Posted: May 31, 2015
By Celia Cohen
The bulletin of unspeakable sorrow came from the vice president's office not long after twilight on the Saturday of Memorial Day, the real Memorial Day, on May 30.
Beau Biden was taken after a life he tried to lead for the public good.
"It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life," they said.
"Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known."
It is hard. From here on out, Beau will belong to Memorial Day, and Memorial Day to Beau.
The president and the first lady led the grieving and the embrace in this dark hour.
"The Bidens have more family than they know. In the Delaware they love. In the Senate Joe reveres. Across this country that he has served for more than 40 years. And they have a family right here in the White House, where hundreds of hearts ache tonight," Barack and Michelle Obama wrote in a statement of their own.
It is hard. How much must one family endure? All of the accomplishments -- Joe as senator and vice president, Beau as attorney general and National Guardsman -- were paid for in blood.
Unthinkable for the second time, Joe Biden will be burying a child, to lie along with the tiny daughter and the young wife who did not even live to see him sworn in as a senator.
It is hard. Delaware has lost its favorite son, who left this earth with a wish to be governor, to give back to the state that gave to him. It was so apparent, there was nothing to be done but spoof it, with everybody in on it, at the Gridiron political roast in 2013, three months before Beau got sick.
It was the Delaware version of Lancelot's entrance from the musical "Camelot":
Delaware! Delaware! From far Iraq I heard your call.
Delaware! Delaware! And here I am to give my all.
I know in my soul what you expect of me,
And all that and more I shall be. . . .
C'est moi! C'est moi! The voters have chose to keep the dynasty so,
And here I stand, as pure as a prayer,
Incredibly clean, with virtue to spare,
Successor to VP Joe! C'est moi!
Beau is gone at 46, and once again it brings to mind Lancelot with the lament for him from Thomas Malory in Le Morte d'Arthur.
Thou, Sir Lancelot, there thou liest. And thou were never matched by earthly knight's hand. And thou were the courteoust knight that ever bare shield. . . .
Thou, Beau Biden, there thou liest.
And you were the courtliest knight that ever bore a political shield. And you were the truest friend to a friend that mounted for battle. And you were the truest lover among a sinful humankind that ever loved a woman. And you were the kindest man that ever struck.
And you were the goodliest person that ever came among the press of knights. And you were the meekest man and the gentlest that ever ate in hall among ladies. And you were the sternest knight to the mortal foe who dared put spear in the rest.
Then there was weeping and dolor out of measure.