Biden praises members of the armed forces during first Pentagon visit as commander-in-chief

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. assured the American people on Wednesday that he will “never dishonor” or “politicize” the “incredible heroes and incredible patriots” that serve in the US armed forces. 

President Biden visited the Pentagon as commander-in-chief for the first time, and met with Department of Defense personnel, including Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin.

Vice President Kamala Harris swears in Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Lloyd Austin is the first black Secretary of Defense. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson) 
Vice President Kamala Harris swears in Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Lloyd Austin is the first black Secretary of Defense. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

“I understand the full weight of what it means to ask young proud Americans to stand in the breach. I’m the first President in forty years, I’m told, who had a son or daughter who served in a war zone. So I know what it’s like,” said Biden referring to his late son Beau Biden who served with the Army in Iraq.

“Being commander-in-chief is an enormous responsibility and one that I will never take lightly or easily,” Mr. Biden added.

The President addressed and thanked servicemembers, saying, “to the incredible individuals who serve in our armed forces: you are unquestionably part of the finest fighting force in the history of the world. You’re warriors.”

“The work you do each and every day is vital to ensuring the American people- your families, friends, and loved ones- are able to live in peace and security and growing prosperity. And for those of you who raise your hands and sign up to wear the uniform of the United States: we owe you an incredible debt.”

“You’re incredible heroes and incredible patriots. I will never, ever dishonor you. I will never disrespect you. I will never politicize the work you do,” assured Biden.

“As I’ve said, this is personal for me. The Biden family is a military family. We learned firsthand some of what your loved ones experienced when Beau was deployed to Iraq for a year with his unit in the Delaware National Guard.”

Mr. Biden continued on, explaining his own personal experience as the father of a servicemember, “we dealt with the stress of his absence and from the daily joys of life. And we worried constantly about his safe return. We felt overwhelming pride in his courage and his patriotism.”

“You are all the best our country has to offer. You live by a creed of selfless sacrifice,” commended the President.

Noah Pitcher is a global politics correspondent for Today News Africa covering the U.S. government, United Nations, African Union, and other actors involved in international developments, political controversies, and humanitarian issues.

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