Joe Biden, Bill Clinton give eulogy

  • “Freedom had no greater champion,” Biden said of Albright
  • Bill Clinton said he will never forget his final conversation with Albright
  • Hillary Clinton said Albright taught her students, “You have to interrupt”

WASHINGTON – The nation’s most powerful Democrats for the past quarter-century, world leaders, friends and family of Madeleine Albright celebrated the life Wednesday of the nation’s first female secretary of state, who arrived in the US as a young girl from war-torn Czechoslovakia before becoming a trailblazing diplomat and national icon.

“In the 20th and 21st centuries, freedom had no greater champion than Madeleine Korbel Albright,” said President Joe Biden, eulogizing Albright at her funeral at Washington National Cathedral. He called Albright “a force of nature” who through “goodness, grace, humanity and intellect turned the tide of history.”

Albright died March 23 at 84 years old after a fight with cancer, leaving a legacy as a defender of democracy, human rights and peace. More than 1,400 people, each wearing face masks at the request of the Albright family, packed the cathedral.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright sits in her cabinet chair from her time at the White House while meeting with USA TODAY Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page for a Capital Download video segment.

They heard from Biden, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton describe how Albright urged other women to “interrupt” and who, despite her small stature, was not afraid to stand up to America’s biggest adversaries. They marveled at Albright’s courage and vast collection of chest pins, laughed about her dancing the tango and macarena, and said her journey from Europe after World War II embodied America.

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