Biden’s Memorial Day Speech: Freedom Must Be Earned. (Hint: Freedom is God-Given)

Written by Daniel Parker.

President Joe Biden’s Memorial Day speech stirred up political tensions instead of solely honoring fallen soldiers. The weekend began with Biden paying special tribute to George Floyd, a move that upset many. Minnesota’s Governor Tim Walz even declared Saturday as “George Floyd Remembrance Day,” aligning with the president’s focus.

During his speech at Arlington National Cemetery, Biden, joined by Vice President Kamala Harris and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Biden pledged to continue the work of the nation’s fallen heroes, striving for a more perfect union. His words, though, struck a chord when he suggested freedom must be “earned,” a comment that some found troubling given his history of strong-handed policies.

A Controversial Statement on Freedom

Biden’s speech included a statement that freedom has never been guaranteed and must be earned by every generation. He emphasized the ongoing battle between autocracy and democracy. “Every generation has to earn it, fight for it, defend it,” he said. This remark, however, was seen by some as a veiled message to his critics, urging them to protect America from what they view as his autocratic tendencies.

The president also used the occasion to invoke the death of his son Beau, who served in Iraq and later died from brain cancer. Beau Biden’s service has often been a point of reference for the president, but critics argue that bringing it up at certain times lacks empathy. Biden linked his son’s death to exposure to toxic burn pits, stressing the importance of caring for veterans who return with injuries.

Veterans’ Health Care and Bureaucracy

In his speech, Biden claimed that the Department of Veterans Affairs had processed more claims and delivered more benefits than ever before, thanks to the PACT Act. This act grants automatic coverage for certain health conditions suffered by veterans, presuming they are related to military service. Biden stated, “For too long, these veterans had to fight for the right health care and benefits they had earned. Not anymore.”

However, critics have accused Biden of adding unnecessary bureaucracy and providing poor treatment to veterans seeking medical care. A recent inspector general’s report even suggested that some doctors treating veterans were disqualified for safety reasons. These issues highlight ongoing concerns about the effectiveness and efficiency of veterans’ health care under the current administration.

Our Take

Biden’s Memorial Day speech was another missed opportunity to unite the nation. Instead of focusing solely on honoring our fallen heroes, he ventured into politically charged topics that distracted from the day’s true purpose. His comments about freedom needing to be earned felt like a pointed jab at his critics, rather than a genuine tribute to those who sacrificed their lives.

The president’s continued references to his son’s death also raise questions about empathy and appropriateness. While Beau’s service is commendable, using it in every speech diminishes its impact and can seem insensitive to other grieving families. Furthermore, Biden’s claims about improved veterans’ health care ring hollow when faced with reports of bureaucratic inefficiency and disqualified doctors.

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