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Biden Lauds Generations of US Troops   05/30 06:04

   President Joe Biden lauded the sacrifice of generations of U.S. troops who 
"dared all and gave all" fighting for their country and called on Americans to 
ensure their "sacrifice was not in vain" in Memorial Day observances at 
Arlington National Cemetery.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Joe Biden lauded the sacrifice of generations 
of U.S. troops who "dared all and gave all" fighting for their country and 
called on Americans to ensure their "sacrifice was not in vain" in Memorial Day 
observances at Arlington National Cemetery.

   Biden was joined at the traditional wreath-laying ceremony by first lady 
Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Harris' husband, Douglas Emhoff, 
for the 155th National Memorial Day Observance. He had a moment of 
contemplation in front of the wreath, which was adorned with flowers and a red, 
white and blue bow, and then bowed his head in prayer.

   "We must never forget the price that was paid to protect our democracy," 
Biden said later in an address at the Memorial Amphitheater. "We must never 
forget the lives these flags, flowers and marble markers represent."

   "Every year we remember," he said. "And every year it never gets easier."

   Monday's federal holiday honoring America's fallen service members came a 
day after Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached final 
agreement on a deal that would raise America's debt limit and that now awaits 
approval by Congress.

   As it stands, the agreement would keep nondefense spending roughly flat in 
the 2024 fiscal year and increase it by 1% the following year. The measure 
would allow for 3% defense growth that year, to $886 billion, and then 1% the 
next year, to $895 billion.

   Biden has taken pride that his Democratic administration has overseen a time 
of relative peace for the U.S. military after two decades of war in Afghanistan 
and Iraq.

   It's been nearly 21 months since Biden ended the United States' longest war, 
in Afghanistan, making good on a campaign promise to end a 20-year-old "forever 
war" that cost the lives of more than 2,400 U.S. service members.

   The war in Afghanistan, however, ended in chaotic and deadly fashion on 
Biden's watch in August 2021 with critics assailing the administration's 
handling of the evacuation of some 120,000 American citizens, Afghans and 
others as poorly planned and badly executed.

   The Biden administration last month released a review of the last days of 
the war, largely blaming his Republican predecessor, President Donald Trump, 
and asserting that Biden was "severely constrained" by Trump's decisions.

   The U.S. now finds itself leading a coalition of allies pouring tens of 
billions of dollars in military and economic aid into Ukraine as it tries to 
repel the Russian invasion, which appears to have no end in sight.

   While making clear that he has no desire for U.S. troops to enter the 
conflict, Biden has maintained that he sees the Russian effort to grab 
territory as an affront to international norms and has vowed to help Kyiv win, 
sending artillery, tanks and drones and recently agreeing to allow allies to 
train Ukrainian military on American F-16 jets.

   Biden connected the sacrifices of some 400,000 Americans buried at Arlington 
to the work of U.S. troops deployed around the world today, saying the impact 
of the fallen men and women "goes far beyond those silent stones" of the solemn 
burial ground.

   "We see the strength of our NATO alliance built from the bonds that were 
forged in the fires of two World Wars," Biden said. "We see it in the troops 
still standing sentinel on the Korean Peninsula, preserving the peace side by 
side with allies. We see it in every base, every barrack, every vessel around 
the globe where our military proudly serves and stands as a force for good in 
the world."

   During the Arlington ceremony, Biden also spoke of the need to care for U.S. 
service members on and off the battlefield.

   "We have only one truly sacred obligation: to prepare those we send into 
harm's way and care for them and their families when they come home and when 
they don't," Biden said.

   The president noted legislation he had signed expanding federal health care 
services for millions of veterans who served at military bases where toxic 
smoke billowed from huge burn pits, commonly used by the military until several 
years ago to dispose of chemicals, tires, plastics and medical and human waste.

   Before Monday's ceremony at the Arlington, Virginia, cemetery, the Bidens 
hosted a breakfast at the White House for members of veterans organizations, 
military service and military family organizations, surviving families of 
fallen U.S. troops, senior Defense Department and other administration 

   The president and the first lady returned to their home near Wilmington, 
Delaware, later Monday.

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