Biden to lead Mandela memorial in DC

Vice President Biden will honor Nelson Mandela at a memorial service for the anti-apartheid hero at the National Cathedral on Wednesday, according to his office.

The memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m., and will include representatives from the Cathedral and South African Embassy.

On Monday, Biden traveled to the South African Embassy in Washington to express his sympathy for Mandela’s death. In a condolence book, Biden wrote, “Through his unflagging, unflinching commitment to human dignity and his willingness to forgive, he inspired us and challenged us all to do better.”

Later, standing near a recently erected Mandela statue on the embassy grounds, Biden praised him as the "most remarkable man I met in my whole career."

Shortly after Mandela’s death was announced on Thursday, Biden issued a statement recalling how South African officials had attempted to separate him from black lawmakers during a congressional visit to the country during the time of apartheid.

“Because of Nelson Mandela’s courage, and compassion, that world has been transformed,” Biden said.

The National Cathedral, located blocks from Biden’s home in a leafy neighborhood northwest of downtown Washington, has regularly served as the site for large memorial services.

The funerals for former Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford took place at the century-old cathedral.

President Obama departed Washington on Monday for the memorial service honoring Mandela on Tuesday in Johannesburg. He was joined aboard Air Force One by first lady Michelle Obama, as well as former President George W. Bush, former first lady Laura Bush, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.