On Sunday, President Joe Biden visited the graves of his first wife and their baby daughter in a private memorial service. The day marks the 50th anniversary of the car crash that took their lives. 

The president and First Lady Jill Biden, along with other members of the Biden family, attended a mass at Saint Joseph on the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware. 

After the service, the pair brought flowers to the gravesite of Neilia, the president’s late wife, and 13-month-old Naomi. 


Neilia and Naomi died in a wreck when a tractor-trailer struck their car. Their passing occurred a month after Biden was elected to the Senate in 1972. 

Biden’s sons, Beau and Hunter, suffered injuries but survived. President Biden was not in the car at the time of the crash. 

The tragedy nearly pushed Biden to give up his political career. However, after seeking advice from other senators, he stayed in office and commuted back and forth from Washington D.C. to Delaware. 

Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015 at the age of 46. He is also buried at the cemetery. 

Throughout his political career, President Biden has openly discussed his experience with grief.

The president and first lady have honored the deaths of his first wife, daughter, and son Beau every year by visiting the gravesite. Their visit in 2020 came shortly after Biden was inaugurated as president. 

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