Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Sen. John McCain, a true and honorable American hero, died Aug. 25 from brain cancer and in the final months of his storied career of service spanning 60 years still fought for decency in American politics. His last great act of patriotism — refusing to invite Donald Trump to his funeral.
McCain, who died four days short of his 82nd birthday, is said to have made this stunning decision in May 2017 in the wake of the funeral of Barbara Bush, late wife of former president George HW Bush. He was insulted Trump didn’t attend Mrs. Bush’s funeral in Houston. This, because she and her husband said publicly they didn’t vote for Trump in the 2016 election.
That insult clinched McCain’s decision to ban Trump, his political enemy, from attending his funeral. The personal animosity between both men is Trump’s doing. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump infamously said he didn’t consider McCain a war hero because he was captured by the enemy and came home alive.
These were cowardly words from a man who dodged the draft five times in order to avoid serving his country in the Vietnam War. In contrast, Lt. Commander McCain flew 32 combat missions over North Vietnam as a U.S. Navy pilot and was shot down in 1967. He spent six years as a prisoner-of-war and was subjected to torture so severe he was disfigured by these beatings for life.
For his military service, McCain was awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, and a Purple Heart.
McCain asked former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush to be eulogists at his funeral service, which will be held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Both former presidents have accepted. Trump will be represented by Vice-President Mike Pence.
McCain faced his final cancer diagnosis with courage, saying that “every life has to end one way or another.” Asked how he wanted to be remembered, McCain said, “He served his country, and not always right — made a lot of mistakes, made a lot of errors — but served his country, and, I hope we could add, honorably.”
In a memoir published in May, McCain wrote he hated to leave the world, but had no complaints.
“It’s been quite a ride. I’ve known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war, and helped make peace,” wrote McCain. “I’ve lived very well and I’ve been deprived of all comforts. I’ve been as lonely as a person can be and I’ve enjoyed the company of heroes. I’ve suffered the deepest despair and experienced the highest exultation.
“I made a small place for myself in the story of America and the history of my times.”
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