Meghan McCain, John McCain’s daughter opened his memorial service with a tearful and impassioned tribute, posing her father’s legacy. She said her father was a “great man” and she encouraged others to live up to his example, setting a tone that echoed the senator’s own fighting spirit as services began yesterday at the Washington National Cathedral.
She said: “We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness — the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served.”
Three former presidents, scores of members of Congress, current and former world leaders and family and friends gathered yesterday to eulogize John McCain as an American hero. His flag-draped casket was escorted by military body bearers up the cathedral steps under gray skies.
Among those in the front row at the cathedral are Barack and Michelle Obama, George and Laura Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as Dick Cheney and Al Gore. McCain’s motorcade arrived from the Capitol, where he laid in state overnight, and the procession made a stop at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where McCain’s wife, Cindy, placed a wreath.
At McCain’s request, Obama, a Democrat, and Bush, a Republican, are among those who spoke about the six-term senator ay a service at Washington National Cathedral.“John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics. But we shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher — the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed,” Obama said.
It is the last public event in Washington, where McCain lived and worked over four decades, and part of McCain’s five-day, cross-country funeral procession. He died Aug. 25 at age 81.