Sen. John McCain lost his battle to brain cancer August 25, 2018, at the age of 81. McCain spent 60 years serving his country and forged his path from prisoner of war to longtime Republican senator from Arizona and two-time presidential contender. The war hero not only leaves behind his wife and five children but McCain also leaves a bold statement—and charge—for the American people.
McCain spent his last days planning his funeral and penning a farewell letter to the American people. In his farewell, he expressed gratitude to his family, his fellow Arizonans and the American people. He reminded Americans that we are more alike than we are different.
McCain challenged us to look past our differences of opinions and political affiliations, but to instead remember that we are all working for one common cause."We are 325 million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do."
McCain also appeared to have a not-so-subtle message for Trump."We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been."
McCain's use of "greatness" and reference to "walls" made it clear that this was a direct criticism of President Trump. Another blow to the president, he is not invited to McCain's funeral—and the late senator's digs don't stop there.
He perfectly planned his funeral to orchestrate yet another bold statement.
His first statement will be viewed worldwide. The funeral procession—usually the most watched portion of televised funerals. In a final prod to Trump and Putin, McCain asked Russian dissident—a person who opposes the official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state—Vladimir Kara-Murza to be one of his pallbearers.
Another bold and unexpected statement made by McCain—asking both George W. Bush and Barack Obama to deliver a eulogy at his funeral. Both being rivals at some point in McCain's political career this action in itself aligns with McCain's charge in remembering the commonalities of even those you may "vilify" or disagree most.
In the midst of one of America's greatest divides, McCain leaves us with a statement that calls for change and a charge to the American people—and its leaders—to be the united nation our founders sought us to be and to uphold the ideals that are rooted in the foundation of our country.