Former president George W. Bush gave a heartfelt eulogy yesterday morning at Senator John McCain’s funeral that was held at the National Cathedral in Washington. Former presidents and dignitaries have been honored there since 1901, most recent being former President Gerald Ford’s funeral in 2007.
“Wherever John passed throughout the world, people immediately knew there was a leader in their midst,” Bush said.
“John was above all a man with a code. He lived by a set of public virtues that brought strength and purpose to his life and to his country. He was courageous, with a courage that frightened his captors, and inspired his countrymen. He was honest, no matter whom it offended. Presidents were not spared. He was honorable. always recognizing that his opponents were still patriots and human beings. He loved freedom with a passion of a man who knew its absence. He respected the dignity inherent in every life, a dignity that does not stop at borders and cannot be erased by dictators.”
“Perhaps above all John detested the abuse of power, could not abide bigots and swaggering. He spoke up for the little guy, forgotten people in forgotten places,” Bush said.
“John has moved on. He would probably not want us to dwell on it, but we are better for his presence among us. The world is smaller for his departure, and we will remember him as he was, unwavering, undimmed, unequalled,” said Bush in close.
According to CNN’s Jeff Zeleny, Barack Obama and Bush received phone calls in April asking if they’d consider giving eulogies at McCain’s funeral when the time came. Both men immediately agreed.
McCain fought for unity in his last days and wanted it reflected at his funeral.
He called us all to action in his goodbye statement to the American people:
We are 325 million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do.
We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil. We are the custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad. We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to.