(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is still on the job until his successor -- Ash Carter -- is confirmed by the Senate, but on Wednesday the military held a farewell ceremony for the resigning secretary.
The event, held at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, including a marching honor guard and the Marine Band. President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey all attended and spoke about Hagel's commitment to service. Obama and Biden also shared stories of their time spent with Hagel in the Senate.
The president thanked Hagel for his "guiding hand" and said that because of him "this institution is better positioned for the future."
"We have a lot of obligations as a country," Vice President Biden said during his remarks. "We only have one truly sacred obligation...to equip those who we sent to war and care for them and their families while and when they come home from war."
"No one has been more committed to fulfilling that obligation than you," Biden told the secretary of defense.
Hagel also gave what was billed as a farewell address. Among the points Hagel made in the speech was the need to hold those who serve in the U.S. military to high standards, the ability of the U.S. to self-correct from mistakes and the acknowledgement that the U.S. does make mistakes. Hagel also called for the wise use of America's power, praising the "courage and dignity of America's servicemen and women all over the world."
"With all the world's travails and problems," Hagel said, "it is still a hopeful world. This, I believe."
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