Former Vice President Joe Biden wipes a tear away while giving a tribute during memorial service at North Phoenix Baptist Church for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Aug. 30, 2018, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Former Vice President Joe Biden wipes a tear away while giving a tribute during memorial service at North Phoenix Baptist Church for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Aug. 30, 2018, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday described his old friend, the late Senator John McCain, as a man who lived by an ageless code of honor, courage and duty for his country.

"Character is destiny, John had character," Biden said at a funeral service for the 81-year-old McCain in Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, the southwestern state McCain represented in Congress for more than three decades.

In the latest tribute to the long-time lawmaker and war hero who died last weekend after a lengthy battle with brain cancer, Biden, a Democrat, said his friendship with McCain, a Republican, transcended political differences.

Former Vice President Joe Biden gives a tribute du
Former Vice President Joe Biden gives a tribute during memorial service at North Phoenix Baptist Church for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Aug. 30, 2018, in Phoenix, Ariz.

"John's code was ageless, is ageless," Biden said. "Where he parted company with you is if you lacked decency, respect. He couldn't stand the abuse of power."

Biden said, "John believed so passionately in the soul of America. His belief was that America can do anything."

"John was a hero, with character, courage and integrity," Biden said, "but his optimism is what made John a giant among all of us. John believed in us, John believed in the American people."

Biden served for years in the Senate alongside McCain before winning the vice presidency under former President Barack Obama, who defeated McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, in the 2008 election.

Jimmy McCain (L) and Jack McCain salute their fath
Jimmy McCain (L) and Jack McCain salute their father, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., after a memorial service at North Phoenix Baptist Church, Aug. 30, 2018, in Phoenix, Ariz.

Thursday was the second of five days of recollections and celebrations of McCain's life, his 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war at the hands of North Vietnamese captors during the Vietnam War in the 1960s, his long career in Congress and his two unsuccessful runs for the presidency, the 2008 contest and the 2000 race when he lost the Republican presidential nomination to the eventual winner, former President George W. Bush.

As he planned his funeral, McCain asked both Obama and Bush to give eulogies at Saturday's service at Washington's National Cathedral.

Cindy McCain walks with her son Jack as the honor
Cindy McCain walks with her son Jack as the honor guard carries the casket after a memorial service for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. at the North Phoenix Baptist Church on Aug. 30, 2018, in Phoenix, Ariz.

After the Phoenix service, McCain's body was flown to Washington, where he will lie in state Friday in the Capitol Rotunda after another ceremony remembering his life and government service.

McCain is set to be buried Sunday at his college alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

 

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