Vice President Biden, Congress honor memory of Mark Takai

AP Photo
AP Photo

WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaking of his own experience after his son Beau’s death, Vice President Joe Biden consoled the family of the late Rep. Mark Takai on Wednesday, telling them to “hang on to each other” to make it through the rough days.

Biden joined members of Congress and Takai’s family at a memorial service in the U.S. Capitol to honor the Democratic lawmaker, who was serving his first term representing Hawaii in the House when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Takai died in July at age 49.

The vice president recalled meeting Takai earlier this year. He said that despite Takai’s own grim diagnosis, the lawmaker offered Biden condolences about his son Beau, who died in May 2015 at age 46 after battling brain cancer.

The family of late U.S. Rep Mark Takai, wife Sami, left, daughter Kaila, center, and son Matthew attend a ceremony at the state Capitol in Honolulu, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. Friends and family gathered to remember the Hawaii Democrat as a warm public servant who never gave up when facing adversity. Takai was serving his first term in the U.S. House when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The war veteran and long-time legislator died in July. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)
The family of late U.S. Rep Mark Takai, wife Sami, left, daughter Kaila, center, and son Matthew attend a ceremony at the state Capitol in Honolulu, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. Friends and family gathered to remember the Hawaii Democrat as a warm public servant who never gave up when facing adversity. Takai was serving his first term in the U.S. House when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The war veteran and long-time legislator died in July. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

Biden called the congressman courageous and told his wife and two children to keep his memory close.

“The only thing I have observed is, deep in your broken heart the only way to get through it is to hang on to each other, hold each other,” said Biden, whose words elicited an emotional response from many in attendance.

He told Takai’s children that their dad will be with them for the rest of their lives.

“I promise you the day will come when Mark’s memory brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye,” Biden said. “I promise you.”

At the service in Statuary Hall, ukulele players strummed “Aloha Oe,” a Hawaiian song performed to bid farewell. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California and members of the Hawaiian congressional delegation also spoke.

Mark Takai, right, U.S. Representative elect for Hawaii's 1st Congressional District, addresses and thanks his supporters as his children Kaila, bottom left, Matthew, top left, and his wife Sami, center look on during the Democratic Coordinated Election Night Celebration at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
Mark Takai, right, U.S. Representative elect for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District, addresses and thanks his supporters as his children Kaila, bottom left, Matthew, top left, and his wife Sami, center look on during the Democratic Coordinated Election Night Celebration at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

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