John McCain laid to rest at the Naval Academy cemetery beside close friend and classmate Admiral Chuck Larson
A private service at the academy's chapel followed by a procession to the burial site marked the farewell to the former senator John McCain.
Sunday, September 2, marked the end of the journey for the former senator John McCain as he was finally laid to rest. It capped the week-long memorial service and remembrances held in honor of the senator who died on August 25, at the age of 81 after succumbing to brain cancer.
The funeral procession left the Naval Academy's chapel after a memorial service for McCain. His widow, Cindy McCain, and other family members joined friends, admirers and officers of the Navy in following a horse-drawn caisson carrying the casket to a grassy hill in the US Naval Academy cemetery. Also present at the service were members of McCain’s Class of 1958, military leaders and Naval Academy midshipmen.
The turnout for his funeral was certainly impressive and despite the somber mood that prevailed over the whole journey one could also experience a sense of pride as the procession moved in sight of the Severn River accompanied by midshipmen present and future. McCain had already chosen his final resting place and his desire was that he be buried beside his classmate and friend Admiral Chuck Larson. He had written in a recent memoir that he wanted to be buried next to his friend, “near where it began.” The BBC reports that Larson had reserved four plots in the cemetery for the pair and their wives before his death in 2014. "Chuck has his wingman back now," the late admiral's widow, Sarah Larson, told CNN.
McCain had graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958. He was a pilot in the United States Navy from 1958 until 1981. From 1967 to 1973 he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He received numerous awards, including the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and Distinguished Flying Cross. While the procession was underway, overhead, a flyover of military aircraft also paid tribute to the much-admired senator.
Even during the memorial service that was held on Saturday, family members and associates had used glowing terms to remember the former senator. His daughter Meghan McCain had delivered an emotional tribute to her father on Saturday morning. "John McCain was defined by love," she said. "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," Meghan said in her eulogy.
Former Vice-President Joe Biden also gave an emotional eulogy at McCain's memorial service at the North Phoenix Baptist Church in Arizona. The former vice-president's words during the ceremony were a tribute to the life and his friendship with McCain. “To paraphrase Shakespeare, we shall not see his like again,” Biden had said at the ceremony.