PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — President-elect Joe Biden marked Veterans Day Wednesday with an unexpected visit to a Philadelphia war memorial, while President Donald Trump stopped at Arlington National Cemetery. Veterans and their loved ones have been stopping by all day to the Philadelphia Korean War Memorial at Penn’s Landing, but this year’s memorial came with a surprise appearance by Biden.
“Really, really, really cool,” said Steve Charanella.
Following the Honor Guard, President-elect Biden and Dr. Jill Biden placed wreaths at the Korean War Memorial.
President-elect Biden, who was masked for the entirety of the ceremony, was dressed in a dark suit for the event. As he stood to the side of the memorial, he was seen on multiple occasions placing his hand over his heart and returning the salutes of military personnel.
“I hope this new administration will bring a lot of peace and unity and maybe move forward a little bit,” Charanella said.
Today’s appearance was off the radar. Although moderator Judge Patrick Dugan knew a day in advance, he was sworn to secrecy. But he personally acknowledged the Biden family’s tradition of military service through their eldest son Beau, a longtime member of the National Guard, something, he said, helps them understand what veterans go through.
“I barely told my wife. I have one son who’s here. Five more children and a bunch of grandchildren that will be upset with me but we were paranoid it would go viral,” Dugan said.
By chance, some onlookers got a glimpse.
“What a shock the president-elect shows up and it is as good timing on our part,” Charanella said.
Veterans at the meet-and-greet who proudly donned their gear were pleasantly surprised to spot Biden in the city that helped Pennsylvania land him the title commander in chief.
“I think it’s great. It shows the type of person he is as a president,” Lank Sanders said. “I’m looking forward to what he’s going to do over the next four years.”
Before Biden departed, he spent a few minutes talking with a few families and people before heading back to Delaware.
Mayor Jim Kenney was also in attendance for today.
For both men, this was their only public appearance of the day with no formal speeches given, as this was meant to be a personal interaction with veterans.
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