Beau Biden memorial today in Dover

DOVER — The body of Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III will lie in honor this afternoon at Legislative Hall with Vice President Joe Biden expected to be present for the public gathering focused on his eldest son.

Officials said no one has ever before lain in honor in the building, the symbolic center of state government.

Mr. Biden, the former attorney general of Delaware and scion of the state’s famous political family, died Saturday of brain cancer at age 46.

Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III

Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III

Delaware residents will be able to pay their respects Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Mr. Biden’s casket will sit in the

Senate chamber after being brought in by the Delaware National Guard. A processional from noon to 1 p.m. will travel from Wilmington to Dover.

Members of the Biden family, as well as state officials, will be present, and lawmakers will honor Mr. Biden in a private ceremony beforehand.

Several main Dover roadways will be closed beginning at 11:30 a.m. today, including:

• Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard at the intersection of the Family Court building

• Federal Street from East Water Street to North Street

• Federal Street from North Street to Loockerman Street

• Legislative Avenue from East Water Street to Loockerman Street

• Duke of York Street from Legislative Avenue to Federal Street

• William Penn Street from Federal Street to Legislative Avenue

The Delaware Authority for Regional Transit’s bus service around Legislative Hall will be on detour today. Bus riders can visit www.dartfirststate.com or call 1-800-652-DART (3278) for more details.

With the roads closed, officials encourage visitors to use the complimentary shuttle service traveling from the Blue Hen Corporate Center. Buses will stop at the south end of the center on the Bay Road side and transport passengers to the state Capitol from 12:30 to 5.

Those who plan to ride the buses should leave any bags they have in their cars, and bags, sharp objects, liquids and signs will not be allowed in Legislative Hall. “Airport-like” security will be stationed there, according to officials.

Lawmakers took time to honor Mr. Biden briefly Wednesday, a day after several paid tribute in the Senate and House.

“This week we lost a great family man whose family values propelled him into years of public service,” Rep. Gerald Brady, D-Wilmington, said.

As the son of a man who’s been in public service for five decades, first on New Castle County Council, then in the U.S. Senate and finally as the vice president of the United States, Mr. Biden has carried on family’s legacy. Seen as a promising politician himself, he spent much of his life as a public figure.

That light intensified in the past decade as he ran for and won the position of state attorney general in 2006. After declining to pursue his father’s vacant U.S. Senate seat in 2010, he was re-elected as attorney general, serving until earlier this year when his second term expired.

A planned gubernatorial run never materialized as Mr. Biden was hit by health problems that ultimately cost him his life. In 2010 he suffered a stroke, characterized as mild, and had surgery to remove a brain lesion in 2013.

He was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., on May 20, 2015, where he died 10 days later of brain cancer.

Politicians and citizens have offered their condolences to the Bidens and shared their memories over the past five days, speaking of a life lost too soon.

While deceased state officials have been accorded honors before, no one has been treated like Mr. Biden.

Two separate public viewings will be held Friday at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, from 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. President Barack Obama will speak at a public Mass Saturday at 10:30 at the church.

Mr. Biden’s wife, Hallie, has requested well-wishers donate to the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children at www.beaubidenfoundation.org instead of buying flowers.

 

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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