The nation honors Sen. John McCain
One figure who was notably absent from Saturday's event: President Donald Trump, with whom McCain frequently feuded and whom he did not want to attend his memorial services.
Instead, Trump is visiting one of his golf courses in Sterling, Virginia, and has tweeted throughout this morning's service about unrelated topics, including trade negotiations with Canada.
The White House has not said what the President will do there, including whether he plans to tune into any of Sen. McCain���s memorial service.
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger gave his tribute at Sen. John McCain's service, and said that the US "has had the good fortune, that, at times of national trial, a few great personalities have emerged" and "John McCain was one of those gifts of destiny."
Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-Independent, said that in 2008 John McCain "had a far out idea of asking a Democrat to be his running mate"///:/// him.
Lieberman said: "When he first talked to me about it, I said, 'You know, John, I'm really honored, but I don't see how you can do it. Even though I won my last election as an independent, I'm still a registered Democrat.'" McCain's was "direct and really ennobling," Lieberman said.
"That's the point, Joe," McCain told him. "You're a Democrat, I'm a Republican. We could give our country the bipartisan leadership it needs for a change."
Ultimately, McCain chose Sarah Palin, and the rest is history.
The prospect of a Lieberman VP pick raised concerns among conservatives, CNN reported at the time.
Lieberman, an independent senator who was the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee, had been a vocal supporter of the war in Iraq, but he backed abortion rights.
Conservative activists feared at the time that if McCain picked him, it could drive away social conservatives who were already uneasy about his nomination.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, John McCain's longtime friend who was nearly a former running mate, said speaking today was one of the greatest honors of his life.
He spoke of hearing McCain tell people that there was a "special satisfaction that comes from serving a cause greater than yourself," and that it was a creed he lived by.
"The greater cause to which he devoted his life was America, not so much the country defined by its borders, but the America of our founding values, freedom, human rights, opportunity, democracy, and equal justice under law," Lieberman said.
"In John's life, he nobly served and advanced these American values, and remarkably his death seems to have reminded the American people that these values are what make us a great nation," he added. "Not the tribal partisanship, personal attack politics that have recently characterized our life."
The week of memorials celebrating McCain's life, Lieberman said, has lifted the country "above all that."
Meghan McCain, speaking at her father's memorial ceremony in Washington, D.C.'s National Cathedral, gave a forceful rebuke to the rhetoric coming out of the White House just a few miles away, defining the America of John McCain as one that is generous and welcoming, modest yet strong -- and already great.
"The America of John McCain is, yes, the America of Vietnam, fighting the fight, even in the most grim circumstances, even in the most distant, hostile corner of the world, standing for the life and liberty of other peoples in other lands," McCain said.
"The America of John McCain is generous and welcoming and bold. She's resourceful, confident, secure. She meets her responsibilities. She speaks quietly because she's strong. America does not boast because she has no need to. The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great."
The bipartisan crowd of dignitaries applauded.
Watch the powerful moment:
Meghan McCain, speaking through tears at her father's memorial service at Washington, D.C.'s National Cathedral, said that the family, friends, as well as current and former leaders were gathered there to "mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice, those that live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served."
"He was a great fire who burned bright," McCain continued, adding that she and her family had heard from many in the past several days who "stood in the warmth and light of his fire and found it illuminated what's best about them."
"We are grateful to them because they're grateful to him," she said.
And to his critics: "A few have resented that fire, for the light it cast upon them for the truth it revealed about their character. But my father never cared what they thought, and even that small number still have the opportunity as long as they draw breath to live up to the example of John McCain."
"I am here before you today saying the words I have never wanted to say, giving the speech, I have never wanted to give, feeling the loss I have never wanted to feel," she said at its opening. "My father is gone."
Friends, family and former presidents gathered this morning at Washington National Cathedral to honor the life of the late Sen. John McCain. The ceremony is beginning now.
Here are the moments to expect:
- Anthems in Procession by The Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of Washington
- Welcome by The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, Dean of Washington National Cathedral
- Hymn 608, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” (The Navy Hymn), sung by the congregation
- Tribute by Meghan McCain
- Reading of Poem, “The Requiem,” by Jimmy McCain
- Anthem, “My Country Tis of Thee,” sung by the congregation
- Tribute by Senator Joseph I. Lieberman
- Tribute by Dr. Henry A. Kissinger
- Anthem, “Battle Hymn of the Republic”
- Tribute by President George W. Bush
- Tribute by President Barack H. Obama
- Anthem, “Battle Hymn of the Republic”
- The Collect for Burial by The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, Dean of Washington National Cathedral
- Prayer for Those Who Grieve by The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, Dean of Washington National Cathedral
- Reading, Wisdom 3:1-5, 9, by Senator Kelly Ayotte
- Anthem, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” led by the Washington National Cathedral Choir
- Reading, 2 Corinthians 5:6-8, read by Sidney McCain
- Hymn, “How Great Though Art,” sung by the congregation
- Gospel, John 15:12-13, read by Senator Lindsey Graham
- Homily by Father Edward A. Reese, S.J.
- Musical Reflection, “Danny Boy,” sung by Renee Fleming
- The Lord’s Prayer
- The Prayers
- Concluding Prayer, led by The Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of Washington
- Anthem, “America the Beautiful”
- The Commendation, led by The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, Dean of Washington National Cathedral; The Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of Washington; and Father Edward A. Reese, S.J.
- The Blessing by The Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of Washington
- The Dismissal by The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, Dean of Washington National Cathedral
- Postlude, “Final,” from Symphony I, OP.14 and Piece d’orgue, BWV 572
The three former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, joined by former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton (a former senator, secretary of state, and Democratic nominee for president herself), are sitting in the first pew as the ceremony begins.
Former vice presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney are there, too.
Bush and Obama will give remarks.