Sen. John McCain was laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy on Sunday, his body returning to the bucolic campus on the edge of the Severn River that launched his career of service to the country six decades ago.
The small, private ceremony under the landmark copper dome of the academy’s chapel capped several days of services for the Arizona Republican, who was eulogized by two former presidents over the weekend and who drew much of official Washington to his side on Friday as he lay in state in the U.S. Capitol.
A hearse carrying McCain’s casket rolled slowly through a crowd of several hundred people outside the academy Sunday afternoon. Some held elaborate signs with photos of McCain. One proclaimed the senator was “all Trump is not.” Another, written with a marker on yellow construction paper, said only “thank you.”
Ann Hewitt, an 80-year-old Annapolis woman, stood silently with a U.S. flag in one hand and the arm of a friend in the other as the motorcade passed, McCain’s flag-draped casket visible through the window of the hearse. Like McCain, Hewitt’s husband flew missions in Vietnam.
McCain’s motorcade cut through a silent crowd, which poured into the street behind him. Only after the last vehicle in the procession passed the gate of the academy did the crowd erupt into applause and, for some, tears.
“I’m glad I was here,” Hewitt said in almost a whisper. “I just couldn’t not be here.”
McCain’s burial, closed to reporters and the public, was the final stop in a days-long wave of ceremonies honoring the former Naval aviator, Vietnam POW, senator and Republican presidential nominee. The memorials provided a rare opportunity for the country to reflect on the civility McCain espoused during his three decades in the Senate.
“John McCain, no matter what position he took, always figured out a way to build a bridge,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“There’ll never be another John McCain,” he said.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry, also appearing on CBS, said McCain was a “better angel of the American value system” who would reach across the aisle.
Surrounded by his family, friends and fellow members of the Naval Academy Class of 1958, McCain was buried alongside Charles “Chuck” Larson, a lifelong friend who also flew missions over Vietnam and rose to the pinnacle of political power in Washington as a naval aide to President Richard Nixon.
The burial was private, and the academy suspended tours and access to members of the public who did not have military identification. A military jet flew low and fast over Annapolis about two hours after the services were scheduled to begin.
McCain was a regular fixture at the academy, telling a group of midshipmen last year that he learned the “meaning and responsibilities of honor” at the elite school, despite a rebellious reputation — and a flood of demerits — that helped to cultivate his later standing as a “maverick.”
Click here to read more.
Source: USA Today