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Biden appeals to grieving families with late son Beau's story in Memorial Day speech

President Biden on Monday spoke to grieving families by paying tribute to his late son Beau in a Memorial Day speech, the day before the eighth anniversary of his son’s death.

“Tomorrow marks eight years since we lost our son Beau. Our losses are not the same. He didn’t perish in the battlefield. It was cancer that stole him from us a year after being deployed as a major in the United States Army National Guard in Iraq,” Biden said from a podium at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, just outside of Washington.

“As it is for so many of you, the pain of his loss is with us every day, but particularly sharp on Memorial Day. It’s still clear. … But so is the pride Jill and I feel in his service. As if I can still hear him saying, ‘Dad, it’s my duty. Dad, it’s my duty.’ Duty. That was the code my son lived by, and all those you lost lived by,” the president said. 

After a battle with brain cancer, Beau Biden died at age 46 in 2015, during his father’s vice presidency. Beau served in the Delaware National Guard, and the president has suggested his son’s cancer could have been caused by exposure to toxic burn pits during his military service in Iraq.

Biden on Monday touted last year’s passage of the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act — which he called “the most significant law in our nation’s history” — aimed at helping veterans who were exposed to toxic substances and burn pits during their service.

“Pits the size of football fields that incinerate the waste of war, such as tires, chemicals, jet fuel and so much more. Too many of our nation’s warriors that have selflessly served, only to return home and suffer from the permanent effects of this poisonous smoke,” President Biden said.

“Too many die — excuse the personal reference — like my son Beau, like Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson, for whom the act is named.”

Source: The Hill

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