Today, we as a nation pause to honor the service, the valor, and the commitment of all those who have worn the uniform of the Armed Forces of the United States. They stand as part of a proud chain of warrior patriots reaching back to the earliest days of our republic, each one taking up the sacred mission to defend our nation’s highest values, our liberty, and democracy. The women and men who have fought and sacrificed for our country are heroes, and the rest of us owe them an unpayable debt. They have earned our thanks and, above all, our respect.
For many years, I have said that we as a nation have many obligations, but we have only one truly sacred obligation: to prepare and equip our troops we send into harm’s way, and to care for them and their families when they return home. For our veterans, that means providing a future of security, opportunity, and dignity; world class health care provided by the VA, with women and LGBTQ+ veterans receiving culturally competent care; and addressing the mental health crises and epidemic of suicide that are claiming too many of our veterans and service members. We have to make clear to everyone suffering from unseen wounds that there is honor and strength in reaching out for help. And we have to make sure that no veteran is locked out of treatment for conditions related to toxic exposures or traumatic brain injuries experienced in the line of duty. Fulfilling our promises to our veterans and military families, caregivers, and survivors is critical to our national security, because it is how we will ensure that future generations continue to volunteer to serve.
For the Biden family, this is also a personal commitment. We learned what it really means to be part of a military family the year that Beau deployed to Iraq with his National Guard unit. We prayed every night and morning for his safety, and we missed him at every family gathering or when tucking his children in at night. It was hard. It hurt. These are challenges most American families never have to face. And yet, Jill and I were constantly in awe when visiting with wounded service members at Christmas or hosting veterans in our home for dinners, at the pride our military members and veterans feel in their service, and at their matchless sense of duty. They are the absolute best of our country.
This Veterans Day, I feel the full weight of the honor and the responsibility that has been entrusted to me by the American people as the next president, and I vow to honor our country’s sacred obligation. To all of our proud veterans, know that I will be a commander in chief who respects your sacrifice, understands your service, and who will never betray the values you fought so bravely to defend. I will never treat you or your families with anything less than the honor you deserve.