The United States Contributes USD $223 Million to Help World Food Programme (WFP) Save Lives and Stave Off Severe Hunger in South SudanRead more Eritrea: World Breastfeeding WeekRead more Eritrean community festival in Scandinavian countriesRead more IOM: Uptick in Migrants Heading Home as World Rebounds from COVID-19Read more Network International & Infobip to offer WhatsApp for Business Banking Services to Financial Institution Clients across AfricaRead more Ambassador Jacobson Visits Gondar in the Amhara Region to Show Continued U.S. Support for the Humanitarian and Development Needs of EthiopiansRead more Voluntary Repatriation of Refugees from Angola to DR Congo ResumesRead more Senegal and Mauritania Are Rich in Resources, Poor in Infrastructure, Now Is the Time to Change That Read more Madinat Jumeirah: Dubai’s Stunning Four Hotel Beach Resort Offers Unirvalled Benefits for Summer StaycationsRead more Measles: EU Provides €450,000 in Humanitarian Response to Measles Outbreaks in SomaliaRead more

On Veterans Day, Biden honors troops as ‘spine of America’

show caption
US President Joe Biden paid solemn tribute to American service members on Veterans Day./AFP
Print Friendly and PDF

Nov 12, 2021 - 08:30 AM

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday saluted the nation’s troops as the “very spine of America” at a Veterans Day ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery — the first since the end of military operations in Afghanistan.

Biden also paid tribute to the late retired four-star general Colin Powell, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state who died last month of complications from Covid-19, after a battle with cancer.

“Our veterans represent the best of America,” Biden said at the ceremony, which also marked the 100th anniversary of the hallowed Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

“You are the very spine of America, not just the backbone. You’re the spine of this country.  And all of us — all of us — owe you.”

Biden, who has come under fire from US veterans of the war in Afghanistan for the chaotic US withdrawal from the country in late August, said that military members and their families had seen their lives “shaped by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

“Since 9/11, hundreds of thousands of Americans have served. So many are still serving today in harm’s way, and we cannot forget them,” he said, alluding to US soldiers still deployed in Iraq and eastern Syria to fight the jihadist Islamic State group.

Biden, whose son Beau served in Iraq before he succumbed to brain cancer, emphasized that “so many veterans and their families and caregivers have been through hell.”

He laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where, in recent days, the public was allowed for the first time in a century to leave flowers.

Normally, the public is kept at a distance from the monument, but thousands came to pay their respects and leave tokens of gratitude this week.

To mark the centenary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which in 1921 first housed the remains of a US soldier who died on a French battlefield during World War I, troops dressed in period uniforms paraded through the cemetery.

Since that initial burial, two other unknown soldiers have been laid to rest in the tomb: one killed in World War II and one killed in the Korean war.

A fourth soldier killed in Vietnam was also buried there, but his remains were later identified and buried in Missouri, in accordance with his family’s wishes.

MAORANDCITIES.COM uses both Facebook and Disqus comment systems to make it easier for you to contribute. We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. All comments should be relevant to the topic. By posting, you agree to our Privacy Policy. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, name-calling, foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected – when using Facebook comment system – your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the Facebook comment box to report spam or abuse. You can also email us.