By CHRIS MEGERIAN
WASHINGTON (AP) — First lady Jill Biden hosted a Veterans Day breakfast at the White House and announced new support for children who live with wounded service members and veterans.
The initiative, known as the Hidden Helpers Coalition, helps young people who act as caregivers.
After the Friday breakfast, Jill Biden will join Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, for the annual remembrance at Arlington National Cemetery.
President Joe Biden acknowledged the sacrifices of America’s veterans as he addressed a United Nations climate conference in Egypt.
“This day is a day of commemoration at home in the United States. It’s Veterans Day,” he said. “America’s veterans and their families, survivors and caregivers are the very spine and soul of the United States. And on this special day, on every day, I honor all those who sacrifice to our nation, like my son.” Biden’s son Beau served in Iraq as a member of the Delaware Army National Guard.
The Democratic president also released a video message before he left Thursday night for Egypt. He also has stops in Cambodia and Indonesia before he returns for his granddaughter’s wedding at the White House on Nov. 19.
This is the first Veterans Day since Biden signed legislation expanding health care for service members who were exposed to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan or to chemicals that were used in previous conflicts.
More than 137,000 claims involving toxic exposure have been filed, the Biden administration says. The Department of Veterans Affairs also began asking veterans about possible toxic exposure earlier this week in an attempt to identify any health complications.
The legislation, known as the PACT Act, was a priority for Biden. His eldest son, Beau Biden, died of brain cancer in 2015, several years after he was exposed to a burn pit during military service in Iraq.
Follow the AP’s coverage of issues related to veterans at https://apnews.com/hub/veterans.
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