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Biden Bids Emotional Farewell To Delaware En Route To The Presidency

President-elect Joe Biden teared up twice Tuesday afternoon as he said goodbye to his adopted home state of Delaware and prepared to fly to Washington, D.C., to assume the presidency.

Paraphrasing, as he often does, Irish literature, Biden paused for several moments as he told a small, socially distanced crowd at a National Guard center named after his son Beau that "when I die, Delaware will be written on my heart."

Biden had hoped to travel to the capital by train, just as he did for decades as a U.S. senator, and like he and Barack Obama did before their 2009 inauguration. Security concerns nixed the train trip, though, so Biden is flying instead into Joint Base Andrews.

Still, Biden looked back on that 2009 trip, as he frequently did in speeches during his presidential campaign.

"Twelve years ago, I was waiting at the train station in Wilmington for a Black man to pick me up on our way to Washington, where we were sworn in as president and vice president of the United States of America," Biden said. "And here we are today, my family and I, about to return again to Washington, to meet a Black woman of South Asian descent, to be sworn in as president and vice president of the United States. ... That's America. That's Delaware."

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will join Biden later Tuesday for a ceremony on the National Mall honoring the 400,000 people who have died from COVID-19.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Detrow is a White House correspondent for NPR and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.