The hearse carrying the body of former congressman John Dingell stopped on Monday in front of Capitol Hill in an emotional tribute to the oldest member of the Congress history.
While the motorcade was stopping with his body, Dingell's wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., Greeted and hugged a number of lawmakers standing on the Capitol steps in the rain. .
The procession arrived after Dingell's body was transported to Washington after a funeral service held in his home state of Michigan, where former Vice President Joe Biden spoke, claiming that the late legislator "knew that public service was not a title you wear, but that you work."
"He believed without exception that everyone had the right to be treated with dignity," Biden said. "Dignity was the way John walked." Dignity was the way John spoke. "Dignity was the way John behaved." More than that, it was the way he treated everyone. tell everyone. "
About 800 people attended the service at the Divine Child Church in Dearborn, the city where Dingell served and lived, including Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow. Bad weather prevented some from attending: a military plane carrying congressmen was turned back, resulting in impromptu service at 30,000 feet.
Missouri Rep. Billy Long tweeted that the service on board the aircraft was led by representatives John Lewis of Georgia and Fred Upton of Michigan, both of whom had to speak during the service, and by the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.
A second funeral will be held Thursday in Washington, D.C.
The former congressman leaves behind his wife, Debbie, who currently occupies her seat in the House of Commons and her four children. A cause of death was not immediately known.
"It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of John David Dingell, a former Michigan congressman and former US congressman," said the congressman in a statement following the death of Dingell.
"Congressman Dingell died peacefully today at his home in Dearborn, surrounded by his wife Deborah.He was a US Congressional Lion and a son, father, husband, grandfather and a loving friend who will be remembered for his decades of public service to the people of southeastern Michigan, his quick wit and determination to make life better for all who walk on this earth. "
The Michigan Democrat was considered a congressional procedural authority, similar to the legendary Senator Robert Byrd, D-WV. Dingell was best known for his legislative skills, deep respect for history, and wit.
Nicknamed "The Truck" during his long tenure as chair of the House Committee on Energy and Trade, the Detroit congressman has spurred a number of landmark moves, including health care reform , energy regulation and telecommunications development.
By the time Dingell broke the record for the longest term in the House in February 2009, he was the Democrats' favorite colleague for pointing out the historical significance of the moment. The presence of Dingell at a press conference or at the chamber for a speech would immediately give an event a more serious tone.
"He will be remembered as one of the most influential members of Congress not to have presided over," said former representative Joe Barton, R-Texas, who served on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Dingell for two decades.
Fox News Mike Emanuel and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.