As President Joe Biden was sworn into office Wednesday, a uniformed man was seen paying silent tribute at the grave of Biden’s son Beau.
Delaware News Journal reporter Patricia Talorico captured the poignant image, showing the man kneeling with head bowed by Beau Biden’s grave at St. Joseph on the Brandywine church in Greenville, Delaware.
Talorico, who writes primarily about food, said she was on an assignment to see how Delaware was commemorating the incoming administration when she spotted the man. At the same time, she had her car radio set to CNN and noted that Biden was about to begin his inaugural address.
“I couldn’t bring myself to interrupt this poignant, solemn moment,” she later wrote. “I took some photos from a distance, and pulled my car over to a nearby roadway. I listened to the end of Biden’s speech and drove back to see if the man was still there. He was. And he was still kneeling, still had his head bowed.”
Talorico posted the photo to Twitter, where it quickly went viral. As of Wednesday evening, it had received more than 127,000 likes and 23,000 retweets.
Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015 at age 46. Talorico became acquainted with the Wilmington native, who served as Delaware’s attorney general from 2007 until his death, in 2002 while working on a story about a local politician. She later attended his funeral.
Talorico said she did not ask for the uniformed man’s name while visiting the cemetery Wednesday. “This person who once received a kind gesture from Beau when I needed it most knew it was a time to be respectful,” she explained, “and I drove away.”
The president’s admiration for his late son was once again made apparent this week in a Tuesday farewell speech to his home state.
“I am proud, proud, proud, proud to be a son of Delaware,” Biden told the crowd. He then said that he was “even more proud” to be delivering his speech at Major Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III National Guard/Reserve Center, the Delaware National Guard headquarters that was named after his son in 2016.
Noting the importance of the speech’s location, he added, “I only have one regret: that he’s not here, because we should be introducing him as president.”