John McCain Funerals Finally End

September/02/2018 9:13AM
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This from API:

WASHINGTON (AP) — John McCain is being laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy after a five-day procession that served as a final call to arms for a nation he warned could lose its civility and sense of shared purpose.

The private ceremony in Annapolis, Maryland, was as carefully planned as the rest of McCain’s farewell tour, which began in Arizona after he died Aug. 25 from brain cancer and stretched to Washington.

On Saturday, speeches by his daughter Meghan and two former presidents — Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama — remembered McCain as a patriot who could bridge painful rivalries. But even as their remarks made clear their admiration for him, they represented a repudiation of President Donald Trump’s brand of tough-talking, divisive politics.

“So much of our politics, our public life, our public discourse can seem small and mean and petty, trafficking in bombast and insult and phony controversies and manufactured outrage,” Obama said. “It’s a politics that pretends to be brave and tough but in fact is born in fear. John called on us to be bigger than that. He called on us to be better than that.”

McCain was gone, said Bush, who called his 2000 rival for the GOP presidential nomination a friend.

“John’s voice will always come as a whisper over our shoulder — we are better than this, America is better than this,” Bush said.

But it was Meghan McCain’s emotional remarks that most bluntly rebuked Trump, who had mocked her father for getting captured in Vietnam. At the pulpit of the spectacular cathedral, with Trump’s daughter Ivanka in the audience, McCain’s daughter delivered a broadside against the uninvited president.

“The America of John McCain,” she declared with a steely stare, “has no need to be made great again because America was always great.”

The audience of Washington’s military, civilian and other leaders burst into applause.

With that, McCain’s family, including his 106-year-old mother, Roberta, is escorting his remains to Annapolis on Sunday.

McCain’s choice of burial location was as deliberate as the other details of his procession. He picked the historic site overlooking the Severn River over the grandeur of Arlington National Cemetery, where his father and grandfather, both admirals, are buried. Larson, McCain’s beloved friend from their Class of 1958, had reserved four plots at the storied cemetery — two for McCain and himself, and two for their wives, now widows. Larson died in 2014, and McCain wrote in his recent memoir that he wanted to be buried next to his friend, “near where it began.”

Trump was to remain in Washington. He spent Saturday tweeting and golfing in Virginia.


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So, it’s finally over. The man who was best at self-promotion proved he could still demonstrate that skill from the grave. Buried at the site of the institution where he finished 5th from last in his class. A place he never would have been accepted had dad and granddad not been admirals.

He recalled how “their disapproval was measured in the hundreds of miles of extra duty I marched in my time here. To be honest, I wasn’t too thrilled to be here back then, and I was as relieved to graduate.” I guess going over the wall into town 4 nights a week should have be overlooked if dad and granddad are admirals.

Or as classmate Rupert MacLean put it, “This place is pretty structured, and John doesn’t deal well with structure.”

McCain still felt a deep commitment to the academy. He was an outspoken member of its board of visitors and returned to deliver speeches that still resonate.

In 1997 he spoke at the academy’s Forrestal Lecture Series.

“Virtue is not determined in moments of public attention to our behavior,” he told the midshipmen. “Courage, devotion, humility, compassion — all the noble qualities of humanity — are not practiced in pursuit of public approval.”

Translation: I milked every minute of my 5 1/2 year time in the Hanoi Hilton into a career far beyond my time at Annapolis justified.

McCain will be buried Sunday at the Naval Academy Cemetery next to classmate and close friend Adm. Charles Larson.

Let’s talk about character which seemed to be the theme of this endless drama. Which wife gets buried with John at Annapolis?

McCain likes to illustrate his moral fibre by referring to his five years as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam. And to demonstrate his commitment to family values, the 81-year-old former US Navy pilot pays warm tribute to his beautiful blonde wife, Cindy, with whom he has four children.

But there is another Mrs McCain who casts a ghostly shadow over the Senator’s claim to be the paragon of character and virtue.  She is seldom seen and rarely written about, despite being mother to McCain’s three eldest children.

And yet, had events turned out differently, it would be she, rather than Cindy, who would be at Annapolis today. She is McCain’s first wife, Carol, who was a famous beauty and a successful swimwear model when they married in 1965.

She was the woman McCain dreamed of during his long incarceration and torture in Vietnam’s infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ prison and the woman who faithfully stayed at home looking after the children and waiting anxiously for news.

But when McCain returned to America in 1973 to a fanfare of publicity and a handshake from Richard Nixon, he discovered his wife had been disfigured in a terrible car crash three years earlier. Her car had skidded on icy roads into a telegraph pole on Christmas Eve, 1969. Her pelvis and one arm were shattered by the impact and she suffered massive internal injuries.

When Carol was discharged from hospital after six months of life-saving surgery, the prognosis was bleak. In order to save her legs, surgeons

had been forced to cut away huge sections of shattered bone, taking with it her tall, willowy figure. She was confined to a wheelchair and was forced to use a catheter.

Through sheer hard work, Carol learned to walk again. But when John McCain came home from Vietnam, she had gained a lot of weight and bore little resemblance to her old self.

Today, she stands at just 5ft4in and still walks awkwardly, with a pronounced limp. Her body is held together by screws and metal plates and, at 80, her face is worn by wrinkles that speak of decades of silent suffering.

For nearly 30 years, Carol has maintained a dignified silence about the accident, McCain and their divorce. But last week at the bungalow where she now lives at Virginia Beach, a faded seaside resort 200 miles south of Washington, she told The Mail on Sunday how McCain divorced her in 1980 and married Cindy, 18 years his junior and the heir to an Arizona brewing fortune, just one month later.

John and Cindy McCain

Golden couple: John and Cindy McCain at a charity gala in Los Angeles

Carol insists she remains on good terms with her ex-husband, who agreed as part of their divorce settlement to pay her medical costs for life. ‘I have no bitterness,’

she says. ‘My accident is well recorded. I had 23 operations, I am five inches shorter than I used to be and I was in hospital for six months. It was just awful, but it wasn’t the reason for my divorce.

‘My marriage ended because John McCain didn’t want to be 40, he wanted to be 25. You know that happens…it just does.’

Some of McCain’s acquaintances are less forgiving, however. They portray the politician as a self-centred womaniser who effectively abandoned his crippled wife to ‘play the field’. They accuse him of finally settling on Cindy, a former rodeo beauty queen, for financial reasons.

Well, that’s a story seldom told the last 40 years. There are far too many of these stories about a man who used his dad and granddad to get into Annapolis and keep him there despite his “going over the wall into town to drink ” which was a an expellable offense. His ditching planes in flight school which would have gotten most kicked out, etc. Let’s not forget the Keating five and that scandal. Virtue, my ass, Clinton style.

Suffice it to say, his image was one made by John himself. A midget minded egotist who accomplished little in life beyond the courageous stay in the Hanoi Hilton for five years.

It’s a sad story of the politicians in DC, past and present, that they choose to follow John’s script for this endless funeral which were designed to elevate a very ordinary senator to grandeur and take one last shot at the man who did what McCain couldn’t do, become president. George W Bush, still upset that his brother didn’t become the third useless Bush president, got his chance too.

Meanwhile, Trump, who has been putting in 18 hour days between making America great again and campaigning for Republicans to keep the House and Senate, played golf.

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