Former president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle were among the guests at John McCain’s Washington D.C. memorial on Sept. 1. Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner also made a surprise appearance.
Barack and Michelle Obama were among the many dignitaries and famous guests to attend John McCain’s memorial on Sept. 1. The late senator from Arizona – who died of brain cancer at the age of 81 on Aug. 25 – was remembered at a memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C. Of course, as a former Vietnam War hero and an elder congressman who ran for president twice, a number of politicians and famous faces were invited to the funeral, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush and his wife, former First Lady Laura Bush. The great and the good in Washington D.C., seemed to be there. Everyone bar the current POTUS, Donald Trump, who was left off the guest list. Although, surprisingly, the president’s oldest daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner made an appearance.
John McCain had more than a year to prepare for his death after receiving the grim brain cancer diagnosis in July 2017. Coincidentally, one of his best friends in the Senate, the late Ted Kennedy, died of the same condition on the exact same day, Aug. 25, nine years earlier. He was 77. Another victim of the disease was Beau Biden, the son of former Vice President, and close McCain family friend, Joe Biden. He died at 46 in 2015. Biden spoke at the memorial service for his former colleague and pal at the North Phoenix Baptist Church in Arizona on Aug. 30. Paying tribute the beloved maverick, he told the congregation, “Now John is going to take his rightful place in a long line of extraordinary leaders in this nation’s history, who in their time and in their way stood for freedom and stood for liberty and have made the American story the most improbable and most hopeful and most enduring story on earth.”
One person who did not attend the funeral was President Trump, who wasn’t invited as per Sen. McCain’s request. The two disagreed on many things when the Vietnam vet was alive, and Trump infamously once declared that he didn’t think the Republican was a war hero, because he got captured. (Sen. McCain was captured, imprisoned and tortured for more than five years in Vietnam, from 1967 until his release in 1973.) Since his death the president has only begrudgingly paid tribute to him and in the hours after the senator’s passing was announced – rather than acknowledge the dad-of-seven’s public service and heroism – he merely tweeted, “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”
But Sen. McCain got the last word in his final farewell to the nation – a letter read out posthumously by his former presidential campaign manager Rick Davis at a news conference in Phoenix, Arizona on Aug. 27. He wrote, “Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.” Sen. McCain signed off, “Farewell, fellow Americans. God bless you, and God bless America.”