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President Biden marked the start of Memorial Day weekend with a visit to the troops and thanks to the military families for their continued sacrifice and service.
“They are the backbone of America,” said Biden on Friday during a layover at Joint Base Langley Eustis, Virginia with First Lady Jill Biden.
Reinforcing his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan later that year after a 20-year war, Biden honored the men and women who were deployed there multiple times, as well as those who paid the final sacrifice.
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“”We can never repay this debt, “said Biden.” But I promise you that with all Gold Star families across the country we will never, never, never, never forget this. “
Biden said the threats to America have changed since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the United States is “updating our security attitudes” to reflect the new reality. The likelihood of an attack by Al-Qaeda or ISIS will not come from Afghanistan, said Biden, but from “five other regions of the world where the terrorist organizations are much more strongly represented”.
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Biden spoke at length about his late son, Beau, a veteran, and how military service was one of his eldest son’s proudest accomplishments. The president said his family recognizes the sacrifices of service members and wants to know “how we can better serve you”.
“My message to all of you is very simple: Thank you,” Biden told the troops.
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“Thank you for choosing selfless service in your country.”