WASHINGTON – John McCain is laid to rest at the U. S. Naval Academy after a five-day-long procession that served as a last call to arms for a nation warned he would lose his civility and sense of common purpose.
The private ceremony in Annapolis, Maryland, was carefully planned as the rest of McCain’s farewell tour, which began in Arizona after he died Aug. 25 of brain cancer and extended to Washington.
On Saturday, talks of his daughter Meghan and two former presidents, Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama have to remember McCain as a patriot who could bridge the painful rivalries. But even if their comments made clear their admiration for him, they represented a rejection of President Donald Trump is of the brand trash talk, divisiveness in politics.
“A lot of our politics, our public life, our public debate may seem small and mean and small, to trade in bombast and insults and false dichotomies and manufactured outrage,” Obama said. “It is a politics that pretends to be brave and tough, but in fact is born in fear. John called us on to be bigger than that. He called us on to be better than that.”
McCain was gone, said Bush, that the name of his 2000 rival for the GOP presidential nomination from a friend.
“John’s voice comes as a whisper over our shoulder — we are better than this, America is better than this,” Bush said.
But it was Meghan McCain’s emotional remarks that the most bluntly rebuked Trump, who had mocked her father for getting caught in Vietnam. On the pulpit of the spectacular cathedral, with Trump’s daughter Ivanka in the audience, McCain, the daughter delivered a broadside against the uninvited president.
“The America of John McCain,” she declared with a steely gaze, “it is not necessary to be great again because America was always great.”
The public of Washington, the military, civil and other leaders burst into applause.
With that McCain’s family, including his 106-year-old mother, Roberta, is the escort of his remains to Annapolis on Sunday.
McCain’s choice of burial location was as conscious as the other details of his procession. He picked up the historical location, overlooking the Severn River and the grandeur of the Arlington National Cemetery, where his father and grandfather, both admirals, are buried. Larson, McCain’s beloved friend from their Class in 1958, had reserved four plots at the legendary cemetery — two for McCain and herself, and two for their wives, now widows. Larsson died in 2014, and McCain wrote in his recent memoir that he wanted to be buried next to his friend, “in the vicinity where it started.”
Trump was to remain in Washington. He spent Saturday tweeting and golf in Virginia.
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