Kamala Harris and Jill Biden pay tribute to veterans at Arlington National Cemetery

Kamala Harris lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: Vice President and First Lady Jill Biden pay their respects at Arlington National Cemetery as America marks Veterans Day

  • Vice President Kamala Harris honored the nation’s veterans on Friday with a wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery 
  • Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff looked on as she laid the offering at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on a rainy day in Washington D.C.
  • ‘We’re gathered to pay homage to all those who have served our nation in uniform, at home and overseas,’ she said of Veterans’ Day 
  • Harris stepped in for President Biden, who is on an overseas trip 

Vice President Kamala Harris honored the nation’s veterans on Friday with a wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery. 

‘We’re gathered to pay homage to all those who have served our nation in uniform, at home and overseas. In times of war, and in times of peace,’ she said of Veterans’ Day.

Harris placed the wreath of red and white flowers, with blue ribbons, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff looked on.

It wads cold and rainy in Washington D.C. for Veterans’ Day, the gray sky adding to the somber mood of the solomn occasion. 

Harris wore a black coat and a member of the Army’s Old Guard, which guards the tomb, held an umbrella over her during the wreath laying.

Vice President Kamala Harris honored the nation's veterans with a wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery

Vice President Kamala Harris honored the nation’s veterans with a wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff and first lady Jill Biden attended the wreath laying

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff and first lady Jill Biden attended the wreath laying

It was a cold, rainy day in Washington D.C. for the Veterans' Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery

It was a cold, rainy day in Washington D.C. for the Veterans’ Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery

After the wreath laying, VP Harris praised veteran's service: 'We're gathered to pay homage to all those who have served our nation in uniform, at home and overseas. In times of war, and in times of peace'

After the wreath laying, VP Harris praised veteran’s service: ‘We’re gathered to pay homage to all those who have served our nation in uniform, at home and overseas. In times of war, and in times of peace’

She stepped in for President Joe Biden, who is in Egypt as part of a six-day foreign trip. 

After laying the wreath, Harris stepped back and paused for a moment of reflection.  

The crowd of nearly 100 was silent as The United States Army Band, ‘Pershing’s Own,’ played Taps.

Harris, Jill Biden and Emhoff all bowed their heads.

‘Veterans represent the best of America: Unwavering courage, unmatched talent, and unshakable devotion,’ Harris said in her remarks after the wreath laying.

‘You come from every corner of our country and out of many you become one the greatest fighting force in the world,’ she said. 

‘To be a veteran is to have truly known the true cost of freedom, and to have borne it for all of us. That is a debt that must always be remembered,’ she added. 

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis R. McDonough, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also attended the ceremony, which honors Americans veterans across all military branches.

Friday marked the 69th anniversary of the observence of Veterans’ Day – a national holiday. 

President Biden acknowledged the sacrifices of America’s veterans when he addressed COP27 – a climate conference in Egypt.

‘This day is a day of commemoration at home in the United States. It’s Veterans Day,’ he said. ‘America´s veterans and their families, survivors and caregivers are the very spine and soul of the United States. And on this special day, on every day, I honor all those who sacrifice to our nation, like my son.’ 

Biden’s son Beau served in Iraq as a member of the Delaware Army National Guard. He died of brain cancer in 2015 – an illness the president believes he received from being stationed near burn pits in Iraq.

This is the first Veterans Day since Biden signed legislation expanding health care for service members who were exposed to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan or to chemicals that were used in previous conflicts.

Harris placed a wreath of red and white flowers and blue ribbon at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider

Harris placed a wreath of red and white flowers and blue ribbon at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider 

Vice President Kamala Harris paused for a moment of reflection after the wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery

Vice President Kamala Harris paused for a moment of reflection after the wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin joined the vice president for the ceremony

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin joined the vice president for the ceremony

US Marine Corp soldiers take part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in honor of Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery

US Marine Corp soldiers take part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in honor of Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery

And, aahead of the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Jill Biden hosted a Veterans Day breakfast at the White House and announced new support for children who live with wounded service members and veterans.

The first lady’s Joining Forces Initiative offers support for veterans and their families. She often emphasizes that spouses and children are as much a part of military service as those in uniform. 

Harris, in her remarks at Arlington National Cemetery, praised the first lady’s work.

‘Through her leadership of Joining Forces, Dr. Biden fights for military families, caregivers and survivors. And Dr. Biden our nation applauds your extraordinary work,’ the vice president said. 

The Hidden Helpers Coalition helps young people who act as caregivers while their parents are in the armed forces. Harris and Emhoff joined the first lady at her event.

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