WEB EXTRA: watch Byrd's speech to the Senate." /> WEB EXTRA: watch Byrd's speech to the Senate." />
U.S. Senator Robert Byrd says he will continue to work in the Senate until "this old body just gives out and drops," Byrd adds, "Don't expect that to be any time soon."
West Virginia's 89-year-old senior senator spoke on the floor of the Senate Thursday, telling colleagues he felt "compelled" to address recent news accounts that have focused on his advancing age.
Byrd says it's no surprise that he's getting older. He says, "Even old people can be allowed a sick day or two."
Byrd says age is his only adversity, but he says it's not hindering his work in the Senate. "I would like to think that I still have a few things left on my 'to do list', I would also like to think that someday our rapidly aging society will get over its fear and denial of aging." Byrd says in real life the lucky ones do get old.
Senator Byrd added, "We do get wrinkles and move more slowly and we worry about falling down. Our brains are still sharp, but tongues are slower, but what we have to say is worth the wait."
Byrd was elected to his ninth six-year term in the Senate last November. At that time he had served in the Senate for 47 years and nine months, more time than anyone else in American history.
Byrd reminded fellow senators Thursday that he still works for West Virginia and "zealously guards the welfare of this nation and its constitution."