It’s been said over the past few days that the pomp, circumstance and pageantry associated with U.S. Sen. John McCain’s funeral is reserved usually for presidents of the United States.
Well, to my mind, the senator deserved all the tributes — and the accompanying ritual — that he received.
The great man’s six decades of public service all alone was worthy of the salute bestowed to him.
The eulogies delivered in Phoenix by former Vice President Joe Biden and in Washington by former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush spoke volumes about the nature of the ceremony that the late U.S. senator planned for his farewell.
It was Vice President Biden who introduced himself to the crowd assembled by saying, “I’m Joe Biden; I am a Democrat: and I loved John McCain.”
And so it went as the nation poured out its heart to memorialize the iconic Republican lawmaker.
I was glad that the ceremonies didn’t dwell too heavily on the single aspect of McCain’s service to the country — his five-plus years as a Vietnam War prisoner. But it was there. It was impossible to set that part of his sacrifice aside.
The last public figure to get this kind of sendoff was President Ford, who died in 2006. Then it fell to others to deliver such a heartfelt salute to a man who fought a valiant battle against disease.
He already had battled his wartime captors. And he won that fight.
Sen. John McCain was the rare public figure who emerged even bigger after he lost the toughest political battles of his life: his unsuccessful campaign for the GOP presidential nomination in 2000 and his losing bid for the office in the 2008 election against Barack Obama.
With that, the nation has bid farewell to a gallant warrior and a true-blue American hero.
May this sometimes irascible man rest in peace.
As he said of himself, Sen. McCain “lived and died a proud American.”
The country he loved and served with honor and distinction is better because he came along.