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Gen. Raymond Odierno Remarks at Beau Biden Memorial Service; President Obama Delivers Eulogy at Beau Biden's Funeral; Biden Family Remembers Beau. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired June 6, 2015 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GEN. RAYMOND ODIERNO, ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF: Good morning.
It is my distinct honor to be here today to remember and celebrate the life and accomplishments of Beau Biden -- a father, a husband, a son, a friend, a leader, a soldier, and a patriot. A life much too short, but a life that had incredible meaning and a life that left an indelible mark on all of us.
Beau's family was the center of his life. And he always put them first. Hallie, his loving wife, son and daughter, Hunter, Natalie, his president -- Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, his brother Hunter and his sister Ashley, and all the Biden family.
I know how much he loved you so dearly. I know this is an exceptionally difficult time for a family. And words cannot express the sorrow Linda and I have for the loss of Beau.
But as I look out across the audience gathered here today, I reflect on the impact Beau's life has had on all of us, all across the nation, in particular the state of Delaware throughout the United States army, and most of all, his family, friends, and colleagues.
I want to start off by talking about Beau Biden, the soldier. It was in Iraq where I had the incredible honor to serve beside him and really get to know him.
It's sometimes hard to explain to others about the bond formed between soldiers in combat, the shared commitment to mission, the unspoken reliance on each other, the indefinable trust that is forged. It is a brotherhood that only a few understand.
I have always believed that an individual's character defines them as a person. And a man's character is truly revealed under the most extreme and stressful conditions. I was able to witness firsthand Beau's incredible character, one principle with deep moral and ethical roots.
He understood the importance of maintaining trust with his fellow soldiers and with the public to gain justice and the victims he fought so hard for. And with everyone he came in contact with, and he did it by just smiling, listening, and showing genuine compassion to all. He cared deeply for his fellow human beings and always treated everyone with dignity and respect. Beau Biden's character was genuine. He had a natural charisma that
few people possess. People willingly wanted to follow him, completely trusted his judgment, and believed in him. Frankly, he was selfless to a fault -- always supporting his personal needs to the welfare of everyone else to include soldiers, the unit, and everyone around him.
He was incredibly proud to serve in the Delaware National Guard. And he would tell me over and over again, as we had many discussions, "Sir, I'm just another soldier doing my best and my job to accomplish the mission."
He was committed to his community, to his home state, and to a nation. Frankly, a nation that I believe, one day, Beau Biden would someday lead. Beau possessed the traits I have witnessed only in the greatest leaders -- inspirational, humble, intelligent, insightful, always building a team, and a man of incredible moral and personal courage.
Now, I am by no means political by nature, but I see value in individuals with military service serving in our government. And before Beau was redeploying, I called him in to talk to me. And this was just after Senator Biden became Vice President Biden, and I spend about ten minutes, talked to him about thinking about running for senator, because I thought it was important to have people with military experience in Congress.
And Beau listened intently looked me straight in the eye, for about 10 minutes and as he always did he said, "Sir, thank you so much, I appreciate so much, you honor me with your word words." But he then looked at me in the eye and said, "Sir, I have much yet work do in Delaware. I have much yet work to help people in Delaware, I must finish what I started. It is really important to me."
That is a man of great character. A man who understands commitment. That was Beau Biden.
To Beau's family I want you to know Linda and I stand with you and will always be there for you. Beau was a soldier and also a dear friend and someone I personally admired.
And as I look for the perfect words to say today, I actually think back to 2012, when you, sir, Vice President Biden, addressed the surviving family members of our military forces who gave the ultimate sacrifice. You spoke about a day that would come when the thought of their son or daughter or their husband or wife or brother and sister would bring a smile to their lips before it brought a tear to their eye.
Hallie, Hunter, Natalie, Jill, Mr. Vice president, Ashley and Hunter, that day will come. Beau's enduring presence brings us strength and fills our hearts with joy, with smiles abound. Beau was an extraordinary person, and we will cherish the memories of him for a lifetime.
One's legacy is defined by those we have touched, those we have influenced, and those we have loved. Although Beau's life was much too short, his legacy will live on in the thousands he touched, the thousands he influenced, and the many he loved.
I suggest we celebrate Beau's life by following in his legacy -- find the best in people and dedicate our lives to making the world a better place, living our lives and changing the world one person at a time. Do this and Beau Biden will live in each of us and will never be forgotten.
So, on behalf of a grateful nation, I would like to award the Legion of Merit to Major Joseph R. Biden III of the Delaware National Guard for his lifetime of service as a soldier, an advocate, an American patriot.
If you can please read the citation.
ANNOUNCER: Permanent Order, 154-2, Biden, Joseph Robinette III, major, joint force headquarters detachment, New Castle, Delaware, the following award is announced, the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious service while assigned to positions of increasing responsibility in the Army Judge Advocate General Corps, culminating as deputy staff judge advocate general for joint force headquarters detachment Delaware National Guard.
Major Biden demonstrated extraordinary integrity, initiative, leadership, and outstanding professional judgment throughout his 11- year career as a judge advocate general corps officer. His achievements are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Army Judge Advocate General Corps, the Delaware Army National Guard and the United States Army.
Signed, Timothy Kadavy, lieutenant general, United States Army, director, Army National Guard.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: "A man," wrote an Irish poet, "is original when he speaks the truth that has always been known to all good men."
Beau Biden was an original. He was a good man, a man of character, a man who loved deeply, and was loved in return.
Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, General Odierno, distinguished guests.
To Hallie, Natalie and Hunter, to Hunter, Kathleen, Ashley, Howard, the rest of Beau's beautiful family, friends, colleagues, to Joe and to Jill, we are here to grieve with you, but more importantly we are here because we love you.
Without love, life can be cold and it can be cruel. Sometimes cruelty is deliberate. The action of bullies or bigots or the inaction of those in different to another's pain, but often cruelty is simply born of life. A matter of fate or God's will beyond our mortal powers to comprehend. To suffer such faceless, seemingly random cruelty can harden the
softest hearts or shrink the sturdiest. It can make one mean or bitter or full of self-pity. Or, to paraphrase an old proverb, it can make you beg for a lighter burden.
But, if you're strong enough, it can also make you ask God for broader shoulders, shoulders broad enough to bear not only your own burdens but the burdens of others. Shoulders broad enough to shield those who need shelter the most.
To know Beau Biden is to know which choice he made in his life. To know Joe and the rest of the Biden family is to understand why Beau lived the life he did.
For Beau, a cruel twist of fate came early. The car accident that took his mom and his sister, and confined Beau and Hunter, then still toddlers, to hospital beds at Christmastime.
But Beau was a Biden and he learned early the Biden family rule -- if you have to ask for help, it's too late. It meant you were never alone. You don't even have to ask because someone is always there for you when you need them.
And so, after the accident, Valerie rushed in to care for the boys and help raise them, Joe continued public service, but shunned the parlor games of Washington, choosing instead the daily commute home, maintained for decades, that would let him meet his most cherished duty, to see his kids off to school, to kiss them at night, to let them know that the world was stable and that there was firm ground under their feet.
As Joe himself confessed to me, he did not just do this because the kids needed him. He did it because he needed those kids.
And somehow Beau sensed that -- how understandably and deeply hurt his family and his father was. And so, rather than use his childhood trauma as justification for a life of self-pity or self-centeredness, that very young boy made a very grown-up decision, he would live a life of meaning, he would live a life for others. He would ask God for broader shoulders.
Beau would guide and look out for his younger brother. He would embrace his new mom. Apparently, the two boys sheepishly asking their father when they could all marry Jill. And throughout his life, no one would make Jill laugh harder.
He would look after their baby sister, Ashley. He would forever be the one to do the right thing. Careful not to give his family or friends cause for concern.
It's no secret that a lot of what made Beau the way he was was just how much he loved and admired his dad. He studied law, like his dad, even choosing the same law school. He chased public service like his dad, believing it to be a noble and important pursuit.
From his dad, he learned how to get back up when life knocked him down. He learned that he was no higher than anybody else and no lower than anybody else. Something Joe got from his mom, by the way.
And he learned how to make everybody else feel like we matter, because his dad taught him that everybody matters. Even looked and sounded like Joe, although I think Joe would be the first to acknowledge that Beau was an upgrade, Joe 2.0.
But as much as Beau reminded folks of Joe, he was very much his own man. He was an original. He was a sign of an incredible family who brushed away a possibility of privilege for the harder, better reward of earning his own way. He was a soldier who dodged glory, and exuded true humility, a prosecutor who defended the defenseless, the rare politician who collected more fans than foes, and the rare public figure who prioritized his private life above all else.
Beau didn't cut corners. He turned down an appointment to be Delaware's attorney general so he could win it fair and square. When the field was clear for him to run for the Senate, he chose to finish his job as A.G. instead. He didn't do these things to gain favor with a cynical public. It's just who he was.
You know, in his 20s he and a friend were stopped for speeding outside Scranton, and the officer recognized the name on the license and because he was a fan of Joe's work with law enforcement, he wanted to let Beau off with a warning. But Beau made him write that ticket. Beau didn't trade on his name.
After 9/11, he joined the National Guard, felt it was his obligation, part of what those broader shoulders are for. He did his duty to his country and deployed to Iraq. General Odierno eloquently spoke to Major Biden's service.
What I can tell you is when he was loading up to ship out at Dover, there was a lot of press that wanted to interview him. Beau refused. He was just another soldier.
I saw him when I visited Iraq. He conducted the same way. His deployment was hard on Hallie and the kids, like it was for so many families over the last 14 years. It was hard on Joe, hard on Jill, partly why Jill threw herself into her work with military families with so much intensity. It's how you know when Joe thunders "May God protect our troops" in every speech he does, he means it so deeply.
Like his father, Beau did not have a mean bone in his body. The cruelty he endured in his life didn't make him hard, it made him compassionate and pathetic, but it did make him a bore bullies. Beau's grandfather, Joe's father, believed that the most egregious sin was to abuse your power to inflict pain on another.
So, Beau squared his broad shoulders to protect people from that kind of abuse. He fought for homeowners who were cheated, seniors who were scammed, even went after bullying itself. He set up a child protector predator task force, convicted more than 200 of those who targeted vulnerable children. And in all of this, he did it in a way that was alive to the suffering of others, bringing in experts to help spare both the children and their parents further trauma. That's who Beau was -- someone who cared, someone who charmed you and
disarmed you and put you at ease. When he had to attend a fancy fund- raiser with people who took themselves way too seriously, he'd walk over to you and whisper something wildly inappropriate in your ear.
The son of a senator, major in the army, the most popular elected official in Delaware, I'm sorry, Joe, but he was not above dancing in nothing but a sombrero and shorts at Thanksgiving that would shake loose a laugh from the people that he loved. And through it all, he was the consummate public servant, a notebook in his back pocket at all times so he could write down the problems of everyone he met and go back to the office to get them fixed.
Because he was a Biden, the titles that come with family, husband, father, son, brother, uncle -- those were the ones Beau valued above any other. This was a man who at the Democratic National Convention didn't spend all of his time in back rooms with donors or glad handing. Instead, he rode the escalators in the arena with his son, up and down, up and down, again and again, knowing, just like Joe had learned, what ultimately mattered in life.
You know, anyone can make a name for themselves in this reality TV age, especially in today's politics if you're loud enough or controversial enough, you can get some attention. But to make that name mean something, to have it associated with dignity and integrity, that is rare. There's no shortcut to get it. It's not something you can buy.
But if you do right by your children, maybe you can pass it on. And what greater inheritance is there? What greater inheritance than to be part of a family that passes on the values of what it means to be a great parent? That passes on the values of what it means to be a true citizen. That passes on the value of what it means to give back fully and freely without expecting anything in return.
That's what our country was built on. Men like Beau. That's who built it, families like this. We don't have kings or queens or lords. We don't have to be born into money to have an impact. We don't have to step on one another to be successful.
We have this remarkable privilege of being able to earn what we get out of life with the knowledge that we are no higher than anybody else or lower than anybody else. We know it's not just because it is in our founding documents but because families, like the Bidens, have made it so, because people like Beau have made it so.
He did in 46 years what most of us couldn't do in 146. He left nothing in the tank. He was a man who led a life where the means were as important as the ends.
And the example he set made you want to be a better dad or a better son or a better brother or sister, better at your job, a better soldier. He made you want to be a better person.
Isn't that finally the measure of a man, the way he lives, how he treats others, no matter what life may throw at him? We do not know how long we've got here. We don't know when fate will intervene. We cannot discern God's plan.
What we do know is that with every minute that we've got, we can live our lives in a way that takes nothing for granted. We can love deeply. We can help people who need help. We can teach our children what matters and pass on empathy and compassion and selflessness. We can teach them to have broad shoulders.
To the Biden family, this sprawling inmate clan, I know that Beau's passing has left a gaping void in the world.
Hallie, I can only imagine the burdens that you've been carrying on your shoulders these past couple of years, it's because you gave him everything that he could give everything to us. Just as you were there for him, we'll be there for you.
To Natalie and Hunter, there aren't words big enough to describe how much your dad loved you, how much he loved your mom.
But I will tell you what? Michelle and I and Sasha and Malia, we've become part of the Biden clan, we're honorary members now. And Biden family rule applies, we're always here for you. We always will be. My word as a Biden.
To Joe and Jill, just like everybody else here, Michelle and I thank God you are in our lives, taking this ride with you is one of great pleasures of our lives.
Joe, you are my brother. I'm grateful every day that you've got such a big heart and a big soul and those broad shoulders. I couldn't admire you more.
I got to know Joe's mom, Catharine Eugenia Finnegan Biden, before she passed away. She was on stage with us when we were first elected.
And I know she told Joe once that out of everything bad that happens to you, something good will come if you look hard enough. I suppose she was channeling that same Irish poet with whom I began today, Patrick Cavanaugh, when he wrote, "And I said let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day."
As hard as it is right now through all of the heartache and all of the tears, it is our obligation, our obligation to Beau, to think not about what was and what might have been but, instead, to think about what is because of him.
Think about the day that dawns for children who are safer because of Beau, whose lives are fuller because of him. Think about the day that dawns for parents who rest easier and families who are freer because of him.
Some folks may never know that their lives are better because of Beau Biden, but that's OK. Certainly for Beau a claim was never the point of public service. But the lines of well-wishers who have been here all week, they know.
The White House mail room that's been overflowing with letters from people -- those folks know. The soldiers who served with Beau who joined the National Guard because of him, the workers who still have their home because of him and thanked him for helping them bus tables one busy night, the students in Newark who remember the time he talked with them for hours inexhaustible, even after giving a speech, even after taking his National Guard fitness test. The Rehoboth woman who saved a kind voice mail from him for five years and wrote to say, I loved the way he loved his family.
And the stranger who wrote from halfway across this great country just to say, the only thing we can hope for is that our children make us proud by making a difference in the world. Beau has done that and then some. The world noticed.
Jill, Joe, Hallie, Hunter and Nat, the world noticed. They noticed. They felt it. His presence. Beau lives on in the lives of others.
And isn't that -- isn't that the whole point of our time here? To make this country we love fair and more just, not just for Natalie or Hunter or Naomi or Finnegan or Mazie or Malia or Sasha, but for every child. Isn't that what this amazing journey we've been on is all about, to make life better for the next generation?
Beau figured that out so early in life. What an inheritance Beau left us. What an example he set.
"Through our great good fortune in our youth, our hearts were touched with fire," said Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. "But, above all, we have learned that whether a man accepts from fortune her spade and will look downward and dig, or from aspiration her axe and cord, and will scale the ice, the one and only success, which it is his to command, is to bring to his work a mighty heart."
Beau Biden brought to his work a mighty heart. He brought to his family a mighty heart. What a good man. What an original. May God bless his memory and the lives of all he touched.
ASHLEY BIDEN, SISTER OF BEAU BIDEN: There are no words that could adequately describe my love, admiration, and adoration for my brother. Nothing I say will give justice to what he means to me, to us.
And when trying to recall certain memories, I am at a loss, because my life is a collage of memories and moments. Beau was a constant presence every day of my life.
When I was in first grade, I drew a picture of what made me happy. And it was me holding hands with my two brothers, and I wrote "Happiness is being with my brothers." It was true then, and remained true throughout my life. I feel like the likeliest kid sister to be raised and built by two extraordinary men, although as my husband sometimes points out, they didn't read all of the directions.
It's impossible to talk about Beau without talking about Hunter. They were inseparable and shared a love that was unconditional. Although Beau was one year and one day older, Hunter was wind beneath Beau's wings. Hunt gave him the courage and confidence to fly.
Beau trusted and believed in Hunter more than anyone else. Hunter inspired him with his wisdom, compassion, and independent spirit. Hunter gave Beau strength, comfort, and courage.
[12:35:05] There wasn't one decision where Hunter wasn't consulted first, not one day that past where they didn't speak, and not one road traveled where they were they each other's copilots Hunter was Beau's confidant, his home.
When I was born, I was welcomed with open arms and held tightly by both Beauy and Hunty, as I adornly (ph) called them my whole life. The boys named to me, I was theirs and I felt as though they were mine. Being with Hunter and my family was the only place that Beau wanted to be, and he is with us forever.
As a kid sister, I always wanted to be by his side. Through his high school and college years, I was allowed to hang around as long as I sang Fire On The Mountain by the Grateful Dead. He would take me to the University of Pennsylvania even though the most unpopular thing to do was to bring your eight-year-old kid sister to spend the night at your college apartment. But Beau didn't care. It was just the way things were going to be. I hang around my brother so much his friends nicknamed me flea.
Beau was my first phone call anytime I needed support, and frankly, my first line of defense before mom and dad. There were countless arguments at the dinner table, countless conversations where Beau would torture me for hours until I realized what he was saying was the right thing to do. He never judged, he just listened. He offered his hand, his shoulder, his wise advice, and his love.
I could just look at him and he knew instantly what I was thinking, and always give a nod, a look, a response that eased to me.
Being with family was Beau's favorite past time, whether just sitting on our parents porch, fishing with Natalie and Hunter, or eating around the kitchen table, he always wanted us around, and we always wanted to be around. He loved family trips, especially our Thanksgiving spent in Nantucket, a week to read, talk, walk the town, and just to be together around the fire.
Since I can remember, the week of Thanksgiving, my brothers would get me out of class and we would pile up in the Jeep Wagoneer and travel seven hours, my favorite car ride. Beau loved it so much that Nantucket is where he proposed to Hallie and where they wed.
He was the constant anchor for me, my brothers, our father, and our mother. He was our protector, our mediator, the captain of our lives.
He was my first love, and what a beautiful example of love he provided. My brothers brought my husband to me, meeting him first in 2008 at a fundraiser and spending time after, Hunter told me about this incredibly, funny, handsome good man who Beau and he had met. At the time, I just missed it, but two years later in Beau's hospital room, dressed in my cap and gown after graduating with my masters, I met the man who would become my husband and Beau and Hunt's brother.
Beau brought Howard to this family. He knew we would need him his incredible gifts to us. Beau also brought us our sister, Hallie, who he loved with all his heart and he married for her incredible strength and determination. I spent numerous nights eating dinner and just hanging out, mediating the banter between them.
They had an effortless understanding and love. When the night settled in, they could always be found curled up on the couch, often Beau begging Hallie to rub his feet watch their favorite shows.
Beau gave Natalie and Hunter who embody him, and how are brave, smart, and as compassionate as their father. Natalie a natural leader, and Hunter a sheriff and protector.
Beau loves life and never complained with one exception, there was nothing he disliked more than people worrying about him. He selflessly took on everyone else's worries and who they -- we will get through this attitude. He taught us to never to give up on ourselves or each other.
[12:40:00] I have the tragic privilege of going with Beau to his chemo treatments every other Friday. We would go out to breakfast afterwards, sometimes just walk the city or go get his haircut. I will forever treasure our time together, the many conversations we had about life.
During our breakfast he would often make me listen to what I thought was his theme song, You Get What You Give by the Free Radicals. Even though Beau never stopped fighting and his will to live was stronger than most, I think he knew that this day might come. The words to the song are "This whole damn world would fall apart, you'll be OK, follow your heart. You are in harms way, I'm right behind."
In retrospect, I think Beau played that song during our mornings together, not for him, but for me to remember do not give up or let sadness consume me, consume us.
From the time I was young, Beau never let me get off the phone saying goodbye. It was always see you, love you. Beauy, we will see your face, your eyes every day we wake. We hear your laugh, we will see your smile, we will feel your touch. You will be with us for every decision we make in moments of sadness and struggle, and celebration and joy. We will see you everywhere we go in the beauty of nature, and a smile from strangers, and in your beautiful children, who we will take care of like you took care of all of us. You were etched in every fiber of our being. You are the bone of our bones, the flesh of our flesh and blood of our blood. You are ever present in our lives, today, tomorrow and forever.
Thank you for all you gave us and we'll continue to give us, as we continue living in your honor as only you would want. As long as I have Hunt, I have you. So Beauy, see you, love you so much.
HUNTER BIDEN, YOUNGER BROTHER OF BEAU BIDEN: I use to have to follow my brother, now I have to follow my sister, makes it very hard. On behalf of our family, I want to recognize and thank all the religious leaders here to celebrate my brother's life. It means such a great deal to us, and you know it mean a great deal to him. Thank you.
General, thank you for being here today. Beau was so proud of his service to this nation, and he was especially proud to serve under your leadership. Mr. President, you know how much you loved you. Thank you for all that you've done for our family, Michelle, particularly these difficult days. That was an incredible tribute, thank you.
Ashley, Beau is so proud of you. He was so touched by the way you cared about people. The depth of your emotions. He saw the joy you bring not only to our family, but to the lives of so many people. He loved the way you laugh. He loved your smile. And he was so proud to have been able to work with you in service of the people of Delaware. And he loved that you married Howard. He loved that very much. And he loved the fact that he was the catalyst that brought Howard into our family. And I love the fact he gave me another big brother.
Natalie, Hunter, we've talked about this over and over and over again. Your daddy is going to always be with us. Your daddy is going to always be by your side. Your daddy will always love you. And I can promise you will always be loved.
[12:45:23] We are a family whose love knows no bounds. He is a part of you. Natalie he is the piece of you that allows you to be so caring and compassionate. He's the reason why you're so protective of your brother. It's the same way he was with me.
Hunter, Robert Hunter Biden II, he tied you and me together forever. And you are his calm and his focus. You're so much like your daddy. You know, watching the two of you fish at the end of the dock was like seeing two images of the same person.
And just like Valerie was there for daddy and me always with unconditional love just like we had uncle Jimmy, uncle Frankie, uncle Jack, uncle John, Mommom, Dadda, you have your aunt Ashley, you have your aunt Liz, you have your aunt Kathleen, you have your pappy and your mimi, you have nana and pap.
We will surround you with the same love, a love so big and so beautiful. The same love that made your daddy and me will now make you.
And the love that your daddy had for you is the same love he had for your mom. He loved your mom so much. No one gave him more confidence and courage. Your mom is the most fiercely, loyal and protective person I know. And I don't have to tell you that she would do anything for you. She was more devoted to your daddy than anyone else in the world. She would do anything for him.
And she did everything for you. She gave your daddy so much love that he was able to give his love to everyone he met. Your mom shared your daddy with the world. The most important to me she shared him with Aunt Kathleen, his confident and coconspirator, usually conspiring against me.
And your cousins Naomi and Finnegan and Maisy, they thought of your daddy as a part of me.
And, you know, that your daddy is a part of me. And I will always be a part of you. We will always be a part of you. We will always be one family because we always have been one family.
You are at the center of the greatest love you will ever know.
Mom, you mended all of our hearts once. You made the three of us whole. You gave us Ashley, the greatest gift imaginable. You gave Beau his strength, his steadiness, and you gave him a love only a mother could give. You loved him with all your heart.
[12:50:27] And we all know there was no one in the world that you were more proud off. You adored Beau, I love watching that. And he adored you.
And it's your strength and it's your steadiness that holds this family together. And I know you will make us whole again.
The first memory I have is lying in a hospital bed next to my brother. I was almost three years old. I remember my brother who was one year and one day older than me holding my hand, staring into my eyes saying "I love you, I love you, I love you over and over and over again."
And in the 42 years since he never stopped holding my hand, he never stopped telling me just how much he loves me. But mine wasn't the only hand Beau's, Beau held.
Beau's was the hand everyone reached for in their time of need. Beau's was the hand that was reaching for yours before you even had to ask.
That is my brother stories. That is his story, not his accomplishments and there were many, federal court, special assistant to U.S. attorney general, legal adviser in the post-war Kosovo, attorney general. He came the most popular elected official in the United State and a major in the army national guard.
But to me, my brother is defined by his extraordinary resume. He is defined by the quality of his character. The boy, the man, who always held you close. The one who always made you feel safe. The one who always made you feel braver than you might have been. The one you could always count on for special kindness. The one who listened. The one who is always there when you needed the most, the one who gave you credit for the things he did. He was our leader and he never asked to live, he was our leader who never judge, who only inspired us through his example.
He was clarity, a clarity you could step in to. He was the clarity of Lake Skaneateles at sunrise. A clarity that you could float in, a clarity that was contagious. He was that clarity not just for his family but for everyone who called him friend and his friends were legion.
[12:55:05] And those friends can attest to the multitude of time in which Beau came to their aide without ever having to be asked. And that's why when we were kids, we called him the Sheriff. It wasn't because he was stern or unforgiving, he made us laugh more than anybody. He had more fun than all of us. We called him the Sheriff because we all knew if we were ever in trouble, if we ever needed someone to lean on, if we ever needed to find the right answer we all could turn to Beau.
Growing up every mom, of everyone of my friends knew, that if you work with Beau you're going to be all right. True. He was the sheriff who build us out, who kept us safe, who showed us the path home. He watched over all of us. Not one of us ever had to ask him. He was simply there, always when we needed him. And he never expected anything in return. And you would never in his shadow, we were always under his wing.
From the time we were kids mistakes were neither too great to be forgiven nor too small to be consult. Your problems were Beau's problems. But he seemed to carry them so effortlessly, like he carried so many of our secrets. You unburden yourself to Beau knowing he would never breach your trust.
He was the person you just wanted to be near because you knew he would make you smile, make you laugh, he make you cry. He would just let you be you. And not only would he love you regardless he'd loved you more because of it.
There are so many people in this church today across the country, who a legitimate right to say Beau Biden was my best friend. He was the best friend any of us ever had. In Shakespeare's words he was the man taken for all and all, I should not look upon his like again. That's who were brother was as a man. And everything that he did is at the most important thing in your world was the most important thing in his.
And it was genuine, it seemed every dishes that he made was guided by that same selflessness, he didn't join the army to be seen in uniform or to pass his resume. He didn't too. He joined because he thought it was the right thing to do. He didn't deploy to Iraq to earn a bronze star, he went because he thought it was the right thing to do.
Did he ever tell anyone of you that he was a bronze star recipient? One of his closest friend said to me the other day "I can't believe Beau never told me he was awarded the bronze star." Beau simply thought it was a privilege to serve.
Those who didn't know my brother thought he went into politics because if you're name is Joe Biden that's just what you do. So my brother went into politics because for him it was the right thing to do. It was the clearest path to helping as many people as he possibly could.
And I know where my brother learned that. He learned that from my dad. He learned that public life was not about serving yourself. Rather it was about the privilege of serving those who can't always serve themselves.
[13:00:08] Someone once said "Don't wait to make your son a great man."