tv Senator Harry Reids Children Deliver Remarks at Funeral CSPAN January 9, 2022 12:05am-12:51am EST
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>> hello. when my family was planning today's memorial, my request was to have a woman on the program. i think it backfired. i didn't mean for that to be me. [laughter] but i am glad to talk about my father and show you how much we love our dad. this week, when i was thinking about what i might say, my cousin sent me a eulogy my dad gave for his mom, my grandma lolo, at her funeral. he said, "it was not one thing that reminded me of my mother, but many little things. in remembering my father here today, i will follow his lead by
remembering him in many little ways. there are so many little things i would like you to know about him. 41, he was really entertaining to be around because of his sense of humor. he made us laugh all the time. no matter where we are or what we were doing, he made life more fun and joyful. during church when we got restless, he would jot down a little poem, usually a roses or read type poem, but it wasn't the type of ending you would expect. it was really off the wall and made us enjoy church just that much more. as kids, there were endless games of hide and seek with him
and he never tired of plopping us on the bed when he got home from work. he would take us to baskin-robbins for frozen custard almost every night in the summer. he allowed us to get whatever we wanted. he was the same way when he took us out to eat, partly because he liked our leftovers. [laughter] he always let us pick, and that gave us autonomy to feel like our choices were good choices. he was also generous, that was the part of him allowing us to pick what we wanted. when i was a kid, my dad used to run marathons. a lot of times, he would go on a training run and tell us to come and find him. we would get in the car with my mom and look for him and follow
him until he was ready to stop. or sometimes, we would let him out of the car at a railroad pass that he would run to searchlights. -- searchlight. once when i was a kid, i got to follow him on my bike all the way down the las vegas strip. when my mom found out where we had been, the last -- that was the last time i was able to follow him down the las vegas strip. [laughter] my dad was a great friend and he had an eclectic group you stayed close to his whole life. there were many times i got to hear him call many of you that are sitting in this room, probably most of you sitting in this room. he enjoyed it when we brought our friends home. as we grew up, our house was a gathering place. we loved to be at home with our parents, and they welcomed our
friends. my dad loved this and spent a lot of time getting to know our friends, and they became his friends. when steve and i had our own kids, we tried to follow the examples my parents set. my parents spent a lot of time at our house and got to know our children as friends, and we had many sunday dinners with grammy and poppy at our house, something we missed since they have moved to las vegas. our children have so many stories about things there poppy said to their friends, some shocking, but all good-natured. 20 years ago, my parents downsized. there was about a six-month gap between the sale of their house and whinnied -- and when they were ready to move into their condo. so, they moved into our basement during that time. the bulk of the basement was the kids' playroom, with a guestroom
off to the side. we loved having my parents live with us, but it wasn't exactly five-star accommodations. my parents shared the trundle bed that all of my brothers that some point and slept in. and every morning, my dad was forced to maneuver around toys before his security detail picked him up to take him to the capitol. at that point, i bet he was the only senator who had to navigate legos, play mobile and the puppet stage that was made like a castle that my husband and my mom painted. i look back at that time so fondly because he was pulled in many different directions. but when he was home, he was just poppy. he didn't want to talk about work, he wanted to talk about us. he made things on and joyful for
my kids in the same way he made them fun and joyful or me. and just like he made us a priority growing up, he made all of his grandchildren his priority. my dad always went out of his way to do things to make me feel special. my all-time favorite surprise was on my 11th birthday, when my parents took me to see the osmonds. before the concert, i got to go backstage and meet all of them, especially donnie. [laughter] which made my 11-year-old heart skip a beat. and i could barely breathe. and i have the pictures to prove it. [laughter] a friend said to me this week, thank you for sharing your dad with the country. and at first, i was confused, because while it was a very sweet sentiment, it is not totally true.
the truth is, i didn't feel like i had to share my dad with anyone. he was always there for our family and he made time for anything that was important to us. so, while m yes while i am grateful he was so beloved by all of you and that the country shares in our family's morning - - mourning, he never made us share his time and attention with anyone. and i will be forever grateful for that. this is the most important thing in my talk. nobody loved me the way my dad loved me. he was a wonderful father who loved me unconditionally, and he always made my mom, me and my brothers his priority. i will miss him greatly. i will love him forever.
i know, because i was 18 and i can remember how difficult it was. be persistent. be strong. do what you know to be right. as the trials of life ebb and flow, always remember, not only do you have a father standing by, but also a good friend. you see, you have not only been a good son to me, but also a good friend. never hesitate to call upon me. thanks for making it so easy to love and appreciate you. love, dad. he talked me through letters, conversations and most importantly, his example. before the first day of school, he taught me how to deal with a bully. he taught me how to throw a punch, but cautioned me never to throw the first punch, but to make sure you take care of the
bully. he also asked me to look for children in the lunch room that didn't have friends, to try and befriend them. periodically, i would show up in the lunchroom at school with a sandwich, cheese, paper on both sides still attached, and in the bottom of the bag, a whole raw onion. he talked me humor and showed me his love this way. we played basketball one regularly. he taught me honesty by beating the badly four years. he never took that badly -- oddly for years.
he never took it easy on me and could trash talk regularly. when i finally beat him, whenever i got close, he fouled me really hard. [laughter] my father is loyal. he never forgot where he came from. he told me that when he was a child, he read books from his school while in searchlight, and it helped him dream of the world that he wanted to see. he always shared his love of reading and poetry. he talked me -- he taught me the importance of thought and reflection many nights after my mom had gone to sleep, he would be in his small closet, alone, on his knees, praying in
solitude or sitting on a stool reading scripture or a book late into the night, for inspiration. my father talked me -- taught me to treat everyone equally and not based on race or social status. about once a year, we would get a knock on the door from a stranger who was offering to trim our trees. usually, the trees didn't need to be trimmed, but he let them trim the trees anyway, and he even let them take their price -- pick their price. he taught that everybody deserves the dignity of a job. my father taught me to love nature. this last month, we walked together in the morning, we
enjoyed the desert sky, clouds, the smell of the rain and the beautiful trees and cactus. the day before my father passed, i walked in to see him. i said hello, it is key. he opened his beautiful blue eyes. i told him i'd loved him, he told me he knew. then, instead of him hanging up or ending the call like usual,
similar to those calls that you have all described, i knew something was up. he looked at me and gave me a long, warm goodbye. my father was my best friend. he knew when to write, went to call, went to reach out. his example was one of love -- love of his parents, love of my siblings and i were partners and his grandchildren -- my siblings and our partners and his grandchildren, love of his friends, love of those without a voice, love for his colleagues
and staff, and a love for his country and most of all, a love for my mother. later that day, my brother rory asked my father if he was scared. he hadn't been speaking for quite some time, but said a loud, powerful "no." rory asked if he was worried about my mom. he said in almost a whisper, "yes." first corinthians 13 4-8 reads, love is patient and kind. love does not envy or boast. it is not arrogant or rude. it does not insist on its own way. it is not irritable or
resentful. it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. love never ends. my father's nickname as a kid in searchlight was pinky. so, please allow me to insert the word pinky for love in this scripture. pinky is patient and kind. pinky does not envy or boast. pinky is not arrogant or rude. pinky doesn't insist on its own way. pinky is not irritable or resentful.
time with my dad. when i was eight years old, i was really jealous of my older brother leif. he got to go to work with my daddy and his law office and be a runner in his law office in the summer. i was told i couldn't go because i wasn't old enough to run around downtown las vegas by myself. i was not satisfied with that answer and was not going to stand for that type of injustice. so, one morning, i decided to hide in the back of our family station wagon that my dad took to work. this was not a well thought-out plan. the first problem with my plan is, when i got into the station wagon, i was wearing pajamas. second problem was, it turns out my dad wasn't going to his office that morning, he was going to the courthouse. and so, as my dad was driving to
the office, he said he felt the sense that somebody was in the car with him. this was the time my dad was chairman of the gaming commission, and there were some rough people about in las vegas. so then, he saw some hair sticking up over the backseat of the station wagon. and according to him, he thought about what kind of evasive action he needed to take. he was worried until he recognized the head of hair. and i know it is hard for you to imagine right now, but when i was eight years old, i had a nice, thick, curly mane of blonde hair. once i heard my dad yell josh, i knew the jake was up. since my dad had to get to the hearing, my punishment was to stay outside the courthouse with
my pajamas with one of the court bailiff's to wait for my sister to pick me up. despite that failed stowaway attempt when i was eight. one certainty i have had throughout my life is that my dad loved me unconditionally. i know this because he told me this, just like my other siblings. he told me through phone calls. he would write me letters and notes that i keep in my office today and that i read and reflect on when times get tough or stressful. i am very appreciative that the love my dad showed me throughout my life -- of the love that my dad showed me throughout my life. i realize it might be out of the ordinary to read from the congressional record at a funeral, but i want to read words my dad said on the senate floor march 30, two thousand four. he said, "i wish the people i worked with on the senate -- in the senate knew my father. my father was named harry reid,
same name i have. i always looked up to my dad. my dad was uneducated. he didn't graduate from the eighth grade, but he was very smart. he was a miner and would go underground for the company. people in college can't do that. he was a cop and took. he was up -- he was a carpenter. he was a blacksmith. he was a much bigger man than i am and i always hired his physical strength. he said last night, my grandchild was -- my 15th grandchild was born, a boy. he said, my son josh named his
son after me, i have a little grandson named harry reid. and i hope that little boy will one day look at his grandfather the way i look at my father. i hope i can set an example my grandson will respect and admire. i hope my grandson will have an example set by me that is when he will believe in, family and keeping families together. being a young man, he conducts himself in a proper manner and hopefully, some of the things i have done and will do will be something he will look to as a role model and maybe he will adhere to. so, i want the record to reflect how much i appreciate this great honor to have someone who for all generations of time will be the third harry reid. i wanted to read this statement you, because i believe it sums up how my dad saw his role as a father and grandfather.
i am eternally grateful for the example he set for me, and for my children. my dad was -- always would tell me how much he loved me and he would tell me when i had my own kids, you can never tell your family that you love them too much. i appreciate that, and all he taught me. i appreciate the positive impact he has out on the lives of me and my children that was so proud of my son liam, who followed in his footsteps by attending utah state, where the referees soccer games at the high school right across the street from where my mom and dad lived in logan, utah. my dad used to love calling him and hearing his tales of bravery dealing with unruly soccer parents. and he is now a theater student in high school at the academy of
arts just down the street from here. after my son harry told my dad he wanted to pursue acting, my dad wrote to him and told him it is better to take risks in trying to pursue what you want in life than to settle for a life without meaning. just like he did with me, my data was mixer liam -- made sure liam and harry knew that he loved them and that he was proud of them. that couldn't be proven anymore than my last -- then my dad's last words to my son harry the day before he passed away. dad wasn't speaking a lot that day, but my son harry had been sitting at his grandfather's side. and what he was leaving -- and when he was leaving, he held his hand and told his grandfather that he loved him. my dad immediately responded, i love you even more.
>> that was amazing to hear. the day before my dad passed, all of us worked together, collectively trying to ease his pain and comfort him. music was the only thing that helped. we took his phone out, were shuffling through his songs asking him what he wanted to hear. bob dylan? no response. bruce? nothing. do you want to hear the killers? and he smiled and he gave us a huge thumbs up. so, i want everyone to know the last musical request that he ever made.
we have heard this already. i could probably start my thoughts this morning by calling for a raise of hands. did my dad ever hang up the phone on you without saying goodbye? so many of us here, mr. schumer, speaker, presidents shared their stories, all of us have a story of my dad ending a phone call with them roughly. sometimes, he even left you talking for a few minutes before you realized he had hung up. he once said in an interview, when the conversation is over, i hang up. i have offended people, i don't mean to, but when there is no need to talk anymore, the call
is over. that is part of the narrative of his life. to some, he was the hangup guy. in our family, ending a call early, and sometimes it is a contest for us, is a verb we call harry reiding. this morning, i want to help everyone see this humorous trait that he had in a different light. and i think maybe from what you have heard already, you know that as busy as he was on the senate floor, speaking with a head of state, what ever it was -- whatever it was, my dad
always took our calls and he never felt that he was busy, or didn't have the time to give us a moment, to help us. so, when he hung up on you, maybe so quickly, it isn't as much about him being brusque as it is, or was, about him being devoted to my mom and my family. if have seen from my brothers and sister that spoke, he also took the time to write us letters or notes. driving over here this morning, we were going through our phones. it was funny. he would text as back -- us back. one of my sons texted him when he found out about his diagnosis
with cancer to say he was worried, we are praying for you, my son that goes to college in hawaii. and my dad's response was, you are far from the volcano. you are safe. there were a lot of responses like that. i have kept those notes and messages that he wrote. he took the time during the most challenging times of my life to write me almost weekly and i have kept those notes, like my brothers have, and my sister, to go back to look at and read, like scripture, to reminisce about the old times that they came from, and get his advice
again. here are some of the words to me he preserved in these notes and letters. after the birth of my first son, he wrote, "my thoughts are with you often. it seems only yesterday you were such a tiny little boy. now you are a fine young man and a father yourself. whatever life has in store for you, you have a backup in your father. remember this always. be happy. you have much to give. realize how much we have been blessed with. this is not because we have earned it but instead, because god has given us a duty to care. you must do this daily. once, he wrote me from the senate floor, from his desk, during a speech by a senator i won't name, i don't see here,
that he said was a little boring. he wrote, "take good care of yourself, take your rest when it is available. exercise. concentrate on your work. never return and to be sorry for not doing well. success is not determined in the moments, but by the fruits of your labor in the seeds you planted. why am i telling you this? these things, you already know. -- you already know." just before christmas 1988 when i was in south america, he wrote , "for this christmas season, you may be assured that my thoughts and prayers are with you. i worry about you often, far away from home. but i also think of life and its brevity. the formation of you as a person and the spirit of christmas is
obtainable more easily with the work of serving others. i know of your lonely times, but be strong, for the time will swiftly pass when we are reunited. until then, do well at your assignment." years later, he wrote, "it is hard to cup her hand the swift passage of time. -- to comprehend the swift passage of time. make the most of it. these are the days that make fatherhood. il you so much come you have been a great set -- i own you so much -- iou so much, -- i owe you so much, you have been a great son. i think about how devoted he was to us. he was and is our hero. what did we do to deserve our hero to be our father?
people know his story. he lived the american dream, you could say, from searchlight to washington. from my time as a young boy, it even then seemed fictional. but the reality was that he was a man who simply chose to do his best every day, to do his duty, to take care of his stewardship. part of that work was to be our father. part of that work was to be my mother's soulmate. part of that work was to be your senator and colleague. his devotion and steadfastness in everything he did is probably the best definition of harry
reiding. shortly after i left for college, he wrote me to say, "make the most of your time. as it is said in the book of mormon, this life is a time for men to meet god. behold, the day of this life is the day of mentor prepare his labors." as we heard in the song brandon son to us, my dad never broke character. heroes like the sun every day -- he rose up like the sun and labored until last week, when his work was done. and i say these names in the name of jesus christ. -- and i say these things in the name of jesus christ.
>> good morning. you have seen the reid kids travel as a pack. my dad was always looking to provide us an adventure appeared one summer, he bardi friend's vote to take us on an outing. we were on a lake, i don't remember if it was reid or mohave, and the engine stalled. as my dad tried to restart it, the boat again to drift toward a rocky outcropping. alarmed, he pointed to the back of the boat and said rory, throw the anchor overboard. as i hurriedly tried to locate
the anchor, my dad, his volume increasing, repeated himself, throw it, rory, throw the anchor. i found it and i did as he told me to do. and just as i threw it, i realized it wasn't tied to anything. i have no idea how we got back to shore that day. [laughter] but as you have heard from my siblings, my father had a keen sense of what we needed as children. and i had a desire to have no adventure. i wanted to just stay home, read a book, watch a movie.
so, i shouldn't have been surprised one day when he came home and said hey, rory, i signed you up for pop warner football. i am not built for football. but he was at every game the little casinos hat that year -- had that year. and i still don't know why i played football. you know, i don't have any reason to be concussed regularly . i have thought about it, the reason i played football is because it gave me time with my father. he loved it more than i did and it became central to our relationship since i was a teenager. he came to every high school football game i had. and i remember after one big
game, my teammates wanted to go out and celebrate. i went home for one reason, i wanted to talk to my dad about the game. and one of my friends called and said, where are you? we are out somewhere doing this or that. and i mouthed to my dad, please tell me i can't go out. he did, and i stayed home with him and talked about the game. later, my adventures with my father became more political. in 1986, i told my dad i wanted to volunteer on a senate campaign. and he seemed real pleased. when i was told i was the campaign's official rural nevada representative, just like football, i feigned excitement.
i put a box of pamphlets and mike cutlass supreme and i hit the road. my first assignment was in ely. nobody on the campaign had the courtesy to let me know that white pine county is not reid country. when i arrived, i checked into the copper queen motel. i didn't have an event until later and there is not a lot to do in ely, so i decided to knock doors. at the first, a young girl answered. i asked if her parents were home and she said to fall over. walked through her house into the backyard, worker father, a burly fellow with a garden code in hand, -- garden haoe -- garden hoe in hand, was bent
working. i said my father is congressman harry reid. before i could say another word, the gentleman spewed expletives, raised the hoe above his head and literally chased me from the yard. so, i went back to the copper queen and watched a movie. [laughter] when my dad called to check in that evening, i told him about my day. i just remember him laughing. he laughed and laughed and then he said, wait until you get to elko county. they really love me there. [laughter] i have also been thinking a lot about a moment i had with my dad when i was very young, i was a boy. i was in the hills of searchlight with him.
one of his brothers was there, i think don, my brother leif was there if i remember right. my dad carried a flashlight as he walked ahead of me. i did not know where we were going. after a few minutes, we approached a dark opening of a horizontal line shaft that disappeared deep into the hillside. as i leaned to one side, he turned on his flashlight and i peered around him, and when he shined his light into the blackness, i could see the reflection of two bright red eyes that quickly approached, and a rat scurried past us. my dad must have known i was anxious, so he grabbed two of my small fingers, hooked them in his belt loop, he said, stay close. i followed him into the shaft, bathed in the light he provided.
but any discussion of our family or my dad should begin and end in one place, landra. she was the center of his universe. they met as teenagers. they eloped when they were 19, still teenagers. and over 62 years, they provided us a loving example of how a real partnership should work. near the end of his life, my dad asked for his glasses. he was real sick and couldn't reach for them himself. i put them on his face and for the longest time, he just stared at my mom.
there was no need for words. this morning, our family was guided here by a police escort. an apostle of our faith then offered his blessing to us. as you saw, a military procession presented the casket of my father in this grand hall. the leaders of the united states congress are here in his honor, presidents obama and biden will grace us with his words and next week, my dad will lie in state in the united states capitol rotunda, in the same spot abraham lincoln rested. but what i will cherish most and never forget is what i saw in the private, quiet moments that i was privileged to share, close
to a nevada giant. may the god of heaven and earth continue to ensure that his soul rests in peace. goodbye, dad. until we meet again. announcer: more remarks from the federal service where former democratic senator harry reid of nevada. you can find the full event on our website c-span.org. senator reid will lie in state in the u.s. capitol rotunda. the tribute, including an invitation-only ceremony will take a side, january 12. now more from senator harry reid's funeral