McCain ends 81-year journey with burial at Naval Academy


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Navy pilot. War hero. Senator. Presidential candidate. Elder statesman. John McCain’s eight-decade journey as a servant of his country came to its final resting place on Sunday as he was buried at the U.S. Naval Academy cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland.

The interment came after a five-day procession that served as last good-bye for a nation he warned could lose its civility and sense of shared purpose.

Image: John McCain
John McCain’s funeral procession heads to the United States Naval Academy cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland, on Sept. 2, 2018.Susan Walsh / AP

Supporters lined the streets outside the Naval Academy with some waving American flags as the late Arizona senator’s procession arrived ahead of the private ceremony at 2 p.m. The ceremony 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.

“God bless the USA!” one woman said and people clapped and cheered.

A horse-drawn caisson carrying the senator’s casket led a procession of mourners from the academy’s chapel to its cemetery following a private service. The senator’s widow, Cindy, and his children were among those who walked behind the caisson. Joining them were family and friends as well as members of McCain’s Class of 1958, military leaders and academy midshipmen.

After the ceremony, McCain was honored with an aerial salute in the missing man flyover formation.

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 Donald Trump’s brand of tough-talking, divisive politics.

“So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast and insult and phony controversies and manufactured outrage,” Obama said. “It’s a politics that pretends to be brave and tough but in fact is born in fear. John called on us to be bigger than that. He called on us to be better than that.”

McCain was gone, said Bush, who called his 2000 rival for the GOP presidential nomination a friend.

“John’s voice will always come as a whisper over our shoulder — we are better than this, America is better than this,” Bush said.

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