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A visibly emotional President-elect Joe Biden bid goodbye to his home state of Delaware for a final event before he is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, thanking the state and its residents for serving as the launchpad for his decades-long career in public service that is now capped with his ascension to the nation's highest office.
"I want to express how much you mean to me, to every one of us," Biden said during remarks at a send-off event at the Major Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III National Guard /Reserve Center, named for the president-elect's late son. "In our family, the values we share, the character we strive for, the way we view the world, it all comes from home. It all comes from Delaware."
Calling himself a "son of Delaware," Biden said the state "gave me a chance when I was just a kid," electing him to the United States Senate after he served in local government.
"When I die, Delaware will be written on my heart and the hearts of all of us, all the Bidens," he said, a nod to the words of the Irish poet James Joyce. "We love you all, you've been there for us in the good and the bad, you've never walked away, and I am proud, proud, proud, proud to be a son of Delaware."
Noting the site of his send-off, the center named for his late son, Biden said he has just "one regret," that Beau Biden, who died in 2015, could not be there.
"But we have great opportunities," Biden said. "Delaware has taught us anything is possible, anything is possible in this country."
The incoming president was introduced by Governor John Carney, who lauded Biden as he prepares to take the helm of the nation.
"At any time in our state's history, this would be a proud and momentous day, but sending one of our own to the nation's capital to be the next president of the United States and leader of the free world doesn't get any better than that," Carney said.
The president-elect and Dr. Jill Biden are flying to Washington on the eve of the inauguration, after which Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are slated to speak at the Lincoln Memorial's reflecting pool to honor those who have died due to COVID-19.
The swearing-in for the president-elect and vice president-elect, who will make history as the country's first woman and first Black vice president, will look different than those before it, as it is set against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and threats of violence from extremist groups, which has led to a lockdown of parts of Washington, D.C. More than 25,000 National Guard members have been authorized by the Pentagon to assist law enforcement in securing the event.
Biden will take his oath of office two weeks after a mob of President Donald Trump's supporters mounted an unprecedented assault on the Capitol in an attempt to halt the counting of electoral votes by Congress. The violent riots led to the deaths of a U.S. Capitol Police officer and four protesters.
The security threats related to the inauguration have put Washington on heightened alert. On Monday, the Capitol Complex was put on lockdown due to an "external security threat" after a fire broke out several blocks south. D.C. Fire and EMS said the fire involved a homeless tent beneath a freeway, and it was quickly extinguished.
Biden spent the weekend working on his inaugural address, which incoming White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said Sunday will "lay out a path forward that really calls on all of us to work together." A transition official told CBS News that the president-elect is expected to speak directly to Trump's supporters and stress that he is the president for all Americans, an oft-repeated line in Biden's speeches since he was elected president.
This story was originally published by CBS News on Jan. 19, 2021 at 9:04 a.m. PT.