WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — President Joe Biden honored fallen U.S. service members on Memorial Day by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and delivering remarks.

The president was joined by first lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in a somber ceremony at the Virginia cemetery, which is dedicated to the fallen U.S. service members whose remains have not been identified. He has attended the Arlington ceremony nearly every year for decade.

“Memorial Day is always a day that is mixed with pain and pride,” Biden said.

“They chose a life of purpose,” Biden said in remarks after the ceremony. “They had a mission, and above all they believed in duty, they believed in honor, they believed in their country, and still today we are free because they were brave.”

Hours before the ceremony, the president and first lady attended a memorial Mass for Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer seven years ago Monday. Beau also was a veteran, a personal connection the older Biden has drawn upon in the past on Memorial Day. Beau Biden served two terms as Delaware’s attorney general before declaring a run for governor. He also served in Delaware’s National Guard.

This year’s Memorial Day comes just months after the U.S. withdrawal in Afghanistan, which marked the end of America’s longest war.

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