Biden brings up dead son during Arlington Memorial Day ceremony

As President Joe Biden is wont to do when he speaks at solemn events, he referenced the loss of his eldest son, Beau, during his Memorial Day address at Arlington National Cemetery.

Memorial Day is a holiday set aside to honor and mourn U.S. military personnel who died while serving in the Armed Forces. Beau Biden, who served in the Delaware Army National Guard, died of brain cancer in 2015, nearly six years after he returned from a one-year deployment to Iraq.

“To everyone who has lost and loved someone in the service of our country, to everyone with a loved one still missing or unaccounted for, I know how hard it can be,” Biden said. “It can reopen that black hole in the middle of your chest, bringing you back to the exact moment you got that phone call, heard that knock on the door, or held the hand when the last breath was taken. I know it hurts. The hurt is still real, still raw.”

“This week marks nine years since I lost my son, Beau,” he continued. “Our losses are not the same. He didn’t perish on the battlefield. He was a cancer victim from a consequence of being in the Army in Iraq for a year next to a burn pit — a major in the U.S. National — Army National Guard, living and working, like too many, besides that toxic burn pit.”

“And as it is for so many of you, the pain of his loss is with me every day, as it is with you — still sharp, still clear,” Biden added.

The president has been consistent in blaming his son’s brain cancer on exposure to toxic burn pits while he was serving abroad.

At one point during his remarks, the president walked right up to the edge of campaigning against Republican rival Donald Trump.

“We gather at this sacred place for this solemn moment to remember, to honor, the sacrifice of the hundreds of thousands of women and men who have given their lives to this nation,” Biden said. “Each one bound by a common commitment, not to a place, not to a person, not to a president, but to an idea unlike any idea in human history: the idea of the United States.”

The overtones toward the former president were clear to see for many.

There was also a moment when Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was speaking at the ceremony that the 81-year-old president appeared to fall asleep.

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story, as seen on  the social media platform X:

Tom Tillison


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