President Joe Biden gave a Memorial-Day-weekend speech at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton on Friday afternoon. He highlighted the humility and sacrifice of the military and their families and emphasized that they defended the American principle that all men and women are equal. He also mentioned the service and death of his son Beau Biden.
“He was like a lot of you. You do your duty. You don’t expect anything for it except people having a general respect,” Biden said.
He talked about what it was like for people with family in the military.
“Every morning you wake up and you say a little extra prayer while you’re drinking your coffee. You just spend a little more time wondering,” he said. “We owe you.”
The sacrifices of the military and their families have prevented Afghanistan from being used as a base for Al Qaeda to attack America, Biden said, adding that Al Qaeda and ISIS are now threats in other parts of the world. He warned of China’s influence.
“We are in a battle between democracies and autocracies. The more complicated the world becomes, the more difficult it is for democracies to come together and reach consensus,” Biden said.
“I have spent more time with President Xi of China than any world leader has,” he said. “He firmly believes that China, before the year 3035, is going to own America because autocracies can make quick decisions.”
Biden quoted the Declaration of Independence and said America is unique as a nation based on an idea of God-given rights.
“None of you get your rights from your government,” he said. “You get your rights because you’re a child of God. The government is there to protect those God-given rights. No other government has been based on that notion. No one can defeat us except us.”
GOP attorney general nominee Delegate Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach) told The Virginia Star that he agreed that China was likely to be America’s biggest rival in the coming years. He said he wished that Biden had included more defense budget spending in his recent proposal. Miyares didn’t linger on politics.
“Memorial Day is about recognizing the measure of devotion given to the country. Hampton Roads, in particular, has seen the meaning of ‘scars of war’ unlike any other area,” he said, noting the high concentration of military service members in the region.
“Unfortunately, for a lot of people it’s turned into a three-day shopping excuse. The reality is for people that, like I do, have friends who are Gold Star moms and dads, it’s a pretty somber occasion,” Miyares said. “So, I welcome the President to the area, to recognize what is, at least for the Hampton Roads area, always a pretty somber occasion of Memorial Day weekend.”
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