Senator John McCain was laid to rest on Sunday (September 2) at the U.S. Naval Academy cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland. The 81-year-old died at his home in Arizona on Saturday, August 25, days after his family announced he'd suspended treatment for glioblastoma and 13 months after doctors first discovered the aggressive tumor on his brain.
McCain's presidential send-off was a multi-day, cross-country affair, beginning with a procession in his home state, moving to Washington, D.C., and then taking him to his final resting place in Annapolis.
In Phoenix on Wednesday (August 29), McCain was honored with a ceremony at his state Capitol, with tributes from his Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and his Senate Colleagues, Jeff Flake and Jon Kyl. Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke at a memorial service the following day, before McCain's body was flown to the nation's capital where he lied in state in the Capitol Rotunda. McCain was the 31st person and 13th senator to receive the honor.
On Saturday (September 1), McCain was eulogized by his daughter, Meghan McCain, Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Former Senator Joseph Lieberman, and former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger at an invitation-only ceremony at the Washington National Cathedral.
Current President Donald Trump was notably absent from the ceremony, at the request of McCain himself. In remembering the senator, the 43rd and 44th Presidents both drew implicit comparisons between McCain's style of politics and Trump's, but it was his daughter who delivered the harshest blows — bolstering her father's "American greatness, the real thing," and condemning those who have "resented" his fire "for that light it cast upon them, for the truth it revealed about their character." (Trump has spoken poorly of McCain on a number of occasions.)
The most pointed criticism, however, came when Meghan triumphantly said to applause, "The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great."
The five-day proceedings came to a close when he was laid to rest, where his motorcade passed through crowd-lined streets as his body was taken to one final private ceremony. McCain's final resting place is alongside his former classmate and friend, Admiral Chuck Larson, at a site that overlooks the Severn River.
The six-term Arizona senator started his political career in 1981 and served two terms in the House of Representatives before moving into the Senate. He campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, but lost in the primaries to then-Texas Governor Bush. Then, in 2008, McCain once again sought to secure his party's nomination for President, and this time won. He faced off against then-Illinois Senator Obama, ultimately losing the race, but maintaining his presence in the Senate until his final day.
Prior to embarking on his decades in politics, McCain served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War. While serving, he was captured by the North Vietnamese and spent five-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war, where he was subjected to torture and sustained lifelong physical injuries.
Regardless of personal politics, McCain's willingness to reach across the aisle and put America — not his party — first has left him remembered as a true patriot. He is survived by his mother Roberta, wife Cindy, and children Doug, Andrew, Sidney, Meghan, Jack, Jimmy, and Bridget.