Beau Biden to lie in honor in Dover’s Legislative Hall

DOVER — Former Attorney General Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III will lie in honor at Legislative Hall Thursday, and President Barack Obama will deliver a eulogy at a public Mass for him in Wilmington Saturday.

The son of Vice President Joe Biden, Mr. Biden passed away Saturday of brain cancer at age 46.

The body of former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, will lie in honor at Legislative Hall on Thursday. (Delaware State News/Andrew West)

The body of former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, will lie in honor at Legislative Hall on Thursday. (Delaware State News/Andrew West)

On Tuesday, the vice president’s office announced the public will have several opportunities to pay their respects over the coming days. After Mr. Biden lies in honor on Thursday, two public viewings will be held Friday and a public Mass will be celebrated Saturday.

On Thursday, citizens can visit Legislative Hall from 1 to 5 p.m. to honor Mr. Biden in the Senate chamber. The General Assembly will not be in session.

Legislative Hall officials said they did not recall anyone previously being laid in honor in the state Capitol.

The Friday public viewing will be at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. A Mass, open to the public, will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Anthony.

“The Legislative Hall ceremony will allow the General Assembly, other government officials and the Biden family’s many friends the opportunity to pay their respects,” Gov. Jack Markell’s office said.

Several Delaware lawmakers also shared their thoughts Tuesday on the man known and loved by many.

“We must continue to celebrate Beau Biden’s remarkable legacy as a patriot, a public servant, one of Delaware’s favorite sons, husband and father,” said Sen. David McBride, D-Wilmington Manor. He also read a poem written by Anne Brontë.

“Farewell to thee! but not farewell, To all my fondest thoughts of thee: Within my heart they still shall dwell; And they shall cheer and comfort me.”

Members of the Senate said a prayer for Mr. Biden and his family, and the House of Representatives held a moment of silence.

“Beau was a friend to almost everybody in this building. We all had interaction with him, but I would venture to say almost 99.9 percent of it was probably positive. He was a positive personality,” Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, said.

“We all have our own stories, we all have our own memories. I look around the building, and a chance encounter, a conversation that we had at the bottom of the steps or whatever, it all comes flooding back in.”

A foundation in honor of Mr. Biden also has been established. In a statement, Mr. Biden’s wife, Hallie, and the Delaware Community Foundation said they are launching an organization known as the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children.

The statement cited a quote from Mr. Biden, who during his eight years as attorney general put particular focus on prosecuting cases involving child sexual abuse.

“We have seen the progress that can be made when society commits to shining a bright light on a crime like domestic violence, and we are seeing the beginning of what can be accomplished if we continue shining that bright light on child abuse. As adults, we have a legal and moral obligation to stand up and speak out for children who are being abused — they cannot speak for themselves.”

To donate, individuals can go to www.beaubidenfoundation.org. Hallie Biden has requested that, instead of giving flowers, individuals donate to the foundation.

Delawareans throughout the state have shared their sympathies in the past days. After Vice President Biden’s four-plus decades in public service, he has become, to many, a very familiar figure.

“This week, we’re all part of Joe Biden’s family,” Rep. Schwartzkopf said.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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