On Saturday, May 30 the state of Delaware and family and friends of the Biden family across the nation were shocked and saddened by the news that Beau Biden, former Attorney General of Delaware and eldest son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, died at the age of 46 after a battle with brain cancer. Thousands of families shared their condolences and memories of Beau with the Biden family including his wife Hallie, son Hunter and daughter Natalie on Thursday, June 7 at Legislative Hall in Dover, DE and on Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 during a viewing and mass at St. Anthony of Padua in Wilmington, DE.
In the state of Delaware, Joseph Robinette “Beau” Biden III represented many things to many people as he served his home state and his country as an attorney, politician and member of the United States Armed Services. Recently, Beau served as the 44th Attorney General of Delaware from 2007 through January 2015 and as a member of the Delaware National Guard 261st Signal Brigade in Iraq. In his first year in office as Delaware Attorney General, Biden created the Child Predator Task Force. A proactive advocate for the protection of children, Biden convicted nearly 200 child sex abusers and led the charge to place pediatrician Earl Bradley, who was convicted in 2011 of the rape and abuse of over 80 children, behind bars. Bradley is currently serving a prison sentence of 14 life terms, plus 164.
Biden served his country during service with the Delaware National Guard 261st Signal Brigade in Iraq through 2008 and 2009 and was awarded the Bronze Star. Serving alongside Biden in Iraq, Delaware National Guard member Keith Bauer remembers Biden as a man that truly, genuinely cared about people. Bauer states that Beau lived the Army values as he showed loyalty to state and country and always treated everyone with respect. Bauer called his fellow soldier “the epitome of selfless service.”
“Beau wasn’t the typical politician. He never had a secret agenda. Beau genuinely cared about people. He cared about Delaware. He wanted to make a difference,” said Bauer. “You would have never had known that he was the State’s Attorney General, a Senator’s son, then the VP’s son. He slept in the same hot tents, on the same smelly cots, ate the same Army chow, and lived the same stories as many of us. He blended in the ranks. He was good soldier.” As the two shared many of meals, coffee and rides in the same Humvees, Bauer remembers that the two laughed a lot.
Maj. Gen. Vavala, Commander of the Delaware National Guard during Beau’s deployment, released a statement on Sunday, May 31. “Beau was someone who didn’t have to join the military and he didn’t have to deploy to Iraq but, those are things that Beau chose to do because, that’s who he was – a consummate public servant. This is a tragic loss to our organization and to the entire state. His leadership, patriotism, and dedication were evident to all those who served with him and that along with his devotion to family will be the legacy he leaves.”
Following the announcement by the Office of the Vice President on Tuesday, June 2, the Office of Delaware Governor Jack Markell released the news that President Pro Tempore Patti Blevins, Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf, Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson, House Minority Leader Danny Short and Governor Jack Markell offered to Hallie Biden, Beau’s wife, and the greater Biden family to have the Attorney General lie in honor at Legislative Hall on the afternoon of Thursday, June 4. Hundreds of Delaware families came to Dover, DE to pay their respects to the Biden family. During the ceremony where Beau lied in honor in the Delaware Senate Chambers, Governor Markell spoke about Beau’s commitment to Delaware families.
“Because of what Beau Biden did in this very building, the children of Delaware are safer for generations to come. Delaware seniors are more secure, crime victims are more certain that the state of Delaware stands behind them. Students are more confident that bullies will be held more accountable. Beau made Delaware a better place for us all,” stated Governor Markell “…and he did so because of his determination and his persistence, because of his intellect and willingness to fight, because he persuaded and cajoled, and most of all because Beau had an extraordinary heart.
Over the past weekend, a mass at St. Anthony of Padua in Wilmington, DE was held as U.S. President Barrack Obama delivered the eulogy. “We are here to grieve with you but more important because we love you. Without love life can be cold and be cruel,” stated President Obama “The cruelty [Beau] endured in his life did not make him hard, it made him compassionate. He fought for homeowners who here cheated, seniors who were scammed, even went after bullying itself…That’s who Beau was, someone who charmed you and disarmed you and put you at ease.”
Following the news of his death, the Delaware Community Foundation (DCF) joined family members in establishing the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children to continue Beau’s commitment to protecting children from predators. The Delaware Community Foundation states on their website that “The Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children will stand up and speak out for children who are being abused, as Beau called on all of us to do in an opinion piece last year. ‘ We have seen the progress that can be made when society commits to shining a bright light on a crime like domestic violence, and we are seeing the beginning of what can be accomplished if we continue shining that bright light on child abuse,” he wrote. “As adults, we have a legal and moral obligation to stand up and speak out for children who are being abused – they cannot speak for themselves.’ ” According to DCF, the Biden Foundation has already received more than $125,000 in donations.