Biden attends Beau’s army commander’s funeral, then makes an unscheduled stop at Harry Reid’s coffin
President Joe Biden attends his second large-scale funeral Wednesday in a week’s time, as he and First Lady Jill Biden pay their final respects to a senior army general who served as the commanding officer of their late son Beau Biden in Iraq.
General Raymond Odierno, who was also the army chief of staff under former President Barack Obama, died at the age of 67 on October 9 after a battle with cancer, his family told the time.
Odierno had praised the president’s late son at his funeral in 2015 and awarded him military honors.
Biden was scheduled to speak at the funeral, which is closed to the press. It took place at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall near Arlington, Virginia.
After Odierno’s funeral, the President made an unscheduled stop at the United States Capitol, where the late Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid was located.
The president’s visit lasted only a few minutes. He was observed momentarily resting his hand on Reid’s flag-covered casket, touching a commemorative wreath before leaving. He is expected on Capitol Hill Thursday for a meeting with Senate Democrats.
On Saturday, the president and the first lady were among many distinguished guests who said goodbye to Reid in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The late Army General Raymond Odierno is pictured delivering the eulogy for Beau Biden in 2015. Odierno died on October 9 after a battle with cancer, his family said.
As the Army Chief of Staff under Barack Obama, Odierno has known Biden for more than a decade. Upon news of his death, Biden released a statement stating that the United States had “lost a hero of great integrity and honor” (pictured together during Senator Biden’s visit to Iraq in 2007)
Biden was remembered as a skilled lawmaker and a fiercely loyal friend in his remarks at the funeral, which were also attended by Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and current Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. .
It is not known at this time what Biden said in his speech paying homage to Odierno, but in a statement he released upon news of the general’s death, Biden said the nation had “lost a hero. of great integrity and honor “.
He also revealed in the candid statement that Odierno delivered a eulogy at the funeral of Biden’s son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015 at the age of 46.
“We will be eternally grateful for the words and kindness Ray shared when he spoke at the funeral of our beloved son Beau and awarded him the Legion of Merit,” said Biden.
He later added: “Ray was Beau’s commander in Iraq, and he was there in our moment of deepest grief. We stand alongside the Odierno family and all of our brave servicemen who were shaped and shaped by General Odierno during his service life, and who are also in mourning today.
After the funeral, Biden stopped by the United States Capitol to pay tribute to the late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Reid lay in state on the United States Capitol on Wednesday, after a high-profile funeral in Las Vegas over the weekend
Biden was also present at the funeral, his seventh as president. There was also Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer among others
At Beau Biden’s funeral in June 2015, the veteran general posthumously awarded him the Legion of Merit for his service in the Delaware Army National Guard and said the late Delaware Attorney General “possessed the traits which I have witnessed among the greatest leaders “.
Biden has attended “at least seven” funerals for political figures as president, according to a Washington Post tally, which points out that this is a duty normally relegated to vice presidents.
Beau Biden (pictured in Iraq with his father in 2009) was posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit by Odierno during his funeral
Odierno’s would have been his eighth.
Over the weekend, the Post was forced to remove a message on Twitter questioning whether Biden had attended too many formal ceremonies.
“Biden, who is visiting Senator Harry M. Reid’s memorial on Saturday – his seventh as president – is using the funeral to honor his friendships and assert bipartisanship,” the now deleted tweet read.
“Not everyone thinks this is the best use of their time.”
The internet immediately took hold of the outlet, accusing it of insensitivity and criticism of the timing of its publication the same day Biden was about to say goodbye to a longtime friend to Reid.
The Post published a correction the next day, linking the article to its simple headline “Biden, a funeral, and a bygone America.”
“We deleted a tweet that inaccurately represented the significance of the story,” he noted.
The story also mentions Biden’s penchant for honoring his late loved ones in the context of his busy presidential schedule: “If a president’s most valuable resource is his time, he has made it a point of honor. to set aside hours to mourn, console and mark the friendships he built during his public tenure of about half a century.
“While attending the funeral is often caricatured as being the responsibility of the vice presidents, in this administration Biden made sure to go himself and perhaps would have attended even more if it had not been for the coronavirus pandemic,” we read.