Hear how Joe Biden honored son Beau weeks before his death

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Joe Biden Honors Beau In Commencement Speech Weeks Before His Death

Just two weeks before Beau Biden died from brain cancer, Vice President Joe Biden talked about his son during a commencement speech at Yale University.

The speech was like many others given during graduation ceremonies — full of advice, personal stories and even a few quips.

But Biden also quietly honored his son without ever bringing up his illness.

He first mentioned his family while recalling a car crash decades earlier that took his wife and one-year-old daughter. Beau and his brother Hunter were critically injured.


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Hear how Joe Biden honored son Beau weeks before his death
FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2008, file photo, then-Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., left, embraces his son Beau on stage at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. A spokesman for the Delaware Department of Justice says Beau Biden, that state's attorney general, has been hospitalized after becoming weak and disoriented after a drive for a family vacation. Agency spokesman Jason Miller said late Monday that Biden, the vice president's son, is currently undergoing testing in Houston to investigate the cause of his symptoms. Vice President Biden accompanied his son to Houston. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
Capt. Beau Biden kisses his son Hunter, 3, after an official welcome home ceremony for members of the Delaware Army National Guard 261st Signal Brigade, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009, in Dover, Del. Biden, the son of Vice president Joe Biden, is also the Attorney General of Delaware. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
Democrat Beau Biden, who was elected state attorney general, is joined by his parents, Jill Biden and Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., during his victory celebration in Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006. (AP Photo/Pat Crowe II)
Beau Biden, Attorney General of Delaware and son of Vice President Joe Biden points towards the delegates before his nominates his father during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. Los Angeles Mayor and Democratic Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa claps in the background. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Beau Biden, Attorney General of Delaware and son of Vice President Joe Biden nominates his father for the Office of Vice Presdient of the United States during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Attorney General of Delaware and Son of Vice President Joe Biden Beau Biden waves at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 6, 2012 on the final day of the Democratic National Convention (DNC). US President Barack Obama is expected to accept the nomination from the DNC to run for a second term as president. AFP PHOTO Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/GettyImages)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 06: Attorney General of Delaware Beau Biden gestures on stage during the final day of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC, which concludes today, nominated U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 28: Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden speaks during the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition conference on Spetember 28, 2010 in Washington, DC. The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) is a broad-based influential network of 400 businesses and NGOs and national security and foreign policy experts who support a smart approach of elevating diplomacy and development alongside defense in order to build a safer world. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, left, next to Biden's wife Hallie Biden, far left, and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell as he arrives at New Castle Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Del., Thursday, July 17, 2014, en route to Wilmington where he is expected to visit the site of the damaged I-495 bridge in Wilmington to speak about transportation and infrastructure. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Beau Biden talks with President Barack Obama on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, after his father, Vice President Joe Biden, rear, took his ceremonial oath during the 57th Presidential Inauguration. (AP Photo/Win McNamee, Pool)
Los Angeles Mayor and Democratic Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa, right, listens as Beau Biden, Attorney General of Delaware and son of Vice President Joe Biden, speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Vice President Joe Biden's son Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden passes water to people in the crowd as his father shakes hands at the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO Labor Day Rally, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Vice President Joe Biden arrives with his son Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden and his grandson Hunter Biden, 6, at the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO Labor Day Rally, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Vice President Joe Biden and his son Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden places and order at Kroll's West Restaurant, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden attends the AOL Huffington Post Game Changers Awards at Skylight Soho on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
Vice President Joe Biden arrives with his son Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden and his grandson Hunter Biden, 6, at the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO Labor Day Rally, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden responds to a question during an interview with the Associated Press in Dover, Del., Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010. When asked about his long-range plans, specifically about whether he is eyeing the U.S. Senate seat long held by his father, the eldest son of vice president Joe Biden remains coy. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
Delaware Democratic Congressional candidate John Carney, left, and Attorney General candidate Beau Biden, center, talk with Steve High, right, before the start of a news conference, Friday Oct. 29, 2010, in Newark, Del. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, right, talks with Col. Robert Coupe at a Delaware State Police Promotion Ceremony in Dover, Del., Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010. When asked about his long-range plans, specifically about whether he is eyeing the U.S. Senate seat long held by his father, the eldest son of vice president Joe Biden remains coy. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
FILE - In a Dec. 23, 2009 photo, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden holds a press conference at the Department of Justice in Georgetown, Del. Biden, 41, left Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia Tuesday, May 17, 2010, week after what doctors said was a mild stroke. He was accompanied by his father-in-law and carrying his 4-year-old son, Hunter. (AP Photo/Chuck Snyder, File)
President Barack Obama, center and Beau Biden, Attorney of Deleware, right, watch as his father Joe Biden is sworn in at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Vice President Joe Biden arrives with his son Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden and his grandson Hunter Biden, 6, at the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO Labor Day Rally, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Los Angeles Mayor and Democratic Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa, right, greets Beau Biden, Attorney General of Delaware and son of Vice President Joe Biden during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012.(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden responds to a question during an interview with the Associated Press in Dover, Del., Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010. When asked about his long-range plans, specifically about whether he is eyeing the U.S. Senate seat long held by his father, the eldest son of vice president Joe Biden remains coy. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
** ADVANCE FOR OCT. 7-8 ** Democratic candidate for Attorney General Beau Biden at his office in Wilmington, Del., on Sept. 29, 2006 (AP Photo/Pat Crowe II)
FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2008 file photo, then-Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., front, is seen with his son Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. In a statement Tuesday, May 11, 2010, the White House says Vice President Joe Biden's son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, is being treated at a Delaware hospital. The White House says Biden is awake and alert and communicating with his parents and wife, who are with him, but provided no information on Biden's symptoms or possible illness. He is hospitalized at Christiana Hospital in Newark. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
Delaware Rep. Mike Castle, left, applauds as Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, right, is introduced during Return Day, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010, in Georgetown, Del. Political candidates from across Delaware are gathering to make amends after this year's campaigns and symbolically bury the hatchet. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden responds to a question during an interview with the Associated Press in Dover, Del., Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010. When asked about his long-range plans, specifically about whether he is eyeing the U.S. Senate seat long held by his father, the eldest son of vice president Joe Biden remains coy. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
WILMINGTON, DE - OCTOBER 29: U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) (L) and Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden talk after campaigning for Delaware Democratic Senate nominee Chris Coons outside the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 475 October 29, 2010 in Newark, Delaware. Coons is polling in double digits ahead of his opponent Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell going into the last four days of campaigning before Tuesday's midterm elections. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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"I can remember my mother looking at me after we left the hospital and saying, 'Joey, out of everything terrible that happens to you, something good will come if you look hard enough for it.'"

The vice president said that the good he found was realizing that he needed to focus on his sons, who he called his 'redemption.' He was sworn into Congress at the hospital in Delaware and commuted to Washington daily until they were released.

"The incredible bond I have with my children is a gift I'm not sure I would have had, had I not been through what I went through."

He used Hunter as an example of the advantages that come with being a Yale graduate — and Beau as an example of what hard work can achieve.

"My Yale Law School grad son graduated very well from Yale Law School. My other son out of loyalty to his deceased mother decided to go to Syracuse Law School from Penn...The one who graduated from Yale had doors open to him, the lowest salary offered back in the early '90s was $50,000 more than a federal judge made. My other son, it was a struggle — equally as bright, went on to be elected one of the youngest attorney generals in the history of the state of Delaware, the most popular public official in my state. Big headline after the 2012 election, "Biden Most Popular Man in Delaware — Beau."


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