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Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman June 1, 2021

Posts falsely claim Biden and Harris didn’t say ‘one word’ about service members for Memorial Day

If Your Time is short

  • President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris each posted a tweet on May 29 about the holiday weekend without mentioning service members.

  • They also made multiple social media posts honoring military members and their families and participated in Memorial Day events, including the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Biden honored service members in speeches throughout the weekend.

Memorial Day weekend is widely celebrated across America as the unofficial start of summer. But the Monday federal holiday is a more solemn occasion: a day to honor and mourn military personnel who died in the service of their country.

A post circulating on Facebook suggests that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris completely disregarded the true meaning of the holiday.

"Not one word about vets. Not one word about our fallen heroes. Not one word about the troops. Not one word about the USA. Not one word about Memorial Day and what it means. Joe and Kamala - you are embarrassing," the May 30 post reads. 

It features screenshots of two tweets posted by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on May 29. 

"Enjoy the long weekend," Harris wrote in her post. 

"Stay cool this weekend, folks," Biden posted, along with a photo of him holding an ice cream cone.

The Facebook post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Other social media users also seized on the two tweets to argue that Biden and Harris ignored the holiday’s meaning, and those claims were circulating throughout the weekend and into the next day. 

A May 31 Instagram post shows photos of Biden and Harris with the text of their tweets and placed them alongside images of people mourning at military gravesites.

A Facebook post shared by Students for Trump on the same day features a photo illustration of Biden, Harris and their tweets alongside a gravestone marked "fallen service men and women." The caption says: "ZERO mention of the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for us. ZERO mention of the reason why we have this long weekend. ZERO mention of the families mourning for those who died in combat."

The social media posts give the impression that Biden and Harris did nothing to commemorate the holiday.

That’s not the case. While their May 29 tweets hinted at the fun-related aspects of Memorial Day weekend, and struck some as insensitive, Biden and Harris both made multiple statements honoring the military throughout the weekend and participated in the annual wreath-laying Memorial Day service at Arlington National Cemetery.

On May 28, prior to her tweet, Harris delivered the commencement address to graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where she saluted all branches of the military. "You are a fierce fighting force," she told the graduates. "You are idealists in the truest sense. You are the embodiment of American aspiration."

Two days later, she tweeted: "Throughout our history our service men and women have risked everything to defend our freedoms and our country. As we prepare to honor them on Memorial Day, we remember their service and their sacrifice."

Featured Fact-check

That tribute was posted several hours before the Facebook post accusing Harris of saying "not one word" about Memorial Day appeared, and hours before former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley called Harris "unfit" for her tweet wishing Americans a good weekend.

On Memorial Day, Harris wrote: "We honor those members of our military who sacrificed their lives in order to defend our freedoms. We owe these heroes — and their loved ones — everything. Not just on Memorial Day. Every day."

On May 30, Biden delivered remarks in Delaware for a Memorial Day observance at War Memorial Plaza, near the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

"I know how much the loss hurts," said Biden, whose son Beau, an Iraq War veteran, died of brain cancer in 2015. "I know the black hole it leaves in the middle of your chest. It feels like you may get sucked into it and not come out." 

On Twitter, Biden wrote: "We have a sacred obligation as a nation to always honor the memory of those we’ve lost — and to support their families. That is the vow we make each year on Memorial Day."

"Each year, Memorial Day offers us a chance to reflect on the enormity of the sacrifices that generation after generation of Americans has made," he said in another tweet. 

Biden also honored America’s war dead at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and giving an address about the sacrifices of fallen service members. He was joined by Harris, first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff.

"We’re gathered at this sacred place in this solemn hour to engage in the most fundamental of undertakings: the rite of remembrance," Biden said. "We remember those who gave their all in the service of America, in the service of freedom, in the service of justice. We remember their sacrifice, their valor, and their grace. We remember their smiles; their loves; their laughter; their essential, vibrant, and transcendent humanity."

Our ruling

Facebook posts claim that Biden and Harris didn’t say "one word" about American troops, veterans, or fallen military members for Memorial Day. 

This is inaccurate. Biden and Harris each posted a tweet on May 29 about the holiday weekend without mentioning service members. But they made other statements during the weekend honoring military members and their families. Biden spoke at a Memorial Day event in Delaware, and he and Harris participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

We rate this claim False.

Our Sources

Facebook post, May 30, 2021 

Facebook post, May 31, 2021

Instagram post, May 31, 2021

Twitter, Joe Biden tweets, May 29-31, 2021

Twitter, Kamala Harris tweets, May 29-31, 2021

ABC News, Harris is 1st woman to make Naval Academy commencement address: 'Our world is fragile', May 28, 2021

Delaware News Journal, President Joe Biden delivers remarks at Memorial Day event Sunday, May 30, 2021 

Associated Press, Biden honors war dead at Arlington, implores nation to heal, May 31, 2021 

WhiteHouse.gov, Remarks by President Biden at the 153rd National Memorial Day Observance, May 31, 2021 

YouTube, President Biden Delivers Remarks in Observance of Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery, May 31, 2021 

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More by Samantha Putterman

Posts falsely claim Biden and Harris didn’t say ‘one word’ about service members for Memorial Day

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