PHOENIX – Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and NFL star Larry Fitzgerald welcomed the late Senator John McCain as an authentic American hero with a mix of tears and humor at a memorial service on Thursday.
Biden and Fitzgerald cited a group of half a dozen orators at the North Phoenix Baptist Church funeral, which was the second of five days of events celebrating McCain's life on Saturday at the age of 81 brain tumor died. The ceremony was attended by more than two dozen Arizona Republican current and former senators and former vice president Dan Quayle.
In what appears to be a concealment of President Trump, Biden said that some believed McCain was "an ancient, antiquated code where honor, courage, character, integrity and duty played a role."
"But the truth is, John's code was timeless ̵
Biden and McCain served in the Senate for over two decades. The two foreign policy giants have made themselves known in some of the most urgent questions of national security. But her close friendship overcame her political differences. Earlier this week, veteran McCain consultant Rick Davis said Biden was "generally treated as a family member, which the family naturally believes."
Biden just introduced himself when he entered the stage and talked for a half-hour. "My name is Joe Biden, I'm a Democrat, and I love John McCain," he said, laughing at the crowd.
He spoke emotionally of the "relentless" and "relentless" brain tumor of McCain's life as well as Biden's own son, Beau, and the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).
"It takes so much of those we love and the families that love them So to survive, we need to remember how they lived, not how they died," Biden said.
He told the crowd, "Find your picture of John and remember," whether it was the Senator's laughter or the look of joy that was his face when he was about to "go to the floor of the Senate." to start a fight. "
When he spoke of their shared outrage over the downfall of the Senate bipartisanship, Biden looked to the left and spoke directly to the current Senators present, who give an impromptu lecture on the state of today's Senate. "We both complained that this changed," he said.
Fitzgerald, who visited McCain's former prison cell and the place where he was shot down in Vietnam, described the senator as someone who "celebrated differences" over "the substance of my heart, more than where I come from. "
"I'm black, he was white, I'm young, he was not that young, he was living with physical limitations caused by the war, I'm a professional athlete, he ran to President, I have no limits anymore, he was the epitome of tenacity, and I'm doing everything to avoid contact, "said Fitzgerald.
"While we came from very different worlds, we developed a meaningful friendship."
On Friday, McCain's body will be in US Capitol Rotunda. A memorial service will be held on Saturday at the Washington National Cathedral, where former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush are among the expected speakers. McCain is buried on Sunday at a private funeral at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Among the speakers on Thursday was Grant Woods, McCain's former chief of staff, who retold one of the earliest anecdotes from the life of the senator. It was about a jailer in Vietnam who showed unexpected friendliness to McCain, loosening the painful ropes around his wrists and drawing a cross in the dirt for him as a Christmas present much later in his capture.
He also told other stories – about McCain, the bad driver, and McCain, the politician who could apologize if he messed it up.
Woods closed with an appeal to everyone in the room and probably also in the country.
The end, this Republican, democratic thing is not important, "he said." We are all Americans. John McCain believed in our constitution. He would not stand by and watch people try to trample him. "
" He kept the faith, "Woods concluded, putting a cross on the stage with his shoe.
Before the Thursday morning service, the queue stood for people with public-access tickets halfway around the Almost all were dressed in their best clothes – suits, ties, dresses.
James Conklin, 70, was no different, except for his "veteran" bullet and two medals from his Vietnam War Service on his black Suit jacket. "I know what he's been through," Conklin said of the Senator from Arizona.
Conklin was a consistent McCain voter-for Senator and President. He said he respected Biden and was glad to see that "I think we need to see more of this, but it will be great to see it today," he said.
Half a block behind him in de Tri Le and his wife Helene Nguyen were waiting with their own tickets. They came from Mesa, Ariz., For service and moved out of Vietnam a year ago. Le said they were seeking asylum because he was a Christian pastor in Vietnam and was arrested for practicing his faith.
Le was a child after the Vietnam War and knew only vague stories about the famous American, captured by Communists who "loved his friends and refused to be released" until they were.
"I'm not talking about the bad side of the war," Le said. "I love Americans, I love people who love Americans." And so he came to church.
Sonmez reported from Washington. Paul Kane contributed to this article.