Clinton said his smile was both goofy and contagious.
The four Americans killed in an attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya returned home Friday.
Their flag-draped coffins were carried in a slow procession at Andrews Air Force Base. A military band played the mournful hymn "Nearer My God to Thee" as the family's received the remains.
President Barack Obama led the ceremony, recalling their lives in deeply personal terms. "Their sacrifice will never be forgotten," Obama said.
Among the fallen was U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens; a Bay Area native. Stevens' parents and siblings flew to the nation's capitol so that they could attend the ceremony. A family member told NBC Bay Area on Friday that funeral plans were still being worked out, adding that Stevens' mother was not expected back in the Bay Area until Tuesday.
Stevens graduated from Piedmont High School. He stayed in the Bay Area through college getting degrees at both UC Berkeley and Hastings Law School.
His quote in the Piedmont yearbook, "What a bore it is, waking up in the morning always the same person."
"He had such a positive energy," said Steven McDonald, who was Stevens' roommate at Cal in the 1980s, and had last seen Stevens at his parents home in Piedmont shortly before he was named ambassador. "He was undeterred."
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton knew the ambassador personally. During the hangar ceremony she recalled how people loved to work with and for Stevens. "He was known not only for his courage but his smile: goofy but contagious, his sense of fun and that California cool."
His sister Hilary Stevens spoke to Rock Center Anchor Brian Williams. Below is her reflections on her brother’s legacy and work.
U.S. officials are investigating whether the assault was a coordinated terrorist attack that took advantage of protests in the Arab world over an anti-Muslim video.