Washington [US], November 12 (ANI): US President Joe Biden on Thursday paid tribute to the nation's veterans by praising them the "very spine of America" in a speech at Arlington National Ceremony to mark Veterans Day.
During a speech at the National Veterans Day Observance at the cemetery just outside Washington, Biden said: "Each of our veterans is a link in a proud chain of patriots that has stood in the defense of our country from Bunker Hill to Belleau Wood, Gettysburg to Iwo Jima, Chosin Reservoir to Kunar Valley."
"Each understood the price of freedom and each shouldered that burden on our behalf. Veterans represent the best of America. 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," he said, The Hill reported.
Earlier on Thursday, the White House released a plan to assist military members exposed to contaminants and environmental hazards on the battlefield, as part of an effort to mark the holiday. Earlier this month, the White House announced a new plan to prevent suicides by firearms with a focus on those in the military and veterans.
This ceremony was Biden's first time marking Veterans Day as president, according to The Hill.
In a White House statement, Biden said that for two decades, the lives of "our service members and their families and veterans have been 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. The American people are forever grateful and in awe of what you've accomplished," he said.
"It's an honor that not only a small percentage of Americans can claim, and one that marks those who are able to claim it as brothers and sisters. It's a badge of courage that unites across all ages, regardless of background -- because to be a veteran is to have endured and survived challenges most Americans will never know," he said further.
"We lay wreaths. We renew our oaths. We stand in solemn awe of such fidelity. Because for us to keep faith with American veterans, we must never forget exactly what was given to us, what each of them was willing to put on the line for us," he added. (ANI)