US President Donald Trump has honoured America’s war dead in back-to-back Memorial Day appearances, coloured by the ongoing battle against the coronavirus.
Mr Trump first honoured the nation’s fallen at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Many attendees arrived wearing masks but removed them for the outdoor ceremony in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Mr Trump, maskless as always in public, gave no remarks. He approached a wreath already in place, touched it and saluted.
Mr Trump then travelled to Baltimore’s historic Fort McHenry, where he declared: “Together we will vanquish the virus and America will rise from this crisis to new and even greater heights. No obstacle, no challenge and no threat is a match for the sheer determination of the American people.”
He praised the tens of thousands of service members and national guard personnel “on the front lines of our war against this terrible virus.
Baltimore Mayor Bernard C “Jack” Young objected to Mr Trump’s visit in advance, saying it sends the wrong message about stay-at-home directives and the city cannot afford the added cost of hosting him when it is losing $20 million a month because of the pandemic.
The president’s Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, chose Memorial Day to make his first public appearance in the two months since the pandemic hit the US.
Mr Biden emerged unannounced from his Delaware home to lay a wreath at a nearby park, with no crowd gathered to greet him.
Mr Biden’s words were muffled through a black cloth face mask: “Never forget the sacrifices that these men and women made,” he said.
The US leads the world with more than 1.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 98,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Mr Trump is intent on accelerating his schedule as he urges the country to get to work.
This month, Mr Trump toured factories in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Michigan that make pandemic supplies. He plans to be in Florida on Wednesday to watch two NASA astronauts rocket into space, and he played golf at his private club in Virginia on Saturday and Sunday.