For those who did not know or perhaps may have forgotten, Vice President Joe Biden's first wife and then-1-year-old daughter died in a horrific car accident while Christmas shopping on December 18, 1972. Mr. Biden's two sons, Beau and Hunter, were both critically injured in the crash but survived and eventually made full recoveries. It was only weeks after Biden was first elected to the United States Senate. He considered resigning but was persuaded to stay on and was sworn into office at his sons' besides.
I offer this story today for two reasons.
First, as David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo says:
That he served his entire 36-year Senate career after that searing experience in December 1972, shortly after winning election, and then went on to become vice president, adds some drama to the story, I suppose. But for me the emotional highlight is just him getting out of bed the next day, and the day after that, and the one after that.
Second, the fact that Joe Biden has lived with such devastation makes him in some ways uniquely qualified to talk to the friends and families of the victims of the September 11 attacks, and his speech today at the Pennsylvania memorial to those who died on Flight 93 is filled with the empathy and understanding of experience.
He knows of loss.
"My hope for you all is that as every year passes, the depth of your pain recedes and you find comfort, as I have, genuine comfort in recalling his smile, her laugh, their touch. And I hope you’re as certain as I am that she can see what a wonderful man her son has turned out to be, grown up to be; that he knows everything that your daughter has achieved, and that he can hear, and she can hear how her mom still talks about her, the day he scored the winning touchdown, how bright and beautiful she was on that graduation day, and know that he knows what a beautiful child the daughter he never got to see has turned out to be, and how much she reminds you of him. For I know you see your wife every time you see her smile on your child’s face. You remember your daughter every time you hear laughter coming from her brother’s lips. And you remember your husband every time your son just touches your hand." --Joe Biden, 09/11/12