Mourners say goodbye to ‘a good man’

DOVER — By 3 p.m., the line of mourners at Legislative Hall was slowing, but it still stretched to the grassy mall.

Under gray skies, between intermittent showers, the hushed crowd waited to pay their respects to Beau Biden. State troopers watched from horseback on Legislative Mall.

“The Bidens are all about family, and family includes friends,” said Claire DeMatteis, who served as senior counsel to Joe Biden for many years.

“As longtime friends, we’re here to pay our respects and let the family know we’re always there for them.”

Following a private ceremony Thursday, hundreds of mourners streamed into Legislative Hall on Thursday.

“Mr. Biden was a well-respected public figure in the state, as is his family and he was a very caring individual,” said William Johnston, the outgoing president of Wesley College.

“And the right thing to do is to show respect. It illustrates respect, I think, for him, his family and the country.”

Visitors included noteworthy out-of-towners and Some of the people in line grew up with Mr. Biden, or met him once or twice. Some were in military uniforms and dark suits. Others wore jeans. Parker Schmidt, 10, standing by his dad, wore his scout uniform. Like everyone else, they were their “to show our respects for Beau Biden,” he said.

It’s about respect, said his father, Martin Schmidt. Earlier, he said, they worked to make sure all the flags were lowered to half-mast.

“We just think the Biden family is an outstanding family,” said Montye Brown.

Mr. Brown and Jill Brown were walking along the sidewalk to join the line.

“He was a good man,” Ms. Brown added.

Natalie Belcher, who teaches English at Delaware State University, said that one of her former students, Darius Brown, introduced her to Mr. Biden.

Mr. Brown was always interested in politics, Ms. Belcher said, and Mr. Biden was a mentor to him.

“He was quite impressed by him. He was determined to be a public serviceman,” she said.

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