President Biden mourned his late son Beau in Memorial Day remarks at Arlington National Ceremony, sharing the pain of loss with those who’ve had family members die in service to the nation.
‘We must never forget the price that was paid to protect our democracy. Must never forget the lives these flags, flowers and marble markers represent. A mother or a father, a son or a daughter, a sister, a spouse, a friend, an American,’ Biden said. Monday. ‘Every year we remember and every year it never gets easier.’
Biden’s eldest son, Beau, died of brain cancer in 2015 at the Walter Reed military hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. Beau Biden was a major in the Delaware Army National Guard and served in the Iraq War. The president has often times said Beau’s death from cancer was caused by ‘burn pits’ in Iraq, for which he signed the PACT Act to expand health care benefits for veterans exposed to deadly toxins.
The president observed that tomorrow will be the eighth anniversary of his son’s death and he empathized with Gold Star families.
‘To all those here and across the nation who are grieving, loss of a loved one who wore the uniform, our Gold Star families, for all those with loved ones still missing, unaccounted for: I know how painful it can be, how it can reopen that… rip open that black hole in the center of your chest. You feel like you’re just sinking in,’ Biden said. ‘The hurt is still real. It’s still raw.’
‘Tomorrow marks eight years since we lost our son, Beau. Our loss, we are not the same. He didn’t perish on the battlefield. It was cancer that stole him from us a year after he deployed as a major in the United States Army National Guard in Iraq. As it is for so many of you, the pain of loss is with us every day, but particularly sharp on Memorial Day,’ he continued.
‘Still clear – tomorrow’s his anniversary – so is the pride Jill and I feel in his service. It’s why I can still hear him saying, ‘Dad, it’s my duty, Dad. It’s my duty.’ Duty. That was the code my son lived by and all those you lost live by. It’s the creed that millions of service members have followed.’
In his speech, the president called on Americans to ‘reflect, to remember, but above all to recommit to the future our fallen heroes fought for.’ He said those who live today because of the service of those who died must continue to fight for freedom, democracy, equality and justice.
‘This is more important than just our system of government,’ Biden said. ‘It’s the very soul of America, a soul that was forged by our nation’s first patriots. A soul that triumphed over trials and testing less than a century later. A soul that endured because of the sacrifice of generations and generations of service members ever since. Together, we’re not just the fortunate inheritors of their legacy. We must be the keeper of their mission, the bearers of the flame of freedom that kept burning bright for nearly 241 years.’