Trump, Biden mark Veterans Day in solemn, but contrasting, wreath-laying ceremonies

Trump, in his first public appearance in days, disregarded Arlington National Cemetery's mask requirement during a wreath-laying ceremony.
/ Source: NBC News

President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden both marked Veterans Day by paying tribute to the nation's fallen military heroes at somber wreath-laying ceremonies on Wednesday.

Trump, making his first public appearance in days, participated in the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in a rainy Arlington National Cemetery. Trump made no remarks, but touched the wreath and saluted as "Taps" was played.

President Donald Trump arrives to attend a Veterans Day observance in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.Carlos Barria / Reuters

Despite several aides and top officials recently testing positive for coronavirus, which followed a crowded election night party at the White House last week, the president, Vice President Mike Pence, their spouses and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie did not wear masks at the ceremony, ignoring signs at the entrance that they were required.

The cemetery had also tweeted out a reminder about the rules for visitors Wednesday morning.

"All visitors are to follow social distancing requirements and wear face coverings while on cemetery grounds," the tweet said.

Biden, meanwhile, appeared to be wearing two masks as he laid a wreath at Philadelphia's Korean War Memorial. The president-elect was accompanied by his wife, Jill Biden, who also wore a mask, but he did not speak at the brief ceremony.

President-elect Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden honor military veterans with a stop at the Philadelphia Korean War Memorial at Penn's Landing.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Earlier Wednesday, Biden tweeted to veterans that he would be a president who “respects your sacrifice, understands your service, and will never betray the values you fought so bravely to defend."

This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.