Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington D.C., United States (4E) – Even in death, the late Sen. John McCain’s legacy of service to country before self and a cordial bipartisanship embracing one’s political opponents shone through in the eulogies by his family and political friends and foes. And even in death, his disgust of Donald Trump’s pettiness and divisiveness was a painful light that exposed this man disserving of the presidency for what he truly is.
The memorial service for McCain at the Washington National Cathedral on Sept. 1 was the shining example of bipartisanship the late senator intended when he drew up the plans for his funeral. McCain did not invite Trump to his funeral.
Three former U.S. presidents – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — scores of members of Congress; current and former world leaders and family and friends gathered to eulogize McCain as an American hero. McCain’s flag-draped casket was escorted by a military guard up the cathedral steps under gray skies that opened into rain after his casket was taken out of the hearse.
Among those in the front row at the cathedral were the Obamas, the Bushes, the Clintons, as well as Dick Cheney and Al Gore. At McCain’s request, Obama, a Democrat, and Bush, a Republican, delivered the eulogies for the six-term senator during Saturday’s service.
But it was McCain’s daughter Meghan, who was angered the most by Trump’s senseless attacks on her beloved father since 2016, who gave vent to the family’s deep-seated spite for the president.
Meghan McCain opened the memorial service to her father with a tearful and impassioned tribute, proudly holding aloft her father’s legacy as a direct challenge to Trump. And in her loud rebuke of Trump and what he stands for, Meghan presented the Republican Party with a clear choice as to the road ahead: her father’s with its compassion and true patriotism and Trump’s with its hatreds and profiteering love of country.
Again and again, Meghan called her father a “great man.”
“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,” she in a voice rent by tears and anger.
“John Sidney McCain III was many things. He was a sailor, he was an aviator, he was a husband, he was a warrior, he was a prisoner, he was a hero, he was a congressman, he was a senator, he was nominee for president of the United States. These are all the titles and the roles of a life that has been well-lived. They’re not the greatest of his titles nor the most important of his roles.
“He was a great man. 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 that live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served.
“He was a great fire who burned bright.” But it was one powerful sentence that summed up Meghan McCain’s and her family’s feeling towards Trump.
“The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great.” That stunning remark, so clearly a slap to the face of Trump, was greeted by loud applause.
McCain was buried Sunday at the cemetery of the U.S. Naval Academy. At his request, McCain was buried next to his best friend, Admiral Chuck Larson, who died in 2014. Larson was his classmate at the academy.
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