Vice President Biden Honors Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan at Ceremony at Fort Lewis

Nov 10, 2009 8:11pm

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports: On the same day that President Obama honored the men and women killed at Ft. Hood last week, Vice President Biden spoke candidly about loss and sacrifice at a ceremony at Fort Lewis in Washington. The ceremony honored seven soldiers killed by an IED in Afghanistan on Oct. 27. The soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Biden, who lost his wife and daughter in a car accident in 1972, spoke directly to the grieving families and community. “Although there's no way to fathom this now — I promise you, from my own experience, that the day will come that the memory of your son, your brother, your husband will immediately bring a smile to your lips, and not a tear to your eye,” the vice president said. “That day will come, I promise you. But my prayer for all of you is it comes sooner than later.” Biden said that he knows all too well that words sometimes are not enough to take away the pain of losing a loved one. “I wish I knew the words to say. But from my experience, no one could say them to me, and I doubt whether I can say them to you,” he said. Biden’s son Beau just returned from a year serving in Iraq as a captain in the Delaware Army National Guard. The vice president said that as a military family, he and his wife Jill realize that “but for the grace of God” they could be a member of the Gold Star families who have lost a loved one to war. “In a sense, those of us who've had children, husbands and wives who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, I guess we all share a sense of relief and a sense of guilt that we're here, having our loved ones back,” he said. To the families of the seven soldiers killed in Afghanistan, Biden said that someday they will have consolation that their loved one “gave his life in the pursuit of the noblest of all earthly goals: defending his family, defending his country, defending and fighting for what he believed in.” “That pursuit defined each of the warriors we honor today; each of the fallen angels that we brought home. And it will define them, and has defined them, until the very end,” the vice president said. Biden called on all Americans to do their part to help and support the men and women who serve in the military and their families. “The only sacred responsibility we have as a nation — the only sacred responsibility we have as a nation — is to give all those we send all they need, and care for them and their families when they come home,” he said “That's the only truly sacred obligation our government has.” –Karen Travers

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