Family and friends mourn the death of Beau Biden

  • A flag atop the White House flies at half-mast in honor of Beau Biden on June 6, 2015 in Washington, DC.
  • President Barack Obama, and family walk across the tarmac to their vehicle upon their arrival at Delaware Air National Guard base in New Castle, Del. on June 6, 2015.
  • Mourners line up 2 and a half hours ahead of a mass of Christian burial outside St. Anthony of Padua Church is held for former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden on June 6, 2015 in Wilmington, Del.
  • Mourners view the a funeral procession for former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden on June 6, 2015, outside of St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del.
  • U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, arrive with family for a mass of Christian burial at St. Anthony of Padua Church for their son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, on June 6, 2015 in Wilmington, Del.
  • Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by his family, holds his hand over his heart as he watches an honor guard carry a casket containing the remains of his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, in Wilmington, Del. on June 6, 2015, for funeral services.
  • Vice President Joe Biden embraces his grandson Hunter before funeral services for Hunter’s father, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden,on June 6, 2015, at  St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del.
  • Vice President Joe Biden arrives for funeral services for his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, on June 6, 2015, at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del.
  • A procession carrying a casket enters the funeral of former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, Del. on June 6, 2015.
  • President Barack Obama pauses while delivering the eulogy in honor of former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden on June 6, 2015, at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, Del.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy during the funeral of former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, at St. Anthony of Padua church in Wilimington, Del. on June 6, 2015.
  • Chris Martin on the group Coldplay performs “Til Kingdom Comes” during funeral services for Vice President Joe Biden’s son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden on June 6, 2015, at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, Del.
  • A member of the military honor guard holds an American flag from Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Beau Biden’s casket during funeral services on June 6, 2015, at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, Del.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama hugs Vice President Joe Biden during the funeral of former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, Del. on June 6, 2015.
  • The Biden family leaves the funeral Mass for Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Beau, on June 6, 2015, at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, Del.
  • An honor guard guides a casket containing the remains of former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden out of Legislative Hall in Dover, Del., after a visitation, June 4, 2015. 
  • Vice President Joe Biden, left, greets mourners near a casket containing the remains of Biden’s son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, during a viewing, June 4, 2015, at Legislative Hall in Dover, Del. 
  • Vice President Joe Biden, right, rests his head in his hand during a viewing for his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, June 4, 2015, at Legislative Hall in Dover, Del. 
  • Natalie Biden, center, is comforted by her grandfather, Vice President Joe Biden, and her mother Hallie as they follow an honor guard carrying a casket containing the remains of her father, Beau Biden. 
  • Vice President Joe Biden, center, pauses alongside his family as they to enter a visitation for his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, June 4, 2015, at Legislative Hall in Dover, Del. 
  • Vice President Joe Biden looks on as the body of his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, arrives at Legislative Hall before a viewing in Dover, Del., on June 4, 2015. 
  • The body of former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden arrives at Legislative Hall before a viewing in Dover, Del.  
  • A hearse carrying the remains of former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden leads a motorcade before a visitation, June 4, 2015, at Legislative Hall in Dover, Del. 

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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.

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