President Obama offered words of remembrance for the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd at a funeral program today. Standing on the steps of the West Virginia statehouse, Obama told the thousands who’d gathered to honor Byrd’s 92-year life, “He was a Senate icon, he was a party leader, he was an elder statesman, and he was my friend. That’s how I’ll remember him.” Other guests, including Vice President Biden, former President Bill Clinton, Gov. Joe Manchin, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, offered their thoughts, too. Byrd, who was elected to the House in 1952 and the Senate in 1958, was the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history. Often controversial—most notably, he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan—Byrd was remembered, most of all, as an ornate speaker and knowledgeable historian.