The Chronicle

Biden honours the fallen at solemn homecoming

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In a silence broken only by the sobs of bereaved families, Joe Biden stood, hand on heart, to pay tribute as the remains of the US service members killed in the Kabul terror attack were transferre­d from a military C-17 cargo plane to a closely parked row of grey hearses.

In a jolting juxtaposit­ion, the grim rite played out even as Mr Biden faced the fiercest criticism of his presidency over his handling of the exit from Afghanista­n.

The moving ritual played out on the tarmac of Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, with Mr Biden and his wife Jill standing sombrely as white-gloved military crews, stepping softly and in perfect unison, transferre­d the remains in special metal cases.

Under a heavy grey sky, family members stood at a distance, protected from the glare of cameras.

The Dover base, on the US East Coast about two hours from Washington, is synonymous with the return of service members who have fallen in combat.

Meeting the remains of fallen service members at Dover is considered one of the most solemn duties of a US president.

Later, during a speech on Hurricane Ida, Mr Biden called the soldiers – some of whom were aged just 20, the length of the Afghanista­n war – “heroes”. “Let’s keep them in our prayers,” he said, declining to take questions on the Afghanista­n evacuation.

 ??  ?? Joe Biden (rear) watches the ceremony.
Joe Biden (rear) watches the ceremony.

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