A black drape and white roses were placed by the members of the Senate Armed Services Committeeon the dais as a tribute to the late Senator Robert C. Byrd  at Tuesday's General David Petraeus' confirmation hearing.

Senator Byrd, (D-WV), the longest serving senator in the Senate's history had served on the committee since 1988.

In his opening remarks, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Carl Levin, (D-MI), spoke about the late senator:

"Good morning. Before we begin today's hearing, I want to comment on the loss that our Committee, the Senate, and the nation suffered yesterday morning. Robert C. Byrd was a member of this Committee for nearly three decades, and just as he did in all of his Senate work, he was a relentless advocate for the enduring traditions of the Senate, including our respect for the legislative authority that the Constitution places in our hands to exercise and defend.

He was an eloquent spokesman for the vital role Congress plays in national security and foreign affairs in our constitutional system. He was a treasured colleague and friend to the members of the Armed Services Committee and to the entire Senate. His life’s work and legacy will help guide us and future Senates."