As Commander in Chief to the greatest fighting force the world has ever known, it is my honor
to wish the United States Army a happy 246th birthday.
In each generation, from the earliest days of our Nation to today, a small fraction of Americans
has served and sacrificed as members of the U.S. Army on behalf of all of us. From Fort
McHenry to San Juan Hill, from the Argonne Forest to Omaha Beach, from the Mekong Delta to
the Kunar Valley and beyond, American soldiers have always answered the call. With
immeasurable courage and patriotism, they have preserved our freedom and protected our
democracy against all manner of threats. Whether facing down seen and unseen enemies to keep
us safe, helping Americans get vaccinated here at home, or delivering humanitarian relief on
distant shores, they represent the very best of us.
I believe that our country's most sacred obligation is to do right by the men and women who
defend our Nation at war--to care for them and their families, both while they are deployed and
after they come home. It is an obligation we are honor-bound to keep and one that is personal to
the First Lady and me. We have witnessed firsthand the incredible strength of character of U.S.
Army soldiers over the course of many visits with troops, including in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Through the years, we have been blessed to spend time with
wounded Service members in Landstuhl, Germany, at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San
Antonio, and elsewhere; to welcome veterans to our home for Thanksgiving dinners; and to
spend many Christmas days alongside wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And when our son
Beau served in Iraq as a Major in the Delaware Army National Guard, we learned firsthand just
some of the sacrifices that our military families also make for their loved ones and our country.
We whispered prayers and learned the truth of the poet John Milton's words: "They also serve
who only stand and wait."
Our Nation owes a debt to American soldiers, past and present, far greater than we could ever
repay. They are our heroes, deserving of our everlasting gratitude and support. On this 246th
birthday of the United States Army, America speaks with one voice to say thank you to our
soldiers for what you do and for who you are. Happy birthday. And may God protect our
Joseph R. Biden Jr.