Joe Biden Quotes Son Beau in Human Rights Awards Speech

PHOTO: Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the annual dinner of The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, after he was presented the Athenagoras Human Rights Award in New York, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015.PlayCraig Ruttle/AP Photo
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Vice President Joe Biden made no explicit mention of his contemplation of a 2016 presidential campaign tonight at the Athenagoras Human Rights Awards, but he did speak about one of the things believed to be the chief sticking point to a run: grief over the death of his son, Beau, who passed away in May after a fight with brain cancer.

The vice president, who was this year's recipient of the award, the highest bestowed by the Greek Orthodox Church, shared something he said his son often said.

"Put one foot in front of the other, as my son Beau used to say, just keep moving forward," Biden said. "It is my faith that has kept me moving forward."

Biden stuck to the theme of the night and delivered a message about religious freedom around the world and Greek heritage in the United States. He spoke passionately throughout the address and at one point pounded the podium, as he said, "Freedom of religion is something we possess simply because we exist."

His statements were met with rousing applause.

Biden’s keynote also included an anecdote about how he is known as "Joe Biden-opolous" in the Greek community.

"It's no exaggeration to say that the Greek community has helped shaped my political consciousness as well as America and the world," Biden said.

Biden concluded his speech with a story about his father.

"My dad said, 'Joey remember one simple thing. Every single person in the world is entitled to be treated with dignity,'" he said. "That's what makes me so proud to be associated with all of you at the Greek Orthodox Church. It's an extension of everything my father ever taught me."

The Athenargoras Human Rights Awards are hosted annually by the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a national Greek Orthodox Church organization. Biden joins the ranks of former presidents George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, well-known human rights activists Mother Theresa and Desmond Tutu, among many others who have received the award.