John McCain Laid To Rest At U.S. Naval Academy

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on September 3rd, 2018

Annapolis, Maryland, USA : Senator John S. McCain III was laid to rest today during a private ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy. His interment followed a five-day series of memorial events that served as a final call to arms for a nation he warned could lose its civility and sense of shared purpose. The private ceremony in Annapolis, Maryland, was as carefully planned as the rest of McCain’s farewell tour, which began in Arizona after he died Aug. 25 from brain cancer and stretched to Washington.

Among those speaking at the private memorial service included McCain’s closest friend in the Senate, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, former CIA Director and U.S. CENTCOM Commander General David Petraeus and fellow Naval Academy graduate Jack McCain, the late senator’s son.

A motorcade with police processional carrying McCain’s casket arrived at the Naval Academy just after 1:30 p.m. ET as hundreds of local mourners lined the streets saying their final goodbyes to the late senator. The private ceremony took place with close friends and family after 2 p.m.

Following his burial, a Missing Man Flyover Formation aerial salute took place just before 4 p.m. to honor McCain’s memory. According to David McKinney of the U.S. Naval Academy, four F-18 pilots took part in the flyover with one on the right of the lead F-18 jet pulling off from the others to symbolize, and honor the departed.

McCain was then laid to rest in a plot next to his beloved friend and Naval Academy classmate, the late Adm. Chuck Larson. Larson had reserved four plots at the storied cemetery — two for McCain and himself, and two for their wives, now widows. Larson died in 2014, and McCain wrote in his recent memoir that he wanted to be buried next to his friend, “near where it began.”

The U.S. Navy posted a few pictures from Sunday’s burial, writing: “Today Senator John S. McCain III was laid to rest during a private ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy. Fair winds and following seas Sir, we have the watch.”

McCain’s choice of burial location was as deliberate as the other details of his procession. He picked the historic site overlooking the Severn River over the grandeur of Arlington National Cemetery, where his father and grandfather, both admirals, are buried.

On Saturday, speeches by his daughter Meghan and two former presidents — Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama — remembered McCain as a patriot who could bridge painful rivalries. But even as their remarks made clear their admiration for him, they represented a repudiation of President Trump’s brand of tough-talking, divisive politics.

But it was Meghan McCain’s emotional remarks that most bluntly rebuked Trump, who had mocked her father for getting captured in Vietnam. At the pulpit of the spectacular cathedral, with Trump’s daughter Ivanka in the audience, McCain’s daughter delivered a broadside against the uninvited president.

“The America of John McCain,” she declared with a steely stare, “has no need to be made great again because America was always great.” The audience of Washington’s military, civilian and other leaders burst into applause.

McCain’s family, including his 106-year-old mother, Roberta, escorted his remains to Annapolis on Sunday.

Mr. Trump was to remain in Washington. He spent Saturday tweeting and golfing in Virginia.

EARLIER : John McCain’s Legacy Celebrated At Funeral

Washington D.C., USA : Two former presidents from opposing parties (Barack Obama and George W. Bush) united Saturday to honor US senator John McCain, in a momentous memorial service at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC that championed his aspirations of political comity and also rebuked the tribalism and division trafficked by Donald Trump.

As millions tuned in to the nationally televised memorial attended by the breadth of Washington powerbrokers, Trump himself was notably absent, leaving the capital to head to his golf club in Virginia just when eulogies to McCain were being delivered.

And while Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama offered subtle swipes at the current commander in chief, McCain’s daughter Meghan used the words of Trump’s campaign slogan to deliver a searing, unmistakable rebuke.

“The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great,” she said, to extended applause.

Hailing his friend as “an extraordinary man” who embodied what is best in America, Obama said McCain, who battled fiercely but respectfully in the political arena, “made us better presidents — just as he made the Senate better, just as he made the country better.”

He was echoing similar sentiments expressed minutes earlier by Bush, who defeated McCain in a “hard fought” Republican primary battle in 2000, only to see that bitter rivalry melt away into a lasting friendship.

While Bush and Obama hail from different parties, their message Saturday was clear: US politics can and should rise to a higher level with the example set by McCain.

“We never doubted the other man’s sincerity or the other man’s patriotism — or that when all was said and done, we were on the same team,” Obama said of his rough but respectful campaign battles with McCain.

Former US President Barack Obama speaks during a memorial service for late Senator John McCain at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC, US, September 1, 2018. /VCG Photo

So much of today’s politics, “our public discourse, can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast and insult,” he added.

“It’s a politics that pretends to be brave and tough but in fact is born of fear. John called on us to be bigger than that.”

McCain’s final public ceremony before his private burial Sunday at the US Naval Academy in nearby Annapolis, Maryland highlighted the warrior politician’s call for healing.

“Perhaps above all John detested the abuse of power, could not abide bigots and swaggering despots,” said Bush, as Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner sat in attendance.

Trump’s Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly were also present.

But it was the gathering of heavyweights from both parties past and present that drew more attention, including Bill and Hillary Clinton; former vice presidents Al Gore, Dick Cheney and Joe Biden; and former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright and John Kerry.

McCain, who died last Saturday at age 81, has been lionized over the past week of emotional commemorations, including his congressional colleagues bestowing him the rare honor of lying in state in the US Capitol on Friday.

Earlier Saturday, the flag-draped casket of McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than five years, was taken by honor guard from the US Capitol and placed in a black hearse.

During his final years in the Senate, McCain was perhaps the loudest advocate for US military involvement overseas – in Iraq, Syria, Libya and more. That often made him a critic of first Obama and then Trump, and placed him further out of step with the growing isolationism within the GOP.

In October 2017, McCain unleashed some his most blistering criticism of Trump’s “America first” foreign policy approach — without mentioning the president by name — in describing a “half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.”

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Bamidele Ogunberu

Bamidele Ogunberu

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