Joe Biden

Statement on the Death of Former Senator Joseph M. "Max" Cleland

November 09, 2021

Max Cleland was an American hero whose fearless service to our Nation and to the people of his beloved home State of Georgia, never wavered.

As a 25-year-old serving in the 1st Cavalry Division of the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, Max lost both of his legs and his right arm in a grenade explosion at Khe Sanh. After grueling months in the hospital, enduring multiple surgeries and a long road back to recovery, Max turned his pain into purpose. He continued his distinguished public service, becoming a lifelong champion of the dignity and rights of working people and America's wounded veterans. His leadership was the essential driving force behind the creation of the modern VA health system, where so many of his fellow heroes have found lifesaving support and renewed purpose of their own thanks in no small part to Max's lasting impact.

I had the distinct honor of knowing Max as both a colleague and a friend during our 6 years together in the United States Senate. He was a man of unflinching patriotism, boundless courage, and rare character. I was proud to have Max by my side. He will be remembered as one of Georgia's and America's great leaders.

Max Cleland was a good man who loved God and country. Jill and I are deeply saddened to learn of his passing, and our prayers are with all those who loved him.

Joseph R. Biden, Statement on the Death of Former Senator Joseph M. "Max" Cleland Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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