Beau Biden laid to rest
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) – Mourning a loss that touched people on Delaware street corners and far beyond, President Barack Obama on Saturday remembered Beau Biden, the vice president’s son, as a public servant who learned through early tragedy what mattered most and resolved to “live a life of meaning” that would lift up those around him.
“He was a scion of an incredible family who brushed away the possibility of privilege for the harder, better reward of earning his own way,” Obama said. He described Beau Biden as a son, a father, a soldier and a politician who didn’t cut corners in his efforts to serve his country and others.
The president reflected on the “cruel twist of fate” that killed Beau Biden’s mother and infant sister in a car crash four decades ago and left three-year-old Beau and younger brother Hunter hospitalised.
Out of that tragedy, Obama said, Beau early on “made a grown-up decision” to live a life of meaning that would benefit others.
The former Delaware attorney general died a week ago of brain cancer at age 46.
Vice President Joe Biden, who did not speak at his son’s funeral, embraced Obama at the funeral’s start, after crossed himself solemnly as he entered the church to the strains of Bring Him Home, from Les Miserables.
The overflow crowd of 1 000 at St Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church included first lady Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, an array of state and national political figures, as well as people from across Delaware and beyond who lined up hours in advance, drawn by their strong bonds to the Biden family.
“Joe Biden is Delaware, and his son is also Delaware to me,” said Lisa Rial, 54, who grew up in Delaware but lives in Pennsylvania. “They’re synonymous with Delaware.”
Outside, along the route to the church, residents held up signs reading “Rest in Peace, Beau”.
General Ray Odierno, the former top U.S. commander in Iraq, where Beau Biden once served, praised him as a dedicated soldier and selfless friend. Odierno suggested that the presidency could even have been within Beau Biden’s reach and spoke of his dedication to “a nation that I believed one day Beau Biden would someday lead”.
The vice president’s two surviving children, Hunter and Ashley, also spoke, and Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin, a favourite of Beau Biden, performed a solo.
Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by his family, holds his hand over his heart as he watches an honour guard carry a casket containing the remains of his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden. (AP)