By Mike DeNardo
PENN VALLEY, Pa. (CBS) — More than a thousand people, including Vice President Joe Biden, gathered today in Penn Valley to say a heartfelt farewell to former US senator Arlen Specter, who died Sunday at the age of 82 of complications from non-Hodgkins lymphoma (see related story).
The vice president of the United States, US senators including Bob Casey and Christopher Dodd, members of Congress including Pat Meehan, Gov. Tom Corbett, and former governors Dick Thornburgh and Ed Rendell turned out at Har Zion Temple in Penn Valley along with ordinary Pennsylvania citizens to honor the life of Arlen Specter.
Former governor Rendell’s voice broke during the service when he described Specter’s battles with cancer, saying that Specter couldn’t defeat what even the most robust human spirit couldn’t conquer.
Afterward, Rendell paid tribute to Specter’s fierce independence:
“As we were leaving the sanctuary, his family chose to play the great Frank Sinatra song, ‘I Did It My Way.’ And boy, if there was anybody in public life you could say did it his way, it was Arlen.”
VP Biden said he canceled a day of campaigning in Colorado and Nevada to be at his friend’s funeral. Biden described Specter as a true friend who walked in when others walked out.
After the ceremony, burial followed at Shalom Memorial Park in Huntingdon Valley.