McCain honored at funeral by Bush and Obama

Photo courtesy of Xavier University | Sen. John McCain spoke at Xavier as part of his 2008 election bid.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, 81, passed away from brain cancer on Aug. 25 at his Arizona ranch. Services in Arizona began in Phoenix on Wednesday, Aug. 29, and concluded the next day. At a memorial service on Thursday at Northern Phoenix Baptist Church, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke highly of McCain, saying he “always thought of John as a brother.”

Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush gave eulogies during the funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., at the request of the late senator.

“In the end, I got to enjoy one of life’s great gifts: the friendship of John McCain,” Bush said of his former GOP rival. McCain was Bush’s primary challenger in the 2000 election. McCain won the New Hampshire primary in February but withdrew in March after falling behind in delegates. McCain eventually endorsed the future president.

Obama said he expressed surprise when McCain called him asking him to speak but eventually realized it made perfect sense. Obama defeated McCain in the 2008 election, winning 264-171.

“It showed his irreverence, his sense of humor” Obama said, “most of all it showed a largeness of spirit, an ability to see past differences in search of common ground.”
A private funeral at the Naval Academy on Sunday concluded the memorial services. McCain was buried at the Naval Academy’s Cemetery next to his classmate and longtime friend, Chuck Larson.

Xavier first-year Thomas Platt shared his thoughts on McCain’s death. “Whether you agree with John McCain’s politics or not, he was a true American hero and was willing to make any sacrifice to protect the country he loved,” Platt said.

McCain’s “Straight Talk Express” bus made a campaign stop at Xavier for a town hall meeting in 2008 while attempting to secure the Republican nomination for president. It would be the late senator’s only visit to campus.

By: Mike Marchese | Guest Writer