Thousands of Delawareans didn’t let a steady January rain deter them from greeting Joe and Jill Biden on Friday afternoon on their return from Washington, DC, first at the Biden Wilmington Train Station, followed by a public rally at the Chase Center on the Riverfront.
A lineup of leading First State politicians lauded the now-former vice president and his wife, including new Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, who attended the University of Delaware with Biden and spoke for many when he said “You’re the son of a place that loves you. Welcome home Joe.”
Other well wishers included US Senators Chris Coons and Tom Carper, Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, Governor John Carney and the vice president’s sister Valerie Biden Owens, who spoke to the Bidens’ deep connection to the First State. “You are first and foremost Delaware’s Joe and Jill Biden,” said Owens.
Coons reflected on his friendship with Biden and the good counsel Biden offered on some of their train trips back and forth from Washington. “As we mark today’s transition, I am more grateful than ever for Joe Biden. I am more grateful than ever for a man who has conducted himself with integrity, dignity, humility and open heart for all of our people.”
Biden himself reveled in the homecoming. “You’ve always been with me. You’ve been with me in victory. You’ve been with me in defeat. The way you embraced Jill when we got married. The way you embraced my daughter Ashley. The way you embraced my son Beau and his family. It really is an amazing thing.”
“When you elected me in 1972, you gave me a chance. It’s this notion that if you work at it, you’re going to get a fair deal.”
Biden continued, “As long as I have been in office, I have never been more optimistic than I am now.”
As Biden left the stage, the practicing Catholic grinned – looking into the crowd and likely seeing some familiar faces – and exclaimed: “See you at church!”