Family and friends mourn the death of Beau Biden
President Barack Obama and several other dignitaries paid tribute Saturday to Beau Biden, the late 46-year-old son of Vice President Joe Biden, in his home state of Delaware.
Beau Biden, an Iraq War veteran who also served as the Attorney General of the state, died May 31 after a long battle with brain cancer. A bronze star recipient and father of two, Biden was expected to have a bright political future and had considered a run for governor of Delaware in 2016.
President Obama said Biden did “in 46 years what most couldn’t do in 146,” during an emotional eulogy during which he choked up several times. Still, the president’s remarks were also laced with humor she described Beau’s deep admiration for his father (calling him “Joe 2.0” albeit an “upgrade”) and propensity for making inappropriate jokes during fancy dinners.
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“Beau Biden brought to his work a mighty heart, he brought to his family a might heart. What a good man,” Obama said. The president made it clear to all the attendees that the world “noticed” Beau’s efforts to make the lives of others better and urged them to “think about what is because of him.”
Gen. Ray Odierno, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff and Beau Biden’s siblings Ashley and Hunter also delivered powerful speeches paying homage to a man whose “incredible character” was unquestioned.
“I suggest we celebrate Beau’s life by following his legacy,” Orienro said while citing Biden’s legacy of service. “Do this and Beau BIden will leave in each of us and never be forgotten.” He concluded his remarks by posthumously awarding Beau Biden the Legion of Honor medal.
This is not the first time the Biden family has been struck by tragedy. At the beginning of the vice president’s long career as a U.S. senator in 1972, Joe Biden lost his wife and younger daughter in a fatal car crash. Beau and his younger brother Hunter were in the vehicle at the time and recouperated after sustaining serious injuries.
Obama spoke in great detail about Beau Biden’s courage in the aftermath of the accident. “Rather than use his childhood trauma as justification for a life of self pity of self-centeredness,” the president said the young Biden “lived a life for others.” The president listed several accomplishments of Beau’s as public official – from fighting for homeowners and seniors to combating bullying. He even carried a notebook with him to “write down the problems of every person” he met.
“He was the consummate public servant,” Obama said, while acknowledging that Beau Biden inspired him to be a better father, brother and man.
The elder Biden son gained national prominence after his powerful introduction of his father at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. In his speech Beau Biden paid tribute to his father’s sacrifice in the wake of the sudden death of his mother and sister.
“As a single parent, he decided to be there to put us to bed, to be there when we woke from a bad dream, to make us breakfast, so he’d travel to and from Washington, four hours a day,” Beau Biden said in his convention speech.
A estimate 1,000-plus mourners gathered to pay homage to Beau Biden, including Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin, who volunteered to sing at the funeral after learning that the departed was a fan. Bill and Hillary Clinton, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and many other prominent political figures were also in attendance.