John McCain memorial service: The most heartbreaking moments from Joe Biden's eulogy
The 81-year-old Arizona Senator died on Saturday after battling an aggressive form of brain cancer he was diagnosed with nearly a year ago.
Former Vice-President Joe Biden gave an emotional eulogy at Senator John McCain's memorial service at the North Phoenix Baptist Church in Arizona on Thursday, and honored his memory by relaying heartbreaking details of their decades-long friendship. “To paraphrase Shakespeare, we shall not see his like again,” Biden said at the ceremony.
The 81-year-old Arizona Senator died on Saturday after battling an aggressive form of brain cancer he was diagnosed with nearly a year ago. The announcement that he was ceasing medical treatment for his cancer was made by his family on Friday last week.
Biden shared some of his fondest memories of them together and their friendship, which began in the early days of their time in Washington. The former vice-president's words during the ceremony were a powerful reflection of the war hero's life and his legacy.
Here are some of the most touching moments of Biden's eulogy as he wiped his tears while sharing them.
Their personal tragedies and shared pain
McCain and Biden experienced hardships and immense loss early in their lives, which the Arizona Senator endured torture when he was held captive as a prisoner of war in Vietnam during his service in the Navy, Biden lost his first wife and young daughter in a car crash, just a month after winning his first Senate race in Delaware.
Biden said that McCain and he formed a bond while talking about everything under the sun, except for their personal tragedies.
"And we would sit on that plane, late into the night while everyone else was asleep, and just talk, getting to know one another,” Biden said. “We’d talk about family. We’d talk about politics. We’d talk about international relations. We’d talk about promise. We talked about everything but captivity and the loss of my family, which had just occurred, my wife and daughter. The only two things we didn’t talk about."
The intensity of their bond
The former vice-president said that McCain and him "just hit it off" when they first met and recounted the early years in his career he spent getting to know the kind of person the late senator was. He also shared stories about the bond McCain shared with Biden's sons and second wife, Jill Biden.
“As a young man, he’d come up to my house, he’d come to Wilmington, and out of this grew a great friendship that transcended whatever political differences we had or later developed. Because above all, we understood the same thing. That all politics is personal. It’s all about trust. And I trusted John with my life,” Biden said.
About the cancer that took his loved ones
Biden's son, Beau Biden, died in 2015 from the same rare brain cancer which McCain was diagnosed with last year. He shared the pain of losing his loved ones to cancer.
“We both knew then from our different experiences ... that there are times when life can be so cruel — pain so blinding, it’s hard to see anything else. The disease that took John’s life, took our mutual friend Teddy [Kennedy]’s life nine years ago, and three years ago, it took my beautiful son Beau’s life. It’s brutal, it’s relentless, it’s unforgiving. And it takes so much from those we love and the families who love them that in order to survive, we have to remember how they lived, not how they died,” Biden continued.
The 'All Consuming' loss of McCain's death
Biden, while addressing, the late senator's family talked about McCain's absence as "all-consuming" and said that there's nothing he can say which will ease their pain.
“It’s like being sucked into a black hole inside your chest, and it’s frightening,” Biden said. “And I know something else, unfortunately, from experience: that there’s nothing anyone can say or do to ease the pain right now. But I pray you take some comfort knowing that because you shared John with all of us your whole life, the world now shares with you the ache of John’s death.”
America mourns the loss together
Biden said that the senator's death was felt by all Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike and that McCain's love of his country gave its citizens "confidence."
“John believed so deeply and passionately in the soul of America. His faith in the core values of this nation made them somehow feel it more genuinely themselves,” Biden said.
“His conviction that we as a country would never walk away from the sacrifices generations of Americans have made to defend liberty and dignity around the world it made Americans proud of themselves. His belief — and it was deep — that Americans can do anything, withstand anything, achieve anything was both unflagging and ultimately reassuring.”