May 11, 2020 | News | No Comments
ANNAPOLIS, MD — The final step in a national funeral and burial service that the late Sen. John McCain himself mapped out before his death in August has been completed: The headstone is now in place at this grave at his beloved U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. He was buried there on Sept. 2 in private after a national memorial service at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., honored the Vietnam War hero, former GOP presidential nominee and statesman. (See photo below.)
McCain of Arizona, whose father and grandfather were admirals and in whose footsteps he followed by graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, died at age 81 at his home in Arizona. He was diagnosed last year with an aggressive form of brain cancer that had kept him away from the Senate since mid-December, died just one day after his family announced he would end his treatment for brain cancer. He would have turned 82 on Aug. 29.
The maverick senator was be buried at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery overlooking the Severn River. McCain had earlier picked out a plot in the cemetery next to the burial site of his Academy classmate and lifelong friend Chuck Larson, who died in 2014. The 1958 classmates were known as the “odd couple” with McCain earning demerits for breaking rules, which left him near the bottom of his class, while Larson graduated at the top of the class, was the second-youngest admiral in U.S. history, and twice served as the superintendent of the Naval Academy.
The final services for McCain at the academy were closed to the public and the media at the request of the McCain family. McCain was carried into the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel by Navy Body Bearers, and placed on a bier. The Navy Band and Navy Ceremonial Guard provided a formation consistent with Arlington National Cemetery honors for a retired captain. The private memorial service took place in the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel with only McCain’s family and friends, along with the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1958, Naval and military leaders, and the Brigade of Midshipmen invited to the ceremony.
Following the service, a private burial ceremony was celebrated at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery and McCain was laid to rest next to Admiral Larson.
(For more news like this, find your local Patch here. If you have an iPhone, click here to get the free Patch iPhone app; download the free Patch Android app here. And like Patch on Facebook!)
One of McCain’s final acts on the Senate floor crystallized his often contentious relationship with the president and hard-line conservative Republicans. It occurred at about 3 a.m. on July 28, 2017, during the final vote on a Republican attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare. McCain had criticized the bill as lacking in bipartisanship but hadn’t said how he would vote. With a “yes,” he would kill Obamacare. With a “no,” he would save it.
When McCain’s name was called for his vote, he was nowhere in sight.
Then, as the vote was coming to an end, the doors to the Senate chamber swung open. McCain strode confidently to the floor. He approached Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and paused. Slowly, McCain raised his arm at the clerk to make his vote known. Defiantly, he turned his thumbs down as he said, “No.” The bill was dead. Audible gasps filled the chamber. Outside the Capitol, hundreds of pro-Obamacare demonstrators cheered.
Trump fumed and for months brought up McCain’s vote.
After 35 years in Congress and almost as long in the Navy, including more than five years as a prisoner of war, and battling terminal cancer, McCain had earned the right not to care.
President Trump famously said at a 2016 campaign event in Iowa that McCain was not a war hero. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,” Trump said, sparking a swift rebuke from McCain, who said he should apologize to military service members, especially those who had been POWs.
Trump avoided serving in the Vietnam War through four student deferments and one medical one.
McCain’s status as a war hero helped him blaze onto the political stage in 1982 with the first of two successful runs for the U.S. House of Representatives. With a sharp tongue, bold attitude and military-strength spine, he adapted well to Arizona conservatism and settled into the mold of Barry Goldwater, easily winning his Senate seat in 1987 when the conservative patriarch decided to retire.
McCain ran twice for president, getting his party’s nomination in a 2008 campaign that is largely remembered for his pick for vice president, then Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a choice research shows may have cost him 2 million votes in what became a Democratic tidal wave.
While the military shaped McCain as a child and young man, it would unquestionably define him as an adult and eventual prisoner of war.
John Sidney McCain III was born Aug. 29, 1936, into a military family at the Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone. His grandfather, John Sidney McCain Sr., and his father, John Sidney McCain Jr., were both four-star admirals, and the senator’s father eventually led the United States Pacific Command.
The young John moved from naval base to naval base, both in America and abroad, and graduated from a private preparatory boarding school in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1954.
SEE ALSO: John McCain, War Hero And Senate Icon, Dead At 81
Photos courtesy of U.S. Naval Academy archive
Click Here: United Kingdom Rugby Jerseys