John McCain, Senior Senator from Arizona, was honored and remembered on Saturday during an invitation-only ceremony before he was laid to rest in the US Naval Academy. He died on August 25, at the age of 81 and will be buried on Sunday, September 2.
Services for the feisty, Vietnam veteran who was held captive for over five years in what is euphemistically referred to as the “Hanoi Hilton” took place throughout the week in Arizona, his home state, and Washington, DC, where he served in government for over 40 years.
Attending the service, held at the Washington National Cathedral, were political dignitaries from both sides of the aisle, including former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Obama eulogized the Navy aviator for about 20 minutes, as did Bush. Meghan McCain, the Senator’s daughter, spoke in moving language about her father’s life, integrity, generosity, love of family, and fierce patriotism.
Last Friday McCain’s casket was brought into the Rotunda of the US Capital during his Lying in State Ceremony. The ceremony is reserved as a rare honor bequeathed by a congressional resolution or approved by congressional leadership if the family grants permission. Since 1852 only 30 people have had such an honor, including President Abraham Lincoln, President John F. Kennedy, and Senator Daniel Inouye in 2012, the last such ceremony until McCain.
During the ceremony members of the public were permitted to pass by the casket and pay their respects while members of the armed forces stood guard.
President Trump did not attend any of the ceremonies, but Vice President Mike Pence represented the Executive Branch of the Government and laid a wreath at the Lying In State Ceremony.