Joe Biden

Remarks in an Exchange With Reporters in Avoca, Pennsylvania

April 17, 2024

World War II Memorial in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Q. Mr. President, will you talk about the war memorial you were just at very briefly? What did you see? What did you hear?

The President. I wanted to see where my uncle Ambrose J. Finnegan was memorialized. And there was a World War II memorial built for those who lost their lives in World War II.

And when D-Day occurred, the next day, on Monday, all four of my mother's brothers went down and volunteered to join the military. And four of them—three of them made it. One was 4-F, couldn't go.

And Ambrose Finnegan—we called him "Uncle Bosie"—he was shot down. He was Army Air Corps before there was an Air Force. He flew single-engine planes, reconnaissance flights over New Guinea. He had volunteered because someone couldn't make it. He got shot down in an area where there were a lot of cannibals in New Guinea at the time.

They never recovered his body. But the Government went back, when I went down there, and they checked and found some parts of the plane and the like.

And what I was thinking about when I was standing there was when Trump refused to go up to the memorial for veterans in Paris, and he said they were a bunch of "suckers" and "losers."

To me, that is such a disqualifying assertion made by a President—"suckers" and "losers." The guys who saved civilization in the 1940s—"suckers" and "losers."

And I just wanted to go and—we have a tradition in our family that my grandfather started. When you visit a gravesite of a family member—it's going to sound strange to you, but—you say three Hail Mary's. And that's what I was doing at the site.

My—my grand—my uncle, Ambrose Finnegan—Uncle Bosie was a hell of a guy from what I—I never met him, obviously.

And—but I just wanted to see where he was memorialized.

House of Representatives National Security Supplemental Legislation

Q. And, Mr. President, what do you think about these separate bills for Ukraine and Israel aid? Are you confident that it's going to get through?

The President. I'm getting briefed on it when I get on the plane. That's why I was talking to my staff. I'll tell you then.

Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 12:05 p.m. on the tarmac at the Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport prior to boarding Air Force One en route to Pittsburgh, PA. Audio was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks in an Exchange With Reporters in Avoca, Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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