Senator John McCain of Arizona was buried Sunday at his college alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, after five days of remembrances of him as a war hero, senior statesman to the world and American patriot.
McCain's final resting place was next to his longtime friend and academy classmate, Admiral Chuck Larson, who died in 2014.
McCain, a former aviator who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than five years in the 1960s, made one of his last public appearances at the academy last October, when he told the student body the school prepared him for challenges he had yet to confront.
"I would discover that a sense of honor had been imparted to me here that would speak to me in the darkest hours," he said. "And so I came back, again and again, to the place where I learned to dread dishonor."View full gallery
A private memorial service was held at the academy's chapel, followed by a procession to the grassy burial site overlooking the Severn River. Hundreds of people lined the roadways leading to Annapolis to pay tribute to McCain as a hearse transported his casket from nearby Washington.
About 4 p.m. (1600 UTC), a military aircraft flyover honored the former Navy pilot.
McCain's longtime friend in the Senate, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said he would tell the audience that "nobody loved a soldier more than John McCain" and that he would "have their back, travel where they go, never let them be forgotten. The public may be tired of this war called the war on terrorism, but John McCain never was. And he had their back and he gave them what they need to win a fight we can't afford to lose."
On Saturday at Washington's National Cathedral, former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush eulogized McCain, along with McCain's daughter, Meghan, all three decrying the fractious American political scene in Washington that McCain himself inveighed against.
"Isn't that the spirit we celebrate this week, that striving to be better, to do better, to be worthy of the great inheritance that our founders bestowed?" Obama asked. "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."
Without mentioning President Donald Trump by name, Obama added, "It's a politics that pretends to be brave and tough, but in fact, is born in fear. John called on us to be bigger than that. He called on us to be better than that."
In his eulogy for his fellow Republican, former Bush said McCain "was honorable, always recognizing that his opponents were still patriots and human beings."
But as Bush continued, he, too, rejected the status quo of Washington politics, which he said is contrary to McCain's personal beliefs.
"He respected the dignity inherent in every life, a dignity that does not stop at borders and cannot be erased by dictators," Bush said. "Perhaps above all, John detested the abuse of power."
Bush and Obama were invited to remember their friend at the service, which McCain planned as he battled brain cancer. McCain lost the Republican presidential nomination to Bush in 2000 and the presidential election to Obama in 2008.
Bush and Obama were among hundreds of family, friends, former congressional colleagues and staff members who gathered at the cathedral and sat before McCain's flag-draped coffin.
It was also attended by McCain's wife, Cindy, his seven children and his 106-year-old mother.
McCain's daughter, Meghan, also paid tribute to her father with a veiled reference to Trump and his "make America great again" mantra.
"America does not boast because she does not need to. The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great," she said to applause.
"We live in an era where we knock down old American heroes for all their imperfections when no leader wants to admit to fault or failure," Meghan said and added her father was "an exception and you gave us an ideal to strive for."
McCain died a week ago at age 81 after a yearlong battle with brain cancer.