Vice President Kamala Harris marked Veterans Day on Friday by hailing the “unshakeable devotion” of men and women in the armed forces, many of whom continue to serve by filling key roles in their communities.
“Even when you go home and take off your uniform, you continue to serve and lead communities across our country,” Ms. Harris said during a rain ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. “Veterans, after all, are nurses and firefighters, Little League coaches and small business owners, faith leaders and elected officials, mentors and teachers. Every day, through your work and example, you make America stronger.
It is customary for the US president and the secretary of Veterans Affairs to participate in Veterans Day ceremonies at sacred cemeteries in Virginia. President Biden traveled to Egypt and Cambodia on Friday, but acknowledged the vacation in a speech at the United Nations climate summit.
“America’s veterans and their families, survivors and caregivers, are the backbone and soul of the United States,” he said.
Veterans Day is a federal holiday observed every year on Nov.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough, also at the Arlington ceremony, called Veterans Day “a call to action to serve vets every bit as well as they have served us.”
Ms. Harris considered veterans “the best of America” and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“Indomitable courage, unparalleled talent and unwavering devotion. You come from every corner of our country, and from many you become one – the greatest fighting force in the world,” said Ms. Harris. “You gave up so much to protect life and the freedom of people you will never meet. To be a veteran is to truly know the true cost of freedom and bear it for all of us. It’s a debt worth remembering, and I believe it’s a debt we all need to work towards paying off.
Ms. Harris said the administration is working to pay down that debt by connecting veterans with job training to build new careers while strengthening the U.S. workforce. He pointed to efforts to end veteran plight by placing 31,000 veterans in permanent housing this year.
“We’re on track to spend thousands more by the end of the year,” he said.
Ms. Harris said the VA has made progress in clearing a backlog of claims for health care and hailed bipartisan efforts to help veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits while serving overseas.