Ashley Biden Eulogy: President Barack Obama gave a touching eulogy Saturday at the full burial for Beau Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s oldest child, to homage to a cherished son and his devastated father.
“Like his father, Beau had not a mean bone in his body,” Obama said at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware, amid hundreds of mourners and officials. “He learned how to get back up when life knocked him down from his father.”
Beau Biden, 46, passed away from brain cancer a week ago. Obama referred to him as a “consummate public servant” and a “man of character,” saying that Beau usually took a notepad with him to jot down the issues that his constituents raised with him when he ran into them outside of his office.
Ashley Biden Eulogy: President gave a touching eulogy Update
According to Obama, from the tragedy that befell the Biden family four decades ago — a car accident that killed Joe Biden’s wife and young daughter while injuring Beau and his brother — a man dedicated to serving others developed.
“Rather than using his early trauma to justify a life of self-pity or self-centeredness, that young boy made a mature decision: he would live a life of significance, a life for others.”
Beau “did in 46 years what most of us couldn’t do in 146 years,” according to the president, and as a prosecutor, he “defended the helpless.” After the eulogy, he gave the vice president a loving hug.
President Obama hugging Vice President Biden after delivering the eulogy for Beau Biden. pic.twitter.com/mREFXhR2pv
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 6, 2015
After Obama, Beau’s sister, Ashley Biden Eulogy, spoke, recounting how she created a picture of herself holding hands with her two brothers in first grade and wrote, “Happiness is being with my brothers.” It was true back then, and it has been confirmed for the rest of my life.”
Hunter Biden spoke as well, thanking his stepmother, Jill Biden, for making his family “whole again” when she married Joe Biden and said he knew she would do so after this loss.
The lead singer of Coldplay, Chris Martin then sang “Till Kingdom Come.” According to the White House, he volunteered to sing after learning that Beau adored his band from a family acquaintance.
At his son’s funeral, Vice President Biden did not speak.
More than 1,000 people attended at the Wilmington church, with mourners spilling into an overflow chamber.
“How do you say goodbye to the most amazing young man you’ve ever met?” Earlier in the liturgy, Father Leo O’Donovan inquired.
Beau’s “natural charisma” placed fellow soldiers, Delaware citizens, and people around the country at ease, according to Gen. Ray Odierno, the former U.S. commander in Iraq, where Beau was deployed.
“Beau possessed the qualities I’ve only seen in the most powerful leaders,” Odierno added. “Beau was a soldier, a personal friend, and someone I admired much.”
“He accomplished in 46 years what most of us could not in 146.”
Gentle organ music played as people sat down in the church, leaving no seat unfilled. Politicians from both parties are expected to attend, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
On Thursday, Beau’s casket was honoured in the state Senate chamber. On Friday, a public viewing was held at St. Anthony.
“The Biden family is Delaware’s family,” Delaware Democratic Gov. Jack Markell said at the memorial on Thursday, when Vice President Biden was clearly moved as he stood by his oldest son’s flag-draped casket.
Beau was three years old when his mother and sister were killed in a vehicle accident. Since then, Vice President Biden has gained a reputation for his ability to sympathise to bereaved families, and he has been invited to eulogise a number of American leaders.
In 2012, he spoke frankly about Beau’s service in Iraq while offering words of consolation to mourning military families.
“It’s going to sound funny to you, but when he came home, we felt almost a little bad that he came home,” Biden stated at the time. “Because I’ve attended so many funerals and visited so many bases.” And, as you may be aware, not all losses are created equal. “Not every loss is the same.”
Beau had a stroke in 2010, and in August 2013, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. According to the vice president’s office, he received surgery and chemotherapy, but he sought treatment again when the disease reappeared this spring. Last month, he was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
From 2007 till earlier this year, Beau served as the Attorney General of Delaware. He spent his time as attorney general to prosecuting a Delaware paediatrician suspected of sexually assaulting dozens, if not hundreds, of children.
“Delaware’s children will be safer for generations,” Markell stated on Thursday.
The Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children was founded last week to continue his work protecting children from sexual predators.
Hallie, Beau’s widow, and their two children, Natalie and Hunter, survive him. The White House flag was flown at half-staff on Saturday in his honour.
In his eulogy, Obama joked about Beau’s physical resemblance to his father, as well as his commitment to public service.