us share this day with you and to the Gold Star and surviving families here you honor us with your presence. I know that when you look across this hallowed ground, you ache for those you have lost your devotion to your loved ones has never faltered and in turn, America owes all of you support that does not waver. We renew that dedication every Memorial Day. And as we do, we also renew our faith in our democracy and the values of self-government that bind us together As Americans. We understand the stakes in the 21st century. The security of the world hinges again on the survival and success of the American experiment. And in turn, that great experiment relies on the American patriots who volunteered to keep their fellow citizens safe and their nation secure. And these patriots scary the moral force that can be wielded only by free people defending their inalienable rights and the rule of law. Thank you Today. On the battlefields of Ukraine, the world again sees the power of democratic citizens and soldiers to defy tyranny, cruelty and oppression. Their freedom is under attack. And so is the international order rooted in the rules that we have built since World War two at such terrible costs. We understand the challenge and we’re determined to meet it. As the president says in the battle between democracy and autocracy, these democracies arising to the moment. We draw inspiration from the unity of our allies and partners and we draw strength from the men and women of the United States military. In the years since we last gathered on this solemn day, America’s longest war has come to a close And today we remember the 2461 American service members and personnel who fell in Afghanistan and we remember all those those who still carry the wounds of that war two body into Seoul we hold them in our hearts alongside the patriots across generations who gave their lives to defend assault. The heroes here are buried are joined together united, not just by their final resting place but by their devotion to the values that gave life to our democracy. And they came from every state, from every territory, from every background and from every creed. But they were all patriots who love their country who marched to defend our democracy and who fought to forge a more perfect union. Their sacrifice demands more than even our deepest gratitude. In the words of President Kennedy who rests nearby quote, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them. So as we honor our fallen today, let us live by their dedication to democracy, to liberty and to the constitution when choosing between what is easy and what is right. Let us live by the example of our fallen warriors and when the values that we hold dear are put to the test, let us live by the ideals that they gave their lives to defend today. We hold the fallen in our prayers and every day we strive to make them proud. Thank you again for being here today. And ladies and gentlemen, our commander in chief has been a staunch and steadfast champion our men and women of our men and women in uniform and I know personally how much he values their sacrifice, their commitment and how devoted he is to our men and women in uniform and to the families who serve alongside him. He has spent a lifetime in public service to advance the democratic ideals for which so many have given so much. It is my honor to introduce the President of the United States. Thank you. They lie here. Glory and honor and quiet rose in Arlington in cemeteries in Europe that I’ve visited many of you have engraved across our country in towns large and small. America’s beloved daughters and sons who dared all risk all and gave all to preserve and defend an idea unlike any other in human history, the idea of the United States of America Today. As a nation, we undertake a sacred ritual reflect and remember because if we forget the lives of each of those silent markers represent mothers, fathers, siblings, spouses, Children, if we forget what they sacrificed what they made so that our nation might endure strong, free and united, then we forget who we are, who we are. Ladies and gentlemen, our first lady, The love of my life. Jill. Vice President Harris, 2nd Gentleman, Secretary Austin, General Milley, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Cabinet members. Gold star families most importantly and survivors today renew our sacred bow, wow! It’s a simple vow to remember to remember Memorial Day. There’s always a day we’re paying and pride are mixed together. We all know it sitting here Jill and I know it days today our son died folks, Those who’ve lost a loved one to the service of our country. If your loved one is missing were unaccounted for. I know the ceremonies reopened. That black hole in the center of your chest. It just pulls you in. Suffocates you. I said seven years ago today our son Major Beau Biden because last dress at Walter reed, Major in Delaware Army National Guard. He insisted on employing Iraq with his unit for a year when he was Attorney General came home and decorated soldier, bronze Star Region of Merit fellers, conspicuous service cross. He didn’t die in the line of duty. He came home from Iraq with cancer. It was horrific cancer that stole us from it. Oh and him from us. But still it always feels to me a Memorial Day. I see him not as it was the last time I held his hand, but the day I pinned his bars on him as a second lieutenant. I see him with me down at the Delaware Memorial bridge hugging all the gold star families days like this. Bring back before your eyes, their smile and they’re laughing. The last conversation. You had each of you know it. The hurt can be overwhelming, but for so many of you as is with Jill and me, the herd is wrapped around the knowledge that your loved one was part of something bigger bigger than any of us. They chose a life of purpose. It sounds corny like a Memorial Day speech. But I mean from the bottom of my heart they chose a life of purpose. They had a mission and above all they believed in duty. They believe in honor. They believe in their country and still today we are free because they were brave. We live by the light the flame of liberty but they kept burning and so part of them still with us, no matter how long ago we lost them, as hard as it is for many to believe, especially those whose loss is still raw. I promise you the day will come When the memory of your loved one, your patriot will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye. That’s when you know you’re going to make it today. American American service members stand watch around the world and as many of you know it often at great personal risk and this Memorial Day, we know the memory is still painful of all the fallen who lost their lives during the last two decades in combat. Each of them leaving behind the family and community hearts broken by their absence and lives, it will never be the same. We’ve seen the hundreds of graves Here in section 60 at Arlington reminder that there’s nothing low risk for low cost about war for the women and men who fight it. 7054 American military members gave their lives over 20 years of our Iraq and Afghan conflicts untold others died of injuries and illness connected to the service and these wars. And the enduring grief formed by the survivors. The cost of war that will carry as a nation forever. And so to every gold star family to every survivor and family members and caregivers. This grateful nation. Oh, she’s you as well as diversity. You lost. And we can never repay the sacrifice, but we will never stop trying. Will never fail in our duty to remember with their lives they bought our freedom. And so with our lives, we must always live up to their example, putting service before self-caring for our neighbors as ourselves, working fervently to bring our union just that much closer to the filling the founding creed, as the secretary said that all women and men are created equal. I’ve often said that as a nation, we have many obligations, but the only one that is truly sacred, the only truly sacred obligation we have is to prepare and equip those women and men, we send into harm’s way and care for them and their families when they return home and when they don’t, this is an obligation that unites Americans. It brings us together to make sure that women and men who were willing to lay down their lives for us, get the very best from us. In return. I want to acknowledge we’re making progress in key areas like comprehensive bipartisan legislation of this advancing in Congress that will deliver health care services and benefits to veterans and their survivors impacted by toxic exposures. You don’t know how many Americans and service members may have died because of what they’re exposed to in the battlefield, toxic smoke from burn pits near where they were based. Burn prison incinerated with the waste of war, medical and hazardous material, jet fuel and so much more. We have a duty to do right by them and I’m determined to make sure that our brave service families and members that served alongside them do not wait decades for the care and benefits that they deserve. That’s why that’s why we’re working so hard to find out what the facts are, where we can still save lives. We have to act all of us also have a duty to renew our commitment to the foundational values of our nation and their honor. For those are the values that have inspired generation after generation to service on Friday. I spoke at the graduation and commissioning of ceremony of the U. S. Naval Academy. I had an opportunity before. Not before as well. It was a remarkable experience. Again, an honor. Looking out at those young men and women newly commissioned officers embarking on a life of service they hold before them. The example of the heroes have gone before them. Many of your family members, heroes who have answered duty’s call election unconquered and teach him and Gettysburg fellow Woods, Battle of the Bulge, the Korean and Vietnam and Afghanistan Iraq and so many other places around the world. So many of whom never returned home, including the legacy of all those held prisoners of war or who are still missing in action to be here today. Soon after that joyful celebration at the academy. This is a bracing reminder of all that we ask of our service members and their families for john the strong shoulders and noble spirits of our service members that our freedom is built. Our democracy is sustained and in this moment when a war of aggression is once more being waged by Russia to snuff out the freedom of democracy, the very culture and identity of neighboring Ukraine. We So so we see so clearly all that’s at stake. Mhm. Freedom has never been free. Democracy has always required champions today. And the perennial struggle for democracy and freedom, Ukraine and his people are on the frontlines fighting to save their nation, but their fight is part of a larger fight. The unites all people. There’s a fight that so many of the patriots whose eternal rest is here in these hallowed grounds, we’re part of a battle between democracy and autocracy, between liberty and repression between appetites and ambition of a few will forever seek to dominate the lives and liberties of many a battle for essential democratic principles, the rule of law, free and fair elections, freedom to speak and write in to assemble. Freedom to worship as one chooses freedom of the press. Principles that are essential for a free society. Heard this a lot, you’ve heard this a lot over the years, but we’re now realizing how real it is around the world. In so many countries as I speak, these are the foundations of our great experiment, but they are never guaranteed. Even here in America, every generation has to defeat democracies, mortal foes and into every generation. Heroes are born willing to shed their blood for that was they. And we hold dear ladies and gentlemen today we remember and we reaffirm freedom is worth the sacrifice. Democracy is not perfect. It’s never been good. Perfect, but it’s worth fighting for if necessary, worth dying for. It’s more than just. Our former government is part of the very soul of America. The soul of America. Our democracy is our greatest gift as a nation made holy by those of what we’ve lost along the way, our democracy that we undertake the constant work a perfected union and we have not perfected it. But we’ve never stopped trying of opening the door is wider from opportunity and prosperity and justice for people everywhere. Our democracy is how we endure through every challenge, Overcome every obstacle we faced through the last 246 years of self-government and how we’ve come back stronger and before we must never walk away from that, we must never betray the lives laid down to make our nation a beacon to the world a citadel, Liberty and justice for everyone. This is the mission of our time. Our memorial to them must not be just a day when we pause and pray. There must be a daily commitment to act. Come together to be worthy of the price that was paid. May God bring comfort to all those who mourn. May, God bless our gold star Families and survivors, please God protect our troops. God bless America and all of you. Thank you. Mhm. Yeah. Okay. Mm hmm. Yeah. Mm hmm. Ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the playing of taps and the benediction. Oh. Mhm. Mhm. Mhm. Yeah. Mhm. Yeah. Yeah. That please join me in this closing prayer. Lord thank you for this nation. We call home. Thank you once again for those who as the song says more than self, their country loved for the families of those fallen that are still grieving today. These are the patriots who continue to pay the price for the peace and security we enjoy now God bless us with your spirit as we strive to ensure their full measure of devotion and blessed with strength and courage. Those who faithfully continue to serve God bless America. Her leaders and all her Children. Amen. Please remain standing for the singing of America. The beautiful performed by the United States Air Force Band and the Singing Sergeants. Okay, mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Mm hmm. Yeah. Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Mm hmm. Mhm mm hmm, mm hmm, mm hmm. Mhm. Yeah. Mm hmm, mm hmm. Mhm. Okay. Ladies and gentlemen, please remain in place as the official party departs and the colors are retired. Mm hmm. Mhm. What? Mhm mm hmm. Mhm. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for attending today’s program and enjoy your day.