Meghan McCain, the daughter of John McCain, was the first person to speak at her father’s funeral at Washington National Cathedral on Saturday morning (Sept. 1)
After making the decision to halt his treatments for brain cancer, Senator John McCain passed away on Saturday, August 25. He was 81 years old.
Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton along with their wives, former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton were seated in the front row of the service to pay their respects. Both George Bush and Barack Obama were asked by John to give eulogies at the service.
The former leaders were among many political dignitaries, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryank, Senator Lindsay Graham, Senator Chuck Schumer and pallbearers Joe Biden, Warren Beatty and Michael Bloomberg, to say goodbye to their friend and colleague.
Meghan began her speech quoting a line from “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” “The World is a fine place and worth and worth the fighting for, and I hate very much to leave it,” she read.
“My father had every reason to think the world was an awful place. My father had every reason to think the world was not worth fighting for. My father had every reason to think the world was worth leaving. He did not think any of those things. Like the hero of his favorite book, John McCain took the opposite view. You’ve had to have a lot of luck to have had such a good life. I am here before you today saying the words I never wanted to say, giving the speech I had never wanted to give. Feeling the loss I had never wanted to feel. My father is gone,” Meghan said through tears.
“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 a nominee for President of the United States. These are all the titles and the roles of a life that has been well lived. They are 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 who live lives of comfort and privilege, while he suffered and served.”
She went on to describe John’s life and that his best roles in life were as father and husband. “The best of John McCain, the greatest of his titles and the most important of his roles was as a father,” she said going on to describe the ways her father was there for her.
“I know who he was. I know what defined him. I got to see it every single day of my blessed life. John McCain was not defined by prison, by the Navy, by the Senate, by the Republican party or by any single one of deeds of his absolutely extraordinary life. John McCain was defined by love,” she added.
In a not so subtle dig at President Trump, who was at odds with John and not in attendance at the request of McCain, Meghan received applause when she spoke the words, “The America of John McCain is generous and welcoming and bold. She is resourceful and confident and secure. She meets her responsibilities. She speaks quietly because she is strong. America does not boast because she has no need to. The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great.”
Dad I love you, I always have. All that I am, all that I hope. All that I dream is grounded in what you taught me. You loved me and you showed me what love must be,” Meghan said as fought back tears.
“Like so many other heroes, you leave us draped in the flag you love. You’ve defended it, you sacrificed it, you have always honored it. It is good to remember we are Americans. We don’t put our heroes on pedestals just to remember them. We raise them up because we want to emulate their virtues. This is how we honor them and this is how we will honor you. My father is gone. My father is gone and my sorrow is immense. But I know his life and I know it was great because it was good. As much as I hate to see him go, I do know how it ended.
“I know that on the afternoon of August 25, in front of Oak Creek in Cornville, Arizona surrounded by a family he loved so much, an old man shook off the scars of battle one last time and arose a new man to pilot one last flight up and up and up. Busting clouds left and right. straight on through to the kingdom of heaven. And he slipped the earthly bonds, put out his hand and touched the face of God. I love you dad.”
R.I.P. John McCain