Joe Biden visited the graves of his first wife, Neilia, and his daughter Naomi on Friday, the 48th anniversary of their death. The two were killed in a devastating car crash, that also badly injured Biden's sons, Beau and Hunter.
The 78-year-oldvisited the graves at the Roman Catholic Church St. Joseph on the Brandywine in Wilmington, Delaware. He attended a Friday morning service, accompanied by his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, their daughter, Ashley Biden, and her husband, Howard Krein.
The December 18, 1972 crash was just weeks after Biden was first elected to the Senate. He was in Washington, D.C., setting up his new office, when he learned the news.
Neilia was driving home from Christmas tree shopping with the couple's three children — 13-month-old Naomi, 3-year-old Hunter and 4-year-old Beau — when their station wagon collided with a tractor-trailer at an intersection outside Wilmington.
Mr. Biden was just 30 years old at the time.
On January 5, 1973, Mr. Biden was sworn in as the U.S. senator from Delaware at Beau's bedside at a Wilmington hospital, where he was still recovering from the crash. Beau and Hunter both made full recoveries from their injuries — "By focusing on my sons, I found my redemption," Mr. Biden said during a 2015 speech.
Beau died in 2015, after a long battle with brain cancer at the age of 46. His death was a factor in Biden's decision not to run for president in 2016 — Biden toldthat it "took that long for us to decide," adding that "everybody grieves at a different pace."
The president-elect often spoke about his personal tragedies while on the campaign trail ahead of his win in November, relating to countless voters currently grieving the death of loved ones due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"When I talk to people in mourning, they know I speak from experience," he wrote in his 2017 book, "Promise Me, Dad." "They know I have a sense of the depth of their pain."