Presidents, prominent politicians, family and friends gathered on Saturday in Harry Reed’s home state of Nevada to honor the former Senate Majority Leader and Democratic luminary.
Former President Barack Obama delivered a panegyric at the Smith Center in Las Vegas to honor Reed’s decades of public service. President Joe Biden spoke of Reed "unmistakably American" rise from the seedy town of Searchlight to the leadership of the US Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke of Reed’s dedication to his country and serving Congress.
"Few have done more for this state, this country, than this single-minded, brilliant, sometimes hot-tempered, very good man from Searchlight, Nevada." Obama said.
Reed is widely regarded as the most powerful and influential politician in Nevada, turning the Republican state into a Democratic stronghold that has been blue in all presidential elections since 2004.
"Without Harry, there would be no Affordable Care Act." Obama said, while acknowledging that the Reed family grew up without health insurance.
"When Harry poured everything he had into the ACA surrender, he didn’t do it to create a legacy of his own." he said. "He did this for the people at home and families like him who needed someone to look after them. Nobody else was."
The former president also remembered Reed as a fighter, both in his political career and as an amateur boxer.
"Adversity forged steel in Harry" Obama said. "He inherited a fighting spirit that explained his success in the boxing ring despite being significantly shorter."
The leaders of the two parties agreed "damn good team," Obama said. "I could not have asked for a better, more loyal friend," he added.
Biden spoke of Reed’s loyalty, dedication, and dedication as a public service, as he served with Reed during his time in the Senate and worked with him as vice president.
Biden said these two were "true friends" despite their differences in origin and religion.
"Harry will always cover your back … Harry had mine and he knew I had him," Biden said.
Biden said that Reed "presiding over the Democratic convention not only by speaking, but also by listening," and advertised his sense of duty, not his desire to be the center of attention.
"He was proof that nothing is ordinary in America," Biden said. "He’s proof that ordinary Americans can be anything if given a chance."
"Let there be no doubt" Biden added. "Harry Reid will be considered one of the greatest Senate Majority Leaders in United States history."
Sumer named Reed as his friend and mentor in the Senate, stating that the former majority leader "one of a kind," and spoke of his generosity and friendship.
"He was tough as a nail, a fighter to the core, but also one of the most compassionate people imaginable."
In her speech, Pelosi said that Reed was "the majestic titan of the civil service" and praised him for his loyalty to his constituents.
"He did his best to make the voices of Nevada heard," she said.
Pelosi said Reed would be remembered for his kindness to colleagues, staff and everyone he met at the Capitol.
"For his great legislative achievements, his most enduring public legacy will be to be loved. a word that is not often used to describe political candidates … because he treated everyone with dignity and respect," Pelosi said.
Also in attendance were Republican Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri and Richard Shelby of Alabama. Vice President Kamala Harris was also there.
Reed’s roots go back to the small town of Searchlight in southern Nevada. He eventually left the state to attend the University of Southern Utah, University of Utah, and then went to George Washington University to study law. He served as a Capitol police officer while attending law school before returning to Nevada to join the state congregation.
Reid was elected to the House of Representatives in 1982 and won a Senate seat in 1986. He served 30 years, becoming the longest-serving senator from Nevada by the time of his retirement in 2017. Reed is survived by his wife, who is already 62 years old. , Landra, their five children and many grandchildren.
Lana Reid Barringer, the eldest daughter of Harry and Landra, spoke about her father’s generosity and dedication not only to the country, but also to her family.
"He was always close to our family and found time for everything that was important to us," she said.
Many of the speakers remembered Reed’s habit of making phone calls abruptly. Reed’s son, Leif, said it was true, but the leader always answered calls from his family members.
"No matter how busy he was in the Senate talking to the head of state, whatever it was, my father always answered our calls," he said. "And he never made us feel like he was busy, that he didn’t have time to give us time to help us."
President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints M. Russell Ballard also spoke at the service.
Ballard said that Reed embodied the Bible verse Matthew 25:40 – "Truly I tell you, everything that you did for one of these smaller brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
"Harry cared for the smallest of them – the less fortunate, the hungry, the sick, and those with a lot of problems." Ballard said.
Speech by Brandon Flowers of The Killers from Las Vegas "Stay calm" and "Home Remedies Nevada." The Assassins played at many of Raid’s campaign activities, and Reid’s son, Leif, said the Assassins were "the last musical request he ever made."
Singer-songwriter Carol King also performed her song. "In the name of love."
Reed died on December 28 at the age of 82 after battling pancreatic cancer.
Following the funeral, Reed’s body will be transported to Washington, DC, where he will lie in the US Capitol Rotunda on January 12. "a proper tribute to the historic, patriotic American."