President Joe Biden on Tuesday commemorated one of the saddest days of his life, the eighth anniversary of the death of his son Beau, by attending a memorial mass and visiting his grave.
Biden, his wife, Jill, and other family members prayed for Beau Biden during Mass at St. Joseph on the Brandywine, the church where the president prays on weekends at his home near Wilmington, Delaware.
The family later visited Beau Biden's grave in the church graveyard. The first lady carried a bouquet of flowers.
Beau Biden was 46 when he died of brain cancer in 2015. His father was vice president.
Beau Biden, the eldest of Biden's three sons, served two terms as Delaware's attorney general before declaring himself a candidate for governor. Many saw in him the same aspirations that brought his father to the White House. In fact, Joe Biden often says that his daughter is the one who should have been president, not him.
Beau Biden also served in the Delaware Army National Guard, including a deployment to Iraq, where the president says he was exposed to toxic gases from pits where the military burned waste. Biden has linked his son's cancer to his exposure to burning.
Beau Biden is the son of Joe Biden and his late first wife, Neilia, who was killed in a 1972 car accident that seriously injured Beau and his younger brother Hunter, and also killed his little sister.
Beau Biden's daughter, Natalie, graduated from high school on Sunday, and her grandparents were in the audience. She will attend her father's alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, in the fall.
While Beau Biden's ceremony on Tuesday was private, the president publicly mourned the loss of his son Monday during a Memorial Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington.
For Biden, the death of his son and the annual holiday honoring servicemen who died serving America are inextricably linked.