Biden delivers emotional tribute to Delaware and his late son on eve of inauguration

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Before departing Delaware for his inauguration in Washington, President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday delivered an emotional paean to his longtime home and his late son Beau Biden.

The elder Biden, who is set to take office Wednesday, choked up at the top of his brief remarks at Delaware National Guard headquarters in New Castle, which was named after Beau in 2016 following his death a year earlier at age 46.

“It’s kind of emotional for me,” Biden said, wiping tears from his eyes before praising Delaware as “the state that loves our children and our grandchildren, and loved our Beau, and he so loved you right back.”

“It’s deeply personal that our next journey to Washington starts here, a place that defines the very best of who we are as Americans,” Biden said.

“I know these are dark times, but there’s always light. That’s what makes this state so special. That’s what it taught me,” Biden said.

President-Elect Joe Biden wipes his eye as he speaks at Major Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III National Guard /Reserve Center in New Castle Airport on January 19, 2021, in New Castle, Delaware, before departing for Washington, DC.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

Biden, since defeating President Donald Trump‘s bid for reelection, had largely been based near Wilmington, where his transition team was headquartered.

From that location, Biden and his team have laid out a series of sweeping policy goals mainly aimed at defeating the coronavirus and restoring the health of an economy damaged by the pandemic.

Biden is scheduled to deliver additional remarks later Tuesday at the Lincoln Memorial in a ceremony honoring the victims of Covid, which has killed at least 400,000 people in the U.S.

The pandemic, and the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump, have prompted officials to make drastic changes to the inauguration ceremony, which traditionally draws thousands of spectators to the National Mall. This time, swaths of the National Mall have been closed to the public and roughly 25,000 National Guard members have been deployed to D.C.

Toward the end of his remarks in New Castle, Biden again appeared overcome by his emotions.

“James Joyce is said to have told a friend, that when it comes his time to pass, when he dies, he said, ‘Dublin will be written on my heart.’ Well — excuse the emotion,” Biden said, his voice cracking.

After a pause, Biden said: “When I die, Delaware will be written on my heart. The hearts of all the Bidens. We love you all. You’ve been there for us in the good and the bad. You never walked away.”

“I am even more proud to be standing here, doing this from the Major Beau Biden facility,” Biden added.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I only have one regret: that he’s not here, because we should be introducing him as president.”

Correction: Biden is scheduled to deliver additional remarks later Tuesday at the Lincoln Memorial in a ceremony honoring the victims of Covid. An earlier version misstated the day.

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