Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Vietnam Wall event pays final tribute to key part of McCain’s history

Sen. Lindsey Graham R-S.C. speaks to members of the media Tuesday after giving a speech on the floor of the Senate honoring the late Sen. John McCain R-Ariz McCain's 106-Year-Old Mom to Attend His Washington Services
Felix Bryan | 02 September, 2018, 17:30

"We say thank you to all Americans who opened doors, arms and hearts for us". "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".

"It is only right that today, near the end of his long journey, John lies here, in this great hall, under the mighty dome, like other American heroes before him", said Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. "Because America was always great".

Two ex-presidents from opposing parties united Saturday to honour U.S. senator John McCain, in a momentous funeral that championed his aspirations of political comity but also rebuked the tribalism and division trafficked by Donald Trump.

During his campaign, Mr. Trump mocked McCain's service in Vietnam, saying, "He's not a war hero".

On Sunday, McCain will return to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, for a private funeral and burial at the cemetery there.

Bush recalled how he and McCain spoke of that "intense period like football players remembering a big game".

The president's motorcade arrived at Trump National Golf Club in Loudoun County, Virginia around 11:16am (1516 GMT) while eulogies to McCain were being delivered at his funeral at Washington's National Cathedral.

Every aspect of the senator's weeklong memorial carried political and personal significance, including his pall bearers Saturday. Held as a prisoner until 1973, McCain was tortured by his North Vietnamese captors in a jail that Americans dubbed the "Hanoi Hilton". His family did not invite Trump to Saturday's service at the Washington National Cathedral, but key members of his administration were in attendance, including daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner.

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

Meghan McCain's eyes appeared to snap on Pence during his remarks.

Former President Barack Obama said, "After all, what better way to have a last laugh than to have George and me say nice words about him to a national audience". "He called on us to be better than that".

Trump has sought to forge close relationships with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But she also described a man who was sculpted by challenges in the Vietnam War and by the brain cancer that eventually took his life.

Inside the cathedral, guests included former president Bill Clinton and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, comedian Jay Leno, former senator Bob Dole and others joined together to honor McCain while a powerful pipe organ and brass ensemble played in the background. They have been volunteering with the National Park Service for decades and try to help veterans who may be suffering from post-traumatic stress to overcome their fears when they visit the wall. The request "captured some of John's essential qualities", including his "ability to see past differences in search of common ground", Obama said.

The former president noted John McCain was a conservative lawmaker, but said, "he did understand that some principles transcend politics, that some values transcend party". 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".

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