A town, and country, mourns as Beau Biden lies in honor “Never has a son’s love been so genuine and so deep.”

A town, and country, mourns as Beau Biden lies in honor
“Never has a son’s love been so genuine and so deep.”
By BEN SCHRECKINGER 6/4/15 12:33 PM EDT Updated 6/5/15 10:47 AM EDT
DOVER, Del. — Hundreds of mourners — from powerful out-of-towners like Andrew Cuomo and Samantha Power to locals who served with Beau Biden in the military and remember him tossing around a football as a boy — gathered under gray skies on Thursday to pay their respects to the vice president’s beloved late son.
In the town of Wyoming, on the road into Dover, the American flags in front yards flew at half-staff. Outside of Legislative Hall, the brick colonial revival seat of Delaware’s government, another flag flapped high above the street, suspended between the raised ladders of two fire engines, as the vice president’s motorcade arrived with his son’s hearse for a private ceremony just before 1 p.m.
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Two hours earlier, the first mourners were lining up at the steps of the Capitol to pay their respects. By the time Joe Biden arrived, clutching the hand of his grandson Hunter with wife Jill at his side, hundreds of Delaware residents — in dark suits, military uniforms and jeans — had gathered behind the building, in a line that snaked down the block. More stood in small clutches on the grassy mall out back.
Inside, the vice president, surrounded by family, stood closest to his son’s flag-draped casket, and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell posthumously presented Beau with the Delaware Conspicuous Service Cross.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, right, rests his head in his hand during a viewing for his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, Thursday, June 4, 2015, at Legislative Hall in Dover, Del. Standing with Vice President Biden are Beau Biden’s widow, Hallie, from left, and daughter Natalie, and the the vice president’s wife Jill. Beau Biden died of brain cancer Saturday at age 46. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool) View Photo Gallery
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“Your dad beamed with pride and love for you,” Markell said to Beau’s children. “His attachment to his parents is now a part of history.”
“Never has a son’s love been so genuine and so deep.”
Other top leaders in state government delivered remarks, and the chaplain of the Delaware National Guard delivered an invocation and a benediction.
Following the service, a receiving line filed into Delaware’s modest Senate chamber — cleared of its desks to make room for Beau and his mourners — led by local officials along with New York Gov. Cuomo and United Nations Ambassador Power. Biden, moved by Cuomo’s presence, hugged and kissed the governor, then hugged him again. He also embraced Power, the next to pay her respects.
Doors then opened to the public, and Biden, his wife, his son’s widow, Hallie, and Joe and Jill Biden’s children and their spouses, continued to greet mourners from a staked-out position for more than an hour, as the vice president flashed the occasional smile. Shuttles from surrounding areas continued to deliver mourners throughout the afternoon.
Joe and Jill Biden started making their way through the crowd late in the day.
“I want to make sure you all know how grateful I am,” the vice president said to one small group. When asked how he was holding up, Joe Biden responded, “You guys are holding me up.”
Whether they knew the Bidens or not, all those gathered outside said they felt strong ties and affection for “Delaware’s family,” as Markell called them in his tribute to Beau.
“Delaware’s small,” said David Jones, 79, echoing the sentiments of many of those on hand. Jones can no longer recall how he first met the vice president, but he does remember handing out fliers in support of his first Senate run in 1972.
DENVER – AUGUST 27: U.S. Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) (R) hugs his son Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, during day three of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) at the Pepsi Center August 27, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will be officially be nominated as the Democratic candidate for U.S. president on the last day of the four-day convention. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Jones recalls sitting in the front row of Joe Biden’s first Senate swearing-in, at a Wilmington hospital in January 1973, as he kept vigil by a 3-year-old Beau, who was recovering from a car crash that killed his mother and younger sister. And Jones recalls the Bidens in happier times, such as when Beau and his younger brother, Hunter, tossed a football in their front yard in Harrington as their father stopped by for a break from later Senate campaigns. “Beau was just like him in every way,” said Jones of the father and son. “Attitude, beliefs, of high morals.”

Joe Biden rests his head in his hand during a viewing for his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, Thursday, June 4, 2015, at Legislative Hall in Dover, Del. | AP Photo
Those gathered outside Legislative Hall savored their memories of Beau Biden. Jones, an Army veteran, came to the Capitol when Biden’s Army unit returned from Iraq. He remembers scanning the assembled service members for Biden’s familiar face only to have the young major tap him on the shoulder from behind and greet him with a “Why, hello there.”
Many of those in attendance were current or former service members. Retired Command Sgt. Major Rosemarie Williams, 62, worked with Beau when he advised the Delaware national guard on legal matters as a JAG officer and said, “You couldn’t ask for a better person on Earth.” She said the guard was reeling from his death. “We’re a family. There’s a void there.”
Cynthia Fields, 57, of nearby Magnolia, recalls coming to the Capitol for an Obama rally in 2008 with her wheelchair-using husband, Norman. Though the couple doesn’t know the Bidens, Beau spotted her husband and made a beeline for him in the crowd and greeted him enthusiastically. She said the state was shocked by Biden’s death and was full of affection for his family. When Vice President Biden was in the Senate, he helped her father, a postal worker with issues related to his union, Fields recalled.
And, she said of Beau Biden, “He was a people’s person. He was a compassionate person.”
Beau Biden died on Saturday of brain cancer. He was 46. Mourners were able to pay their respects as he lay in honor until 5 p.m. Thursday. There also will be a wake at a church in Wilmington on Friday. President Obama is expected to speak at a funeral mass on Saturday.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/beau-biden-service-118646.html#ixzz3cEGZDnok

Uploaded by Louis Sheehan

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