“I have believed the best of every man,” wrote the poet William Butler Yeats, “And find that to believe it is enough to make a bad man show him at his best or even a good man swing his lantern higher.” – President Obama
WHEN NEWS of the passing of Joseph Robinette “Beau” Biden III, Vice President Joe Biden’s son, hit last night the outpouring of love for the father was massive on social media. It’s because, whatever you think of Mr. Biden’s politics, the one thing everyone knew who came into contact with him is that he is nothing without his family. For Joe and his son Beau, the bond was very special, according to anyone who ever saw them together in a room, saw them say goodbye to each other.
When I met candidate Joe Biden in 2008, it was after I had a conversation with his sister, who was the engine of his presidential campaign at the time. We were standing next to each other as Joe Biden took questions after the Carson City debate. Mr. Biden came over after his brief press conference to engage me in conversation, during a primary that hadn’t been going well, saying, “I’m getting better at this, right?” We then chatted a moment and upon my invitation to write about Pakistan on this site, he accepted, saying to contact his sister through the campaign, which I did. The point I’m making here is that it was clear his campaign was a family operation, like everything he has done in politics and the Senate, which began when he lost his wife and daughter so tragically as he became a Delaware senator.
We all are far removed from the heartbreak of the Biden family, but somehow, because of Joe Biden’s public life, his exuberant persona and his gregarious personality, we are part of his life. For whatever reason, many of us grieve with him, even though this isn’t our tragedy.
President Obama said it well.
The Bidens have more family than they know. In the Delaware they love. In the Senate Joe reveres. Across this country that he has served for more than forty years. And they have a family right here in the White House, where hundreds of hearts ache tonight – for Hallie, Natalie, and Hunter; for Joe and for Jill; for Beau’s brother, Hunter; his sister, Ashley, and for the entire Biden clan. – President Obama
In our house, from my husband and I, all we can say is that we love Joe Biden.
Our meditations are deep and heartfelt for the unfairness of life delivering yet another heartbreak to a man who’s had his share.
It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life.
The entire Biden family is saddened beyond words. We know that Beau’s spirit will live on in all of us—especially through his brave wife, Hallie, and two remarkable children, Natalie and Hunter.
Beau’s life was defined by service to others. As a young lawyer, he worked to establish the rule of law in war-torn Kosovo. A major in the Delaware National Guard, he was an Iraq War veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star. As Delaware’s Attorney General, he fought for the powerless and made it his mission to protect children from abuse.
More than his professional accomplishments, Beau measured himself as a husband, father, son and brother. His absolute honor made him a role model for our family. Beau embodied my father’s saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did.
In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.