President Joe Biden paid tribute to fallen service members during his Memorial Day address at Arlington National Cemetery, saying that they had made the ultimate sacrifice "for our freedom and for our future."
"Once again, we stand amid the rows and rows of marble stones and bear witness to the brave women and men who served and sacrificed for our freedom and for our future," Biden said.
The president began his remarks by recalling the first Memorial Day speech, delivered by retired Union Gen. James Garfield at Arlington Cemetery in 1868.
"One hundred and fifty-five years ago, retired Union General James Garfield spoke here at Arlington, marking our nation's first Memorial Day," Biden said. "Standing amid the rows and rows of marble stones, many of his own fallen soldiers among them, he asked: 'What brought these men here? What high motive led them to welcome death?'"
Biden reminded Americans of the importance of remembering fallen service members.
"We must never forget the lives; these flags, flowers, and marble markers represent a mother, a father, a son, a daughter, a sister, a spouse, a friend, and America. Every year we remember, and every year it never gets easier," he said.
During his speech, Biden also remembered his son Beau, a veteran and former federal prosecutor, who died of cancer in 2015.
"Tomorrow marks eight years since we lost our son Beau," Biden said. "Our losses are not the same. He didn't perish on the battlefield. It was cancer that stole him from us a year after he was deployed as a major of the United States Army National Guard in Iraq. As it is for so many of you, the pain of loss is with us every day but particularly sharp on Memorial Day."
Biden also touted some of his policies.
Since he took office, Biden said, he has passed "more than 25 bipartisan laws to support our service members, their families, caregivers, and survivors."
The 155th National Memorial Day ceremony began with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony. Biden was accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley.
"I know that each Memorial Day brings new waves of both pride and pain," Austin said during his speech. "Every fallen hero has a story. It is our duty to remember those we have lost."