Memorial Day: Biden pays tribute to his late son Beau, and two Democratic representatives confuse the date with Veterans Day

The president explicitly mentioned that his son did not die in service, but died from cancer after spending more than nine years exposed to toxic burning pits.

President Joe Biden commemorated Memorial Day on Monday during a solemn speech at Arlington National Cemetery, where he thanked the military who died serving their country in the name of democracy around the world.

“Freedom has never been guaranteed – every generation has to earn it, fight for it, defend it in battle between autocracy and democracy, between the greed of a few and the rights of many. It matters, our democracy is more than just a system of government. It’s the very soul of America," Biden said during his speech in which he also paid tribute to his late son Beau, even though he did not die in service.

For this reason, the president showed and was careful to mark the caveat that his son died after returning to the United States. According to Biden, Beau died of brain cancer after spending more than years exposed to toxic burn pits during his service.

“Our losses are not the same. He didn’t perish on the battlefield. He was a cancer victim from a consequence of being in the army in Iraq for a year next to a burn pit,” Biden said.

"As it is for so many of you, the pain of his loss is with me every day as it is with you,” he continued. “Still sharp. Still clear. But so is the pride I feel in this service, as if I can still hear him saying, ‘It’s my duty, dad. It’s my duty.' That was the code of my son. Live by the creed. All of you live by the creed.”

The serious confusion of two Democratic representatives

Ahead of Biden's Memorial Day speech, two Democratic representatives, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Cori Bush of Missouri, confused the concept of the date commemorated today with what is celebrated on Veterans Day. Another significant day for the country that is commemorated every November 11.

“On Memorial Day, we honor the heroic men and women who served our country,” Omar wrote in a post on X (Twitter) that has since been deleted. “We owe them more than our gratitude – they have more than earned access to quality mental health services, job opportunities, housing assistance, and the benefits they were promised.”

Bush’s post also had a similar tone: “This Memorial Day and every day, we honor our veterans in St. Louis. We must invest in universal healthcare, affordable housing, comprehensive mental health services, and educational and economic opportunities for our veterans as we work to build a world free of war and violence.”

The difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day is notable: the former honors military members who died in service, while the latter honors living military veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Users on X quickly let both Bush and Omar know, who were harshly criticized on social media.

After removing the erroneous posts, both Bush and Omar put up correct posts that made more sense with the date commemorated.

The users on X, however, reminded the congresswomen that they had already made a mistake.

"As part of a military family, we will never forget. You are a cancer who doesn't care about anyone except all of your special interests," Republican Valentina Gómez, candidate for Missouri secretary of state, responded to Bush.