LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — President Joe Biden remembered his friend of five decades, former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, referring to him as a giant in American politics.

“Every time I hear a dial tone, I think of Harry,” Biden said during Reid’s memorial service Saturday. “What a gift Harry Reid was to this state and this nation, and to so many of us, individually.”

Reid, who was 82, lost his four-year battle with pancreatic cancer on Dec. 28, closing the final chapter on an incredible life journey that took him from his humble beginnings in Searchlight to becoming one of the country’s most powerful political positions.

“The thing about Harry: he never gave up. He never gave up. He never gave up on the people he cared about,” Biden said.

Reid and Biden worked together as Democrats in the U.S. Senate, starting when Reid was elected in the late-1980s. At the time, Biden was a senator from Delaware.

“It was all Searchlight, no spotlight,” Biden said about Reid’s drive to enact change on a local and national landscape. “He was proof that there is nothing ordinary about America.”

President Joe Biden speaks during a memorial service for former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at the Smith Center in Las Vegas, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Biden spent much of his speech recognizing his close friendship with Reid, including fighting political battles and their personal phone conversations.

“Harry would always have your back,” Biden said. “Harry had mine, and he knew I had his.”

Reid’s casket will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. He then will be buried in Searchlight.