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Madeleine Albright memorial service, remembered by Biden, Clintons, family

WASHINGTON — Madeleine Albright was honored for her service to her country during a memorial service Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral.

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The former U.S. secretary of state died in March from cancer. She was 84.

Presidents, statesmen and lawmakers came to the cathedral to honor the first female to hold her office.

Update 12:12 p.m. EDT April 27: Hillary Clinton thanked her family for “sharing her (Albright) with us for all these years” and she spoke about their connection founded on being grandmothers.

Clinton shared a statement made by Albright in her autobiography, “There is no shortage of worthwhile work to be done and no surprise of seasons in which to do it” as she spoke about Albright’s upbringing, having to escape war as a young child, then as an adult trying to prevent fighting worldwide.

Update 11:52 a.m. EDT April 27: Former President Bill Clinton said that he visited with Albright shortly before her death, telling him that “the only thing that really matters is what kind of world we leave for our grandchildren.”

He spoke about the influence Albright had on his daughter Chelsea and the friendship the secretary of state had with former first lady, senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

Update 11:30 a.m. EDT April 27: President Joe Biden said that Albright “never forgot where she came from or who she was” and that she was a “truly proud American.”

“Her name is still synonymous for America, a force for good,” Biden said.

>>Previous coverage: Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright dies at 84

Original report: Albright served as the first female secretary of state after being nominated by former President Bill Clinton on Dec. 5, 1996. She was confirmed by the Senate on Jan. 22, 1997, and sworn in the next day, according to her official State Department biography.

She served as secretary of state for four years, leaving the position on Jan. 20, 2001.

During her tenure, Albright promoted the expansion of NATO into the former Soviet bloc nations.

Prior to being secretary of state, Albright served the Clinton administration as the ambassador to the United Nations.

>>Previous coverage: Madeleine Albright funeral: 5 things to know as nation mourns former secretary of state

Albright was born Marie Jean “Madlenka” Korbel on May 15, 1937, in Prague, Czechoslovakia. But because of where she was born, she was not able to be part of the presidential line of succession, despite being secretary of state, which is fourth in line, since she was not born in the U.S., the AP reported.

Her family came to the U.S. after a communist coup in 1948, settling in Denver, Colorado. She changed her name to Madeleine and became a citizen in 1957.

She graduated with honors from Wellesley College in 1959 with a bachelor of arts in political science. She had a Ph.D. in public law and government from Columbia University, graduating in 1976.

Albright went on to serve as a chief legislative assistant to Sen. Edmund Muskie (D-Maine) from 1976 to 1978. She was a White House staffer under President Jimmy Carter and was on the National Security Council under National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.

She was appointed research professor of international affairs at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and served as director of its Women in Foreign Service Program.

After she left her position as secretary of state, she remained outspoken on how the federal government operated internationally.

She criticized President George W. Bush for using “the shock of force” instead of diplomacy, the AP reported.


Check back for updates once the service begins.