By CBS3 Staff

WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) — Thursday was the big night for Joe Biden. He formally accepted the Democratic nomination for president at the Chase Center in Wilmington, which has become the de facto headquarters of the DNC since its all been virtual.

It’s the grand finale of a convention that was forced to adapt. Regardless of format, the result was four years in the making for the Democratic Party, and a lifetime in the works for the former vice president.

“This is a life-changing election. This will determine what America is gonna look like for a long, long time. Character is on the ballot, compassion is on the ballot, decency, science, democracy — they’re all on the ballot,” Biden said. “Who we are as a nation, what we stand for and most importantly, who we want to be, that’s all on the ballot, and the choice could not be more clear.”

Thursday was the first night were anything at all was happening outside of the center. The convention and its speakers were broadcasted live to several dozen guests sitting socially distant in the cars and beeping when they heard something they liked.

From inside the center on the waterfront in Biden’s beloved city of Wilmington, the former Delaware senator was introduced by his children.

Biden’s late son, Beau, was also able to contribute through a past recording.

“My father, my hero, Joe Biden,” Beau said.

Following a video tribute, Biden, on his third run at the presidency, took to the stage to accept his party’s nomination.

“This is our moment to make hope and history rhyme with passion and purpose. Let us begin, you and I together, one nation, under God, united in our love for America, united in our love for each other for love is more powerful than hate, hope is more powerful than fear and light is more powerful than dark,” Biden said. “This is our moment, this is our mission. May history be able to say that the end of this chapter of American darkness began here tonight.”

So many people who saw the former vice president move up in his political career were looking forward to tonight.

Biden also spoke with enthusiasm about his vice presidential pick, Sen. Kamala Harris.

He also criticized President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. He began his speech with a promise, saying he would guide the country out of “a season of darkness.”

Wilmington Mayor Michael Purzycki lived in the same dorm building as Biden at the University of Delaware.

“Why I’m so proud of him is that he believes so much in this that at his age, he’s willing to put it on the line,” Purzycki said.

Biden began his career in national politics at the Hotel duPont in Wilmington. He announced his first run for U.S. Senate there in 1972. It was just before he turned 30 years old, and he won.

Biden later looked to the White House, running for president in 1988 and 2008 but eventually withdrew from those races.

“I don’t think that looking back is going to help this campaign,” said Nancy Karibjanian, director of the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication.

Karibjanian was looking forward to Biden’s acceptance speech of the Democratic presidential nomination.

“I think this is a really interesting time to see a candidate accept the nomination with nobody there. It’s going to be unusual and odd and yet, also historic,” she said.

CBS3’s Matt Petrillo and Alexandria Hoff contributed to this report.