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June 01, 2015

Beau Biden RIP

I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden. I may have profound differences with his father, Vice President Joe Biden, but this is one of those things that reminds us that there are things that rise above the petty realm of politics. No parent should have to bury a child and this is the second time Biden has had to do so. My heart aches for him, and he is in my prayers.

Joe and Beau had a particularly close relationship, and the elder Biden lived out a commitment to be a good father to his sons after the accident that killed their mother and their sister.

Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden who died Saturday at the age of 46, was recently described by the vice president as his "redemption." Along with his brother, Beau was the light in the terrible darkness that seemed inescapable in the face of Biden family tragedy more than 40 years ago.

Biden's first wife, Neilia, and 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, were killed in a Christmas time car accident in 1972, just weeks after Biden became the second youngest man elected to the Senate, according to The Associated Press. Biden's two sons, Beau, who was 3 years old at the time, and Hunter, who was 2 at the time, were critically injured, and doctors weren't sure if they would live.

Biden, facing abrupt single fatherhood, wanted to resign before taking office, but was convinced by the likes of the late Senator Ted Kennedy and others to see out his term, according to the Washingtonian. Eighteen days after the death of his wife and child, Biden was sworn into the Senate at the hospital where his two young sons were being treated.

"I felt I should be sworn in with my children today," Biden told reporters from beside Beau's bedside, according to an AP article at the time.

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Beau Biden's death draws outpouring of sympathy for VP, family 2:29
Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden who died Saturday at the age of 46, was recently described by the vice president as his "redemption." Along with his brother, Beau was the light in the terrible darkness that seemed inescapable in the face of Biden family tragedy more than 40 years ago.

Biden's first wife, Neilia, and 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, were killed in a Christmas time car accident in 1972, just weeks after Biden became the second youngest man elected to the Senate, according to The Associated Press. Biden's two sons, Beau, who was 3 years old at the time, and Hunter, who was 2 at the time, were critically injured, and doctors weren't sure if they would live.

Biden, facing abrupt single fatherhood, wanted to resign before taking office, but was convinced by the likes of the late Senator Ted Kennedy and others to see out his term, according to the Washingtonian. Eighteen days after the death of his wife and child, Biden was sworn into the Senate at the hospital where his two young sons were being treated.

"I felt I should be sworn in with my children today," Biden told reporters from beside Beau's bedside, according to an AP article at the time.

'They were best friends': Chuck Todd on Beau and Joe Biden 2:47
The precedent of balancing his political life with his family life was set then. Biden would commute by train from Delaware to Washington for four hours each day "to be able to get home to spend evenings with my two sons," he wrote in a 2011 essay in the Huffington Post.

"By focusing on my sons, I found my redemption," Biden told students at Yale University's Class Day, just two weeks ago.

"The incredible bond I have with my children is the gift I'm not sure I would have had, had I not been through what I went through," he said. "Looking back on it, the truth be told, the real reason I went home every night was that I needed my children more than they needed me."

Beau Biden was, by all accounts, a good man. He was a military officer and served as Delaware's Attorney General. I wish I was writing about his campaign for governor or senator from that state instead of this post. May he rest in peace.





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