President Biden experienced an embarrassing moment of confusion at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as he tripped during a Veterans Day service.
The president, 80, needed directions from an Arlington honor guard after laying a ceremonial wreath, taking several steps in the wrong direction before being directed to his place next to the vice president Kamala Harris.
Biden then delivered a speech about the “ultimate sacrifice” of U.S. troops, acknowledging escalating global tensions while praising how “Americans are standing watch all over the world, often at great risk to their lives.”
“Wars and conflicts, deaths and losses are not relics of our American history – they are part of our American history.”
As Biden spoke, hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators descended at his Delaware mansion to protest US support for Israel in the Middle East conflict.
After laying a ceremonial wreath, Biden appeared to need stage directions from a military officer as he took steps in the wrong direction.
Biden, 80, paid tribute to fallen soldiers, where he said “war and conflict, death and loss are not relics of our American history – they are part of American history” .
Also present at the solemn service were Second Gentleman (LR) Doug Emhoff, Vice President Kamala Harris and First Lady Jill Biden.
As Biden spoke in Arlington, hundreds of pro-Palestinian supporters descended on his Delaware mansion, criticizing U.S. support for Israel as the Middle East conflict escalates.
Biden was joined at Arlington National Cemetery by Harris, first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff to celebrate the armed forces.
Speaking in front of members of the armed forces and Gold Star families, Biden began: “Here in Arlington lie heroes who gave what President Lincoln called ‘the last full measure of devotion.’
“They have died not only at Gettysburg or at Flanders Field on the beaches of Normandy, but also in the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq over the past 20 years.
“Hundreds of graves from recent conflicts are located here. Hundreds of patriots have given their all, each leaving behind a family who live every day with their pain and absence.
He added that veterans are “the steel backbone of this nation,” and recounted famous battles that saw soldiers “linked in a chain of honor that stretches back to our founding days.”
“Everyone is 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 that is unlike any other in the history of humanity,” he said.
“This idea is the United States of America.”
U.S. President Joe Biden lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery during Veterans Day celebrations
Biden revealed a map from his jacket that he said he has had with him since he was vice president, which shows the updated number of U.S. troops who died in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Today that number is 7,036,” he said. “7,036 fallen angels who lost their lives in these conflicts.
“On this Memorial Day, we honor their legacy and sacrifice, their duty and honor to their country.”
Saturday’s service was the 70th annual National Veterans Day celebration in Arlington and followed a private reception in the East Room of the White House for veterans and military officials.
Along with his remarks, Biden’s mansion in Delaware was the subject of a huge protest against the war in the Middle East.
Dozens of Palestinian flags were seen flying outside his sprawling estate, alongside signs calling for an end to US funding of Israel after the war-torn country’s retaliatory strikes against Hamas killed at least 11,000 people in Gaza.
The president acknowledged escalating global tensions in his speech, adding: “Americans are keeping watch around the world, often at the risk of their lives. »
Saturday’s service was the 70th annual National Veterans Day celebration at Arlington National Cemetery.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris listen to the national anthem while laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
On Monday, Biden also spoke about the role of U.S. military power around the world, urging Americans to honor troops who defend democracy because it is “at risk here at home and around the world.”
“What we do now, how we honor the memory of the dead will determine whether democracy endures or not,” he said.
Biden also appeared to voice growing fears that his likely 2024 election rival, Donald Trump, could challenge the results of an election again, as he argued that “democracy thrives when the infrastructure of democracy is strong “.
The political theme expanded in his speech in Arlington on Saturday, where he stressed the importance of the “right to vote freely, fairly and conveniently.”
“We were built on one idea, the idea of freedom and opportunity for all,” Biden continued.
“We have never fully realized this aspiration of our foundation,” he argued, adding that each “generation has opened the door a little wider.”