Five days of public mourning of the late Sen. John McCain were slated to be punctuated Sunday with a private ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland.
The Vietnam prisoner of war-turned-maverick politician died Aug. 25 at 81 after a battle with brain cancer. He lied in state at the U.S. Capitol in the days that followed, an honor bestowed on only a precious few.
His more intimate burial rites in Annapolis come at the heels of a service at Washington's National Cathedral that featured eulogies from former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
"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 of his former rival. "It’s a politics that pretends to be brave and tough but in fact is born of fear. John called upon us to be bigger than that. He called upon us to be better than that."
Bush also made what some saw as a dig at the rhetoric and style of President Trump during his honoring of a fellow Republican who he, like Obama, outran to become commander-in-chief.
"America is better than this," Bush said, invoking McCain's intolerance of "bigots and swaggering despots."
While no one mentioned Trump by name and he was not invited to the service, McCain's daughter's speech perhaps came closest to invoking the president who'd so publicly feuded with McCain.
"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," McCain said. "The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great."
As USA Today noted, McCain was set to be laid to rest in a plot right beside his friend and fellow Navyman Chuck Larson.
McCain's office said attendees and speakers were to include family, friends, Naval Academy Class of 1958 peers and military leaders.