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Sen. Debbie Stabenow says Aretha Franklin represented true American spirit

Stabenow speaks at Aretha Franklin's funeral in Detroit

DETROIT – Sen. Debbie Stabenow, speaking at Aretha Franklin's funeral Friday in Detroit, said the Queen of Soul represented true American spirit.

Speaking at Greater Grace Temple, she said Franklin and Sen. John McCain, who died last weekend, were two icons.

"We are laying to rest two iconic figures," Stabenow said. "Though different, (they) represent who we are as America, our true American spirit in music and culture and love of the country."

Stabenow said America is big and bold, and nobody had a bigger and bolder soul than Franklin. She said she would quietly do the right thing and touch the hearts of people around the world.

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"I treasure each and every opportunity that I've had over the years to witness and to be with Aretha, watching what she did best," Stabenow said. "My last opportunity to be with her was when I had the opportunity to introduce her at her final Detroit concert."

Stabenow said it was clear that Franklin was struggling until she walked onto the stage and gave fans an incredible performance.

She said she was in attendance when Franklin performed "Natural Woman" in front of President Barack Obama.

"In those final majestic notes, she stood up, she went to the center of the stage, she tossed the fur coat and raised her arms and brought every single person to their feet in that auditorium, including me," Stabenow said. "And I just had to yell out, 'Detroit is in the house.'"

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Stabenow said the country has lost a legend, but Franklin's voice will live on.

"This city will always be her kingdom," Stabenow said.

You can watch Stabenow's full remarks in the video posted above.