As he observed Memorial Day with the customary wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, President Joe Biden praised the sacrifice of generations of American soldiers who died defending their nation.
For the 155th National Memorial Day Observance, Biden was accompanied by first lady Jill Biden, vice president Kamala Harris, and Harris’ husband, Douglas Emhoff.
The official holiday remembering America’s dead servicemen and women was observed on Monday, one day after Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy struck a final agreement on a plan to extend the country’s debt ceiling and which is currently awaiting congressional approval.
According to the agreement’s current language, nondefense spending would remain essentially unchanged in the 2024 fiscal year and rise by 1% the following year. According to the proposal, defence spending may increase by 3% in fiscal 2024, to $886 billion, and by another 1% in fiscal 2025, to $895 billion.
After two decades of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Biden has taken pride in the fact that his Democratic government has presided over a period of relative calm for the American military.
After making good on a campaign pledge to put an end to a 20-year “forever war” that claimed the lives of more than 2400 American service personnel, Biden ended the longest war the US has ever fought in Afghanistan nearly 21 months ago.
However, under Biden’s leadership, the war in Afghanistan came to an end in August 2021 in a bloody and chaotic manner, with detractors condemning the administration’s handling of the withdrawal of about 120,000 Americans and other nationals as being poorly planned and poorly carried out.
In a review of the final days of the war published last month, the Biden administration mostly blamed his Republican predecessor, President Donald Trump, and claimed that Biden was “severely constrained” by Trump’s actions.
The U.S. is now in charge of a coalition of partners providing Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars in military and economic aid as it tries to fend off the Russian invasion, which doesn’t seem to be coming to an end.
While making it clear that he does not want American troops to get involved, Biden has insisted that he views Russia’s attempt to seize territory as a violation of international law. He has pledged to support Kyiv in its fight for victory by sending artillery, tanks, and drones, and most recently, he agreed to allow allies to train the Ukrainian military on American F-16 jets.
The Bidens hosted a breakfast at the White House for representatives of veterans organizations, military service and family organizations, surviving families of fallen American soldiers, senior Department of Defense officials, and other administration officials on Monday before the ceremony at the Arlington Cemetery in Virginia.
Later on Monday, the president and first lady were slated to travel back to their residence close to Wilmington, Delaware, where they would spend the remainder of the federal holiday.