Watch Joe Biden discuss tragedy, optimism in passionate tribute to John McCain

Joe Biden speaking at John McCain's memorial service.
(Image credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

When former Vice President Joe Biden stepped up to honor the late Sen. John McCain on Thursday, he was quick to address the obvious: He's a Democrat, and McCain was a Republican. Yet McCain, who died at 81 on Saturday, had no problem staying friends with Biden even when they were running opposing races for the White House.

Biden was among the politicians, athletes, and longtime friends who eulogized McCain at an Arizona memorial service Thursday. Their decades-long friendship launched when McCain served as the Senate's Navy liaison, and they'd discuss everything but the deaths of Biden's first wife and McCain's captivity in Vietnam, Biden said.

Biden did mention one tragedy: the loss of his son Beau to the same brain cancer McCain had been diagnosed with. He used his experience to comfort McCain's family, saying that while they may often feel as broken as "that day [they] got the news" of McCain's death, they will eventually "make it."

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McCain and Biden's brotherhood persisted as they'd sit next to each other in the Senate — a bipartisan attitude Biden passionately wished would return. McCain's death hit America so hard because he seemed to be "a man from another age," Biden said. But if Americans follow McCain's "optimistic" example, they can "restore ... regular order" to the Senate and the country.

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McCain will have a weekend service in Washington and be buried Sunday in Maryland. Watch all of Biden's eulogy here.

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Kathryn Krawczyk

Kathryn is a graduate of Syracuse University, with degrees in magazine journalism and information technology, along with hours to earn another degree after working at SU's independent paper The Daily Orange. She's currently recovering from a horse addiction while living in New York City, and likes to share her extremely dry sense of humor on Twitter.