Our country lost a real public servant when Beau Biden died at age 46. Vice President Joe Biden was joined in mourning by heads of state including President Obama when his son Beau passed away May 30 after battling brain cancer. A service held June 6 at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del., was attended by an estimated 1,000 people. Others lined the roads leading to the church to pay their respects. I don’t believe I can recall any public figure receiving more good things said about a life than were said about Beau Biden.
Joseph Robinette “Beau” Biden, III, was Vice President Biden’s oldest son, a former Delaware attorney general and an Iraq War veteran. He leaves behind a wife, Hallie, and two children, Hunter and Natalie, in addition to his parents, Joe and Jill, and his siblings Hunter and Ashley. He also is remembered by many extended family members, friends and colleagues.
Beau was born in Wilmington, Del., Feb. 3, 1969. In 1972, his mother, Neilia Hunter Biden, and younger sister, Naomi Christina Biden, were killed in an auto accident that also injured him and his brother Hunter, who was 3 at the time. His father, Joe Biden, who at the time was a U.S. Senator, traveled back and forth to Washington, D.C., each day while caring for his sons. He raised them as a single father until he remarried in 1977.
Beau graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in Syracuse University College of Law. He worked at the U.S. Department of Justice from 1995-2004, eventually becoming a Federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office. He became a partner in the firm of Bifferato, Getilotti Biden & Balick in 2004.
He joined the military in 2003 as a member of the Delaware Army National Guard and was a Major in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps. He was elected to serve as Delaware Attorney General in 2006. In 2008, his Guard unit was deployed to serve in Iraq for one year. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.
In May 2010, Beau suffered a stroke, but recovered and went on to win a second term as Delaware Attorney General. In 2013, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. He had a lesion removed and underwent radiation and chemotherapy. Sadly, he succumbed to his illness in May 2015.
Among the dignitaries who attended Beau’s funeral were President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, with their children; Sens. Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid, former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton; and Gen. Raymond Odierno, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, who awarded Beau Biden the Legion of Merit “for his lifetime of service as a soldier, an advocate and an American Patriot.” In a eulogy, President Obama said of Beau:
He was a good man. A man of character. A man who loved deeply and was loved in return. Beau’s grandfather, Joe’s father, believed that the most egregious sin was to abuse your power to inflict pain on another. So, Beau squared his broad shoulders to protect people from that kind of abuse. He fought for homeowners who were cheated, seniors who were scammed. He even went after bullying itself.
In his memory, Beau’s family has established the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children, which “will honor Beau’s life of service, and continue his mission of standing up for those members of our society most in need of a voice.” The Beau Biden Foundation will operate as part of the Delaware Community Foundation. More information may be found on the website, www.beaubidenfoundation.org, and donations can be made in Beau’s memory.
Sources: NPR and the Delaware Community Foundation
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