Former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden was laid to rest on June 6 in Wilmington. And President Barack Obama delivered a eulogy honoring the politician who saw the world as needing "broad shoulders" to help bear the brunt of humanity.
United States’ President Barack Obama delivered Beau Biden’s eulogy on Saturday, June 6, to crowd of thousands at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware. Family, friends, statesmen, and the presidential family filled the pews.
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Opening the speech, the president discussed how some people choose to live as a leader and champion of those in need. Religiously, Obama tied in the idea of calling, of needing to bear the brunt of humanities problems in order to incite change and how Beau Biden lived by the ideal’s foundation.
"To know Beau Biden is to know which choice he made in his life. To know Joe and the rest of the Biden family is to understand why Beau lived the life he did."
Being a strong family is what inspired the younger Biden, who survived a childhood automobile accident that killed his sister and mother right before Joe Biden joined the Senate.
According to the state leader, "the Biden family rule is if you ask for help, it's too late." It’s too late because help will already be there. Asking is not required. "Someone is always there for you when you need it."
After the accident, his aunt moved in and stepped into the role of caretaker when the future-Vice President was in Washington. Returning home nightly helped to reestablish the new normal for family of three and that “there was firm ground under their feet.”
That commitment to change, to maintaining stability, and love helped shape former Attorney General Biden’s outlook on life. Even though he was diagnosed with brain cancer, he still looked towards civic duty and providing a better world. That same cancer ultimately robbed the world of a potential leader meant to do good.
Beau held "shoulders broad enough to not only bear your own burdens, but to bear the burden of others. Shoulders broad enough to shield those who need sheltering the most."
Growing up, Beau "would live a life of meaning" by spiritually asking and searching for broader shoulders to help those who needed shelter. Obama praised Beau, saying that he was “the one to do the right thing” and a “consummate public servant."
He led by example: first family, then the nation.
When a police officer pulled him over and offered to forego writing a ticket, "Beau didn't trade on his family name” and insisted on taking the punishment for breaking rules.
"It's no secret that a lot of what made Beau the way he was was just how much he loved and admired his dad." Bonds cannot be unbroken, especially in moments of grief.
NBC News reports the aisles were filled with both Republican and Democratic leaders, from former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).
Younger sister Ashley Biden spoke after the president. Recalling a picture from first grade, Ashley said it showed “me holding hands with my two brothers.” Captioning the picture “Happiness is being with my brothers,” she went on to say the sentiment “remained true throughout my life.”
Her mother, Beau’s stepmother, Jill Biden joined the family. Hunter Biden, the middle child, believes that joining the family made them “whole again” and she will continue to do the same now. To be a Biden is to be in a tight-knit family.
Helping to defend those needing protection is the Biden way. To shore up and support those who need someone to listen. And Beau did that as Delaware’s Attorney General.
Devoting “himself to prosecuting a Delaware pediatrician who was accused of sexually assaulting dozens, if not hundreds, of children" served the public in an hour of need, said Delaware's Democratic Gov. Jack Markell. "The Biden family is Delaware's family” and they are proud of the help that Beau Biden provided in making sure not only children, but everyone was safer in a world of conflict.
Creating foundations and systems to protect the weakest in the state of Delaware may lead into a new era for the next generation. To see that anything is possible in 46 years of life.
But why did the president deliver the eulogy? The Washington Post spoke to White House senior adviser Valerie Jarret to find out. “The president recognizes that this healing doesn’t happen over a brief period of time.”
In fact, “The Obama family intends to be there for the Bidens and to surround them with love and support during this excruciating period and over the long haul.” Death is a slow grieving process and as the eventuality of Beau dying became more accepted, Obama and Biden bonded as fathers. In a family rocked by tragedy and losing two children, the Bidens need support from all loved ones.
Vice President Biden "created space for the president to take a contrarian view and created more room for his decision-making" while allowing the President to balance Biden's rather quirky sense of humor, said former White House press secretary Jay Carney. Respect fostered affection as the two worried over Beau's stroke in 2010.
David Axelrod served as White House senior advisor during the time, recalling how the president remained shaken, on a personal level. "I don’t know how Joe’s going to go on if this doesn’t work." Knowing his friend, not his political teammate, needed him meant an instant walk to the West Wing when Biden returned.
This is not a case of professional courtesy and family doesn't necessarily mean blood.
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This is the love and affection of families taking care of one another in times of need. The two men lead the United States together. President Obama openly stated, "Joe, you are my brother." Families hold and stick together. And both believed in Beau Biden’s strength of character, ability to necessitate change, and be a good family man.