Las Vegas Review-Journal
January 8, 2022 – 9:00 pm
Dignitaries from around the nation gathered in Las Vegas on Saturday to honor the life of Harry Reid, who died last month at 82 after battling pancreatic cancer. It was a warm and fitting tribute for the most accomplished political figure in Nevada history.
Former President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy during a service at the Smith Center in downtown Las Vegas. As Senate Majority Leader, Mr. Reid guided Mr. Obama’s signature health care legislation through the upper chamber by the slimmest of margins. He was also one of the first influential Democrats to urge Mr. Obama to run for president.
“As different as we are,” Mr. Obama wrote to Mr. Reid near the end of his life, “I think we both saw something of ourselves in each other — a couple of outsiders who had defied the odds and knew how to take a punch and cared about the little guy. And you know what, we made for a pretty good team.”
During his remarks, Mr. Obama noted that “few people had done more for” Nevada and cited Mr. Reid’s “vanity deficit.”
President Joe Biden, the first lady and other congressional leaders were also in attendance Saturday, along with Mr. Reid’s family and friends.
Mr. Reid grew up in the small town of Searchlight and eventually rose to lead the U.S. Senate, retiring in 2017 after 34 years in Congress, including 30 in the Senate. His affinity for hardball politics belied his soft-spoken, gentle demeanor, and he shrewdly constructed a powerful political apparatus in Nevada that will benefit Democrats for years to come.
Mr. Biden described Mr. Reid as “all Searchlight, no spotlight” and told mourners that his rise from humble beginnings was “proof that there’s nothing ordinary about America.”
Landra Reid, the late senator’s wife of 62 years, said, “We are honored to have such a distinguished group paying tribute to Harry’s life and accomplishments. These are not only some of the most consequential leaders of our time — they are also some of Harry’s best friends.”
Mr. Reid will lie in state in the Capitol on Wednesday, the first Nevadan to be accorded that high honor. The event will include formal arrival and departure ceremonies. On Friday, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution honoring Mr. Reid’s public service and legacy.
“Harry Reid dedicated his life to serving Nevada,” said Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who was elected in 2016 to succeed Mr. Reid. “His hard work and dedication to fairness and equality will never be forgotten in the halls of Congress, or in the Silver State.”
Indeed, Nevada’s most prominent public servant may no longer be with us, but his presence will be felt throughout the Silver State — and the nation — for decades. Rest in peace, senator.