Definitely a difficult sight to see, holding tightly to his widowed daughter-in-law and grieving young grandchildren, Vice President Joe Biden escorted the flag-draped casket of his eldest son, Beau, to a place of honour inside the Delaware Legislative Hall, and accepted the condolences of hundreds of well-wishers.
“We find ourselves walking a long trail of tears and pray it will lead to a place of peace and comfort,” said Col. Ed Brandt, chaplain of the National Guard, in which Beau Biden, who passed away due to complications due to brain cancer on May 30th, had served for 12 years, including a deployment in the Iraq war.
Beau was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross, Delaware’s highest honour, for his “heroism, meritorious service, and outstanding achievement, during his public viewing.
Beau passed away at the age of 46, during his live, he was the state’s attorney general for eight years, and was preparing to run for governor in 2016. He “lived a life that is model for us all,” said Felaware Gov. Jack Markell said.
Addressing Beau’s children, the governor said, “Natalie and Hunter should know that even when you weren’t around, your dad beamed with pride and love for you.”
Entering the Delaware Senate chamber, where the lawmakers’ desks had been removed for Beau’s casket and all those filing past to pay respects, the vice president held tightly to Beau’s wife, Hallie, frequently kissing the top of her head as she looked forward. His other hand gripped the small hand of Beau’s 9-year-old-son, Hunter.
Beau’s daughter Natalie, 11, lung with both arms to her grandmother, Dr. Jill Biden.
“To the Biden family, we cannot begin to understand the depth of your loss,” said Markell, as Biden looked to the ceiling. “Know that we grieve with you.”
At the end of the emotional day, the Bidens returned to Washington to attend Hunter Biden’s daughter Maisy’s graduation from middle school. The first family joined the Bidens for the ceremony at Sidwell Friends School where President Obama’s daughter Sasha is also graduation. It sounds to me like heads of state have special schools for their “royal” children.
Thursday’s four-hour viewing opened three days of services for Beau. The family will gather again on Friday in Wilmington, Delaware, for calling hours at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, where Saturday’s funeral Mass will also be celebrated.
President Obama will deliver the eulogy, and the White House has set up an online condolence book, encouraging members of the public to “please offer your thoughts, prayers, and a message that will be shared with the Biden family as they grieve the loss and honour the memory of a most cherished man.”