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‘We’re Free Because They Were Brave’


A day set aside to honor the sacrifices of the nation’s veterans, Memorial Day 2021 was especially poignant a year after many memorial ceremonies — and many family trips and barbecues — were curtailed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Parades that had been canceled in 2020 were back in 2021. Services held online last year resumed in person this year. Holiday traffic returned, as did beach outings — at least in parts of the country not cursed with cold, rainy weather.

President Biden honored the fallen at Arlington National Cemetery, delivering an emotional speech under a blue, sunlit sky just a day after the five-year anniversary of the death of his son Beau, who had served in Iraq. “It can hurt to remember, but the hurt is how we feel, and how we heal,” Mr. Biden said after placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. He called on Americans to keep the fallen members of the military in their minds. “We’re free because they were brave,” he said.

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.

A member of the military stands near the Tomb of the Unknowns before a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Members of the military are reflected in the Vietnam Veteran Memorial in Washington.

Beachgoers on South Beach in Miami Beach, Fla.

Kyle Watts, a vacationer from Ohio, uses a metal detector in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Veterans during a Memorial Day parade in Myrtle Beach.

In Barnstable, Mass., a police honor guard remembers the town’s war dead.



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