One day after a somber ceremony at the Arizona Capitol, the late Sen. John McCain’s family, friends and fellow politicians gathered at his memorial service to remember happier times.
Joe Biden delivered a tearful eulogy at North Phoenix Baptist Church on Thursday, August 30, in honor of his close friend of four decades. McCain died at the age of 81 on Saturday, August 25, after a battle with glioblastoma, the same aggressive form of brain cancer that took the life of Biden’s 46-year-old son, Beau, in May 2015.
“My name is Joe Biden. I’m a Democrat, and I love John McCain,” the former vice president, 75, said before taking a long pause to wipe tears from his eyes. “But the way I look at it, the way I thought about it, was that I always thought of John as a brother. We had a hell of a lot of family fights. We go back a long way.”
Biden told fellow mourners that there will be times when they feel sorrow after seeing photos and reminders of McCain, but he assured them that one day those memories will bring only happiness.
“You know you’re going to make it when the image of your dad, your husband, your friend crosses your mind and a smile comes to your lip before a tear comes to your eye,” the former Delaware senator said. “I promise you — I give you my word, I promise you, this I know — that day will come.”
Members of the National Guard carried the Vietnam war hero’s casket into the church earlier in the day. His widow, Cindy, followed behind with the couple’s children Meghan, Jack, Jimmy and Bridget. (They also shared Douglas, Andrew and Sidney.) Meghan, 33, broke down in tears at a private service a day earlier.
McCain will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Friday, August 31. A funeral service will be held at the National Cathedral the next day, with speakers including former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. McCain will be buried at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, on Sunday, September 2.
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