US President Joe Biden and his former President Barack Obama were amongst the Democrats who honoured late Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at his Las Vegas memorial service. Former senator from Nevada, Reid, died December 28 in Henderson, Nevada, at 82 of complications from pancreatic cancer. 

Biden served for two decades with Reid in the Senate and worked with him for eight years when he was the vice president.

In pics: Former US Senate majority leader Harry Reid through the years

“Let there be no doubt. Harry Reid will be considered one of the greatest Senate majority leaders in history,” the President said. 

He further added that one could ‘bank on Reid’. 

“The thing about Harry, He never gave up. He never gave up. He never gave up on anybody who cared about him. If Harry said he was going to do something, he did it.”

A running and humorous theme throughout the funeral was ‘Harry Reiding’ — Reid’s habit of abruptly ending telephone conversations without saying goodbye.

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“I have to tell you, every time I hear a dial tone, I think of Harry,” Biden told mourners.

Biden escorted Reid’s widow, Landra Reid, to her seat at the outset of services, before an honor guard bore a flag-draped casket to the well of a hushed auditorium.

Barack Obama remembered Harry Reid as a  man “who got things done.” 

The former President said that when Reid helped passed the Affordable Care Act, “he didn’t do it to burnish his own legacy,” recalling how as a boy Reid’s family was so poor that Reid himself pulled out one of his father’s teeth.

“He did it for the people back home and families like his, who needed somebody looking out for them, when nobody else did. Harry got things done,” Obama said.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer were also present at the memorial. They described Reid to mourners as a “truly honest and original character. 

Schumer in his remarks mentioned the January 6 Capitol insurrection in Washington and the bravery shown by Capitol Police officers, harkening back to Reid’s days as a Capitol police officer during his studies at George Washington University.

“In so many ways, Harry was a guardian and steward of the Senate, literally and figuratively,” Schumer said.

Reid’s son, Leif, recalled his father’s well-known habit of abruptly hanging up on telephone conversations without saying goodbye, sometimes leaving the other person — whether powerful politicians or close family — chatting away for several minutes before they realized he was no longer there.

Leif Reid said it was “part of the narrative” of his father’s life, and tried to explain that the gesture was more about Reid preserving time for family.

“When he hung up on you, maybe so quickly, it isn’t as much about him being brusque as it is about him being devoted to my mom,” Leif Reid said.

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“I probably got hung up on the most by Harry Reid, two or three times a day, for 12 years” – Pelosi told mourners.

“Sometimes I even called him back and said Harry, ’I was singing your praises,” Pelosi said. To which Reid replied: “I don’t want to hear it,” she said, before she’d hear the phone click dead.

Reid served for 34 years in Washington and led the Senate through a crippling recession and the Republican takeover of the House after the 2010 elections.

He muscled Obama’s signature health care act through the Senate; blocked plans for a national nuclear waste repository in the Nevada desert; authored a 1986 bill that created Great Basin National Park; and was credited with helping casino company MGM Mirage get financial backing to complete a multibillion-dollar project on the Strip during the Great Recession.