WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush prepared on Saturday to honor the late John McCain, the longtime senator from Arizona and Vietnam war hero whose bids for the White House were dashed by the two men.
Joint service members of a military casket team carry the casket of Senator John McCain from the US Capitol to a motorcade that will ferry him to a funeral service at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, USA, 01 September 2018. McCain died 25 August, 2018 from brain cancer at his ranch in Sedona, Arizona, USA. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War, served two terms in the US House of Representatives, and was elected to five terms in the US Senate. McCain also ran for president twice, and was the Republican nominee in 2008. Jim Lo Scalzo/POOL Via REUTERS
McCain’s body, which had lain in state at the U.S. Capitol, arrived at the Washington National Cathedral after his procession first stopped at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where his wife, Cindy McCain, laid a wreath to honor those who died in the war.
Obama and Bush, a Democrat and a Republican, were joined by a who’s who of U.S. political leaders, Vietnam-era officials and dignitaries paying tribute to the statesman and former prisoner of war, who died Aug. 25 of brain cancer, days shy of his 82nd birthday..
President Donald Trump, who feuded publicly with McCain and criticized his war record, did not attend. Members of his administration, including his daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and national security adviser John Bolton were present.
McCain’s family had made clear that Trump was not welcome at memorial services in Arizona and Washington or at Sunday’s private burial service in Annapolis, Maryland, at the U.S. Naval Academy. McCain was a member of the Academy’s Class of 1958.
Trump spent the morning sending tweets about other subjects.
Inside the cathedral luminaries including comedian Jay Leno, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Senator Bob Dole and others visited with other leaders while a powerful pipe organ played music in the background.
McCain was a leading voice for revamping the country’s immigration, campaign finance and environmental laws. But it was his military service, punctuated by years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, that molded McCain’s political life.
McCain, who rose to the rank of captain in the U.S. Navy, was shot down over Hanoi while on a bombing mission in 1967.
Held as a prisoner until 1973, McCain was tortured by his North Vietnamese captors in a jail that Americans dubbed the “Hanoi Hilton.”
Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Chizu Nomiyama
Source : Denver Post