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Joe Biden honors late son Beau during emotional speech 1 day before inauguration

The president-elect teared up while speaking at the Major Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III National Guard/Reserve Center in Delaware.
/ Source: TODAY

As President-elect Joe Biden prepared to leave his home in Delaware on Tuesday and head to Washington, D.C., for his inauguration, he gave an emotional farewell speech to his home state and paid tribute to his late son, Beau Biden.

Biden spoke at the Major Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III National Guard/Reserve Center, which was named for his eldest son, who died of brain cancer in 2015 at the age of 46. Beau Biden was a two-term Delaware attorney general and served in Iraq with the Delaware Army National Guard.

“Excuse the emotion, but when I die, Delaware will be written on my heart. And the hearts of all. We love you all. You've been there for us in the good and the bad. You never walked away. And I am proud, proud, proud, proud to be a son of Delaware," Biden said.

"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: He's not here," Biden said tearfully. "Because we should be introducing him as president."

Of course, it wouldn't be a Biden speech without a little humor. The president-elect turned, wiped his eyes and appeared to walk away from the microphone, before he decided he had one more comment to add.

"Jill told me not to become emotional," he said as the incoming first lady greeted him. "I'm Jill's husband!"

Biden was incredibly close to his late son, who inspired his last book, "Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose."

Last year, Biden said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that his son should have been the one running for president.

"He was worried I would walk away" from public service, Biden said. "He is part of me, and so is my surviving son Hunter and (daughter) Ashley.”

Biden has found ways to keep Beau Biden's memory alive, from visiting Beau's grave on Election Day to playing one of Beau's favorite songs, "A Sky Full of Stars" by Coldplay, after he made his victory speech.