Attending the memorial service was President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, President Bill Clinton, U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, U.S. Rep. Nick Joe Rahall, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Vicky Kennedy, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Gov. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, Congresswoman Shelly Moore
Capito, W.Va. Speaker of the House Rick Thompson, U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, U.S. Senator Al Franken and former West Virginia governors Arch Moore, Gaston Caperton and Bob Wise, among many state elected officials and others from the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.
People began lining up to get a seat at the historic event before 7 a.m., while many were still attending the public viewing of the casket in the rotunda of the State Capitol. The crowds swelled and the line to get a seat extended into the Capitol parking lot and back around through the Veterans Memorial.
Eddie Justus, who traveled all the way from Beech Creek in Mingo County to Charleston to attend the public viewing and the memorial service said there will never be any senator who can replace Byrd.
"He was the best senator we'll ever know," Justus said as he waited in line to get a seat. "Robert C. Byrd was a great man and a true West Virginia Democrat. West Virginia lost its best friend. He was always for coal and coal miners. He is definitely going to be missed."
John Price and his mother, Marsha, traveled to Charleston from Varney in Mingo County. Price said he is student of the U.S. constitution, just like Sen. Byrd.
"I'm here to witness history and to pay tribute to a man who did so much for West Virginia and our country," Price said. "There will never be another senator like Robert C. Byrd. I would have loved to
have gotten to meet him."
Gov. Manchin said no one will ever replace Byrd. He said Byrd was a man "the likes of whom we will never see again."
"He was a pillar in our nation's history and his influence stretches beyond West Virginia's borders," Manchin said.
Manchin said Byrd was a true champion, a man of his word and a patriot who maintained the integrity of the U.S. Constitution.
"No one can replace our senator," Manchin said. "No one can fill his shoes. We must never forget his tireless dedication."
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he learned many valuable lessons from Byrd.
"Sen. Byrd stood like a sentry in a three-piece suit watching over the legislative branch," McConnell said.
Vicky Kennedy, the wife of the late Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy, said her husband and Byrd were very close friends and they both shared a love of history.
"He was like a prophet of old," Vicky Kennedy said of Sen. Byrd. "He stood for the Constitution and the integrity of the Senate. Ted thought of him as a Roman of West Virginia. He was an incredible voice."
Vicky Kennedy said her husband marveled at the way Byrd campaigned from the back end of pickup trucks and knew how to win an election.
"He was a rock star," Vicky Kennedy said of Byrd. "Someone will take Robert Byrd's seat (in the Senate), but no one will ever take his place."
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller said Byrd's legacy will live on.
"Sen. Byrd was, in so many ways, the embodiment of what it means to be a West Virginian," Rockefeller said. "Sen. Byrd never forgot where he came from and he never gave up."
Congressman Rahall said Byrd was his friend and he never thought he would die.
"He was our Big Daddy," Rahall said, referring to the nickname Byrd called himself. "It is difficult to find the words to encompass the enormity of the man."
House Speaker Pelosi called Byrd "a great American patriot."
Sen. Reid said Byrd never stopped working for his fellow West Virginians.
"He never thought he'd done enough for West Virginians," Reid said. "No one has meant more to a state than what he did to West Virginia and the U.S. Senate never meant more to anyone than it did to Robert Byrd."
President Clinton said he learned so much from Byrd.
"He did as good a job for you as he could," Clinton said. "As far as he was concerned, there was never too much for West Virginia."
Vice President Biden told a story of how he used to wear a flag pin and Byrd gave him a pin of the Constitution. Biden looked up and said he believed Byrd was looking down on the memorial service from Heaven.
"Boss, I'm wearing the pin," Biden said. Biden said he always referred to Byrd as "Leader Byrd."
"While others revered the Senate, Robert Byrd elevated the Senate," Biden said. "The Senate chamber was Robert Byrd's cathedral and West Virginia was his Heaven. West Virginia was not only written in his heart, he wore it on his sleeve. He died like he lived his life -- he never stopped fighting."
President Obama gave the eulogy for Byrd. "All America shares your loss," Obama said. "He was a Senate icon and he was my friend."
Byrd gave an early endorsement to Obama when he ran for president in 2008.
"Transplanted to Washington, D.C., his heart remained here in West Virginia," Obama said. "Making life better here was his only agenda."
"Take Me Home, Country Roads" was also played, as the presidents, vice president, governor, first lady and other officials sang with the crowd.
Byrd's body was transported back to Washington and is scheduled to be buried beside his beloved wife, Erma, in Arlington, Va.