Last week I had a phone call that changed my week. I was contacted by a family who was holding a small ceremony to honor their father/grandfather for his service to both the country and the world, as his health is failing. He served faithfully in WWII and then came home to serve locally in his hometown in Delaware. Part of his Delaware connections and influences included Joe Biden. This connection with Biden had survived the decades, which is why it was touching to the family that Biden wanted to attend the pinning ceremony for their family member. I want to protect their privacy at a sensitive time but I wanted to share a few images of getting to meet and photograph Biden last week, especially considering him announcing his run for the presidency this morning.
Biden is very warm and personable, which explains his popularity through the decades. He joked with me about photographers being the only ones all over the world to “boss around” world leaders and they have to listen. He also teased that whenever photographers say “just a few more shots,” that we are never telling the truth. It made me laugh and brought levity to the moment when I felt a little under pressure.
He also shared something his mother used to say that stuck with me. She apparently used to say something to the effect of, “courage is the most important virtue because without courage, none of the rest of the virtues will matter.” I can imagine that advice served him well in life, when things got tough or odds seemed impossible. He has survived much loss in his lifetime and yet continues in public service. Although I wouldn’t necessarily politically align myself with a lot of his stances, I certainly was drawn to his person and character. It will give me a lot to ponder heading into the voting booth in November 2020.
I am thinking on all of this today, after visiting the U.S. Constitution center in Philadelphia yesterday. I have to say, it’s a powerful place. It reminded me yet again of the brilliance and beauty of our system of government. It reminded me of the continued fight for equality among U.S. citizens and a striving from those very early days of our nation to create a strong central government, while protecting personal freedoms. The opening lines of the constitution are so powerful and lay out the purpose of our federal government, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” May we all consider these words as we work toward that more perfect union and work together to bring about things such as justice and domestic tranquility.
*images cropped to protect privacy*