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Biden children enter inaugural ceremony to powerful musical tribute

The Marine Corps Band played a subtle but moving musical choice.
Image: Joe Biden Sworn In As 46th President Of The United States At U.S. Capitol Inauguration Ceremony
Hunter and Ashley Biden entered the Inauguration on January 20 to a special song. Win McNamee / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

One Biden family member was noticeably absent at the 59th Inaugural Ceremonies.

But Joseph Robinette "Beau" Biden III, the eldest son of U.S. President Joe Biden, who passed in 2015 at age 46 from brain cancer, was clearly there in spirit.

At 11 a.m. on Inauguration Day, Biden’s children Hunter and Ashley, followed by his grandchildren, entered the inaugural ceremonies as the Marine Corps Band played John Philip Sousa’s "Beau Ideal."

Written by Sousa in 1893, “beau ideal” was a phrase used in the early 1890s to describe a person or thing that represented the highest standard of excellence.

A day before the inauguration, President Biden honored Beau while speaking at the Major Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III National Guard/Reserve Center in Delaware.

“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 emotionally. "Because we should be introducing him as president."

Ashley Biden, 39, who is the only child of Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, spoke with another daughter of a president, TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager, the day before the inauguration about her late brother.

"He was such a man of integrity, but he also had a kind of fun, goofy side — a great sense of humor,” she shared. “I just miss just being with him, just in the same room saying nothing. He was 46 when he passed. Dad will be the 46th president."