Military and government leaders plan to attend events in and around the nation’s capital in honor of this year’s Veterans Day.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough will host a program at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday morning for the 69th annual National Veterans Day observance, according to a news release from the cemetery. He will be joined by DC military leaders and Vice President Kamala Harris, who will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the cemetery.
McDonough said at an event earlier this week that second gentleman Douglas Emhoff and first lady Jill Biden are also expected to attend. President Joe Biden, who is due to leave for Egypt tonight to attend the UN climate conference COP27, will not be there but issued a proclamation earlier this week to honor the courage and sacrifice of veterans Americans.
“With their selfless sacrifice, our armed forces have forged and defended the very idea of America – a promise of freedom and equality, democracy and justice, possibility and hope. We owe them an incredible debt which can never be fully repaid,” he said.
In addition to the annual event in Arlington, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall.
McDonough will join Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and former Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel in the afternoon for a special celebration at the Wall. He will later travel to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, which will dedicate the National Native American Veterans Memorial as part of a three-day event to honor Native veterans.
“The dedication of this memorial is an opportunity to come together and reflect on the extraordinary service and sacrifice of Indigenous veterans and their families,” said Cynthia Chavez Lamar (San Felipe Pueblo, Hopi, Tewa and Navajo), Director of the museum, in a press release. Release. “I hope everyone will join us for this momentous occasion, so that together we can thank them for their contributions to our country.”
The memorial, which was designed by Marine Corps Vietnam veteran Harvey Pratt (Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma), opened in 2020.
Other events honoring former service members will take place throughout the day in Washington.
Early in the morning, McDonough and First Lady Jill Biden will host a workout program on the White House South Lawn for veterans and other members of the military community, according to a press release from the press office. the first lady.
The first “Joining Forces Veterans Day Workout” will be led by Mike Erwin of the Team Red, White & Blue organization, while Logan Aldridge of Peloton and a VA team will lead adaptive training for injured and injured participants. Dr. Biden’s Joining Forces initiative was launched in 2011 with then-First Lady Michelle Obama.
Also on tomorrow’s calendar is a celebration at the National World War II Memorial in the morning. The Military Women’s Memorial, located at the entrance to Arlington, will have its 25th annual Veterans Day ceremony in the afternoon.
With the remnants of Hurricane Nicole expected to bring heavy rain starting tomorrow, changes to these largely outdoor events may occur.
Jonathan is the editor and publisher of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media