Delaware bade farewell to one of its own today. Last weekend Beau Biden, son of VP Joe Biden and a two term Delaware Attorney General, died of brain cancer. The front runner for the Gubernatorial race next year he succumbed to this virulent cancer just short of two years after being diagnosed. Being a former Delawarean I followed Beau’s career ascent with interest. I’ve covered his father numerous times as Vice President and Joe was also my U.S. Senator for the 18 years I resided in Newark. I’ve always had admiration for the Bidens and Beau looked to have an impressive future. The fact this cancer robbed us all of him so soon, at age 46, is a loss to all of us.
I have to wonder if his service in Iraq caused his illness. The use of depleted uranium is causing many illnesses in both American service people and Iraqis. Biden spent 14 months serving in Iraq with the Delaware Air National Guard. He signed up for service after 9/11. He leaves a widow and two children.
President Obama eulogized him today at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington. The famous Italian Festival begins this week and the sense of revelry will definitely be muted this year.
Delaware is a small family. Originally the Lower Three Counties of Penns Woods the First State broke off in colonial times and has had its share of remarkable leaders. Pennsylvania, with 67 counties has lagged behind IMHO. In a state where everyone knows everyone I recall a time when I was driving north from Dover and Gov. Ruth Ann Minner’s state car (always identifiable by its license plate Delaware 1) was speeding. We were going pretty much the same direction and when it pulled into the state Democratic headquarters in Stanton I pulled in behind and commented tot he Governor that her driver (a State Trooper) had been speeding and that it set a bad example.
There aren’t a lot of places where you can do something like that. Gov. Minner was friendly and apologetic and she knew that in such a small state word of something like that could spread quickly and she reprimanded her driver before I departed.
I recall many times seeing Gov. Pete DuPont’s Lincoln Town Car on its way to Dover from Wilmington when I was frequently driving the same route down Route 13. In a big state like ours it’s difficult to imagine how intimate politics can be in a place like Delaware. Joe Biden served the state for 36 years as U.S. Senator and in that time many, many Delawareans were touched by him and his family. He frequently eats at the Charcoal Chef which also a favorite haunt of my grandparents who lived in Wilmington. He raised his family after losing his first wife and daughter in a car accident. I never passed through that intersection (which I did frequently) without thinking about them.
Losing Beau before his time has affected everyone in Delaware and everyone who has lived there for any period of time. He promised to be someone who might even surpass his father’s accomplishments and was well on his way on his own terms. Not only will Delawareans miss Beau Biden but we all are at a loss for his passing.
My heart goes out to the Biden family. May Beau rest in peace.