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As Biden gave his inaugural speech, an unknown uniformed man stood watch over his son Beau's grave

The poignant moment from Inauguration Day struck a chord with many on Twitter after it was photographed by a reporter who stopped by the graveyard at that moment to pay her own respects.

As Biden gave his inaugural speech, an unknown uniformed man stood watch over his son Beau's grave
Cover Image Source: Cover Image Source: President Joe Biden hugs his son Beau Biden, during day three of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) at the Pepsi Center August 27, 2008, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The world breathed a collective sigh of relief on Wednesday as we watched President Joe Biden deliver his inaugural address at the Capitol. Taking office as the 46th president of the United States at the end of four years that aggravated the nation's divisions, Biden affirmed his belief in a unified country and offered a harmonious, hopeful vision for confronting the "foes we face." As he called for unity and urged Americans to appeal to their better natures, a lone figure in uniform carried out a silent vigil more than 110 miles away, before the grave of Biden's late son, Beau.


This poignant moment from the Inauguration Day — which would've gone unnoticed if not for a reporter from the Delaware News Journal who stopped by the graveyard at that moment to pay her own respects — struck a chord with thousands on Twitter. A photograph of the unknown figure in a blue uniform kneeling on the chilly ground as winds whipped through the cemetery at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Catholic Church in Greenville, Delaware, was posted online by reporter Patricia Talorico, who said she was on an assignment to see how Delaware was commemorating the incoming administration when she spotted the man.


"I saw a lone person in a blue uniform kneeling at Beau's grave. No one else was around on this cold, windy afternoon except for a few people doing outside work at the cemetery. In my car, I had the radio tuned to CNN. Joe Biden was being sworn in as president and was about to begin his address," Talorico recounted the moment for USA Today. "The person in the uniform bowed their head and clasped their hands. The image brought tears to my eyes. I couldn't bring myself to interrupt this poignant, solemn moment. I took some photos from a distance and pulled my car over to a nearby roadway."


"I listened to the end of Biden's speech and drove back to see if the person was still there. The person was. And the person was still kneeling, still had their head bowed," she revealed. "The journalist in me wanted to go back and find out the person's identity and ask why they were there. The person who once received a kind gesture from Beau when I needed it most knew it was a time to be respectful, and I drove away. Some things in life you just let be."


After Talorico posted a photograph of the scene on Twitter, reactions flooded in from hundreds of thousands of people; some of whom suggested the individual might've been a police officer who had been sent to protect the grave from being vandalized. Meanwhile, others theorized that it could have been an Army veteran who had served alongside Beau and wanted to be by his side as President Biden was sworn-in to office. However, the overwhelming response was captured in a tweet by Twitter user Janet Smelt, who wrote: "I do not care what the reason was for him being there. Just thankful that Beau was not alone during this historic day."


The president’s admiration for his late son — who died of brain cancer in 2015 at age 46 — was once again made apparent the day before his inauguration when he bid an emotional farewell to his home state. "I am proud, proud, proud, proud to be a son of Delaware," Biden told the crowd, "and I am even more proud to be standing here, doing this from the Major Beau Biden facility. Ladies and gentlemen, I only have one regret. That he's not here, because we should be introducing him as president."


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