American Senator John McCain will be buried at the U.S. Naval Academy where he began his military service more than 60 years ago.
The former Navy pilot, prisoner of war, congressman, presidential candidate and senator died at the age of 81 after a yearlong battle with brain cancer.
A private burial service next Sunday will bring to a close nearly a week of events to honor McCain.
McCain will lie in state Wednesday at the Capitol building of his home state Arizona. A funeral will be held Thursday. Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will speak at the service.
On Friday, McCain will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, where the public can pay their respects. On Saturday, his body will pass the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and arrive for a funeral at the Washington National Cathedral.
Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the two men who defeated McCain in his campaigns for the presidency, are expected to speak at the service.
U.S. President Donald Trump is not expected to attend any of the services. Two administration officials told the Associated Press that McCain’s family had asked Trump not to attend.
McCain and Trump had clashed several times in the past.
In 2015, as a presidential candidate, Trump questioned McCain’s public image as a war hero who was imprisoned by the North Vietnamese. Trump said, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
McCain later condemned Trump’s policy toward Russia. He called Trump’s joint press conference earlier this year in Finland with Russian President Vladimir Putin “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”
The Washington Post reported that Trump rejected the publication of a statement members of his administration wrote to praise McCain. The president sent out a Tweet instead. It said, “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you.”
The American flags at the White House were lowered to half-staff to honor McCain. That means the flags were lowered to half of the usual height.
The U.S. Flag Code notes that flags are to be lowered to half-staff “on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress.” However, presidents often sign proclamations to extend that period of time.
By Monday morning, the flags at the White House were back to full-staff. A leading veterans group sharply criticized the move.
Later in the day, Trump released a statement.
It read, “I respect Senator John McCain’s service to our country and, in his honor, have signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of his interment.”
Words honoring McCain came in from around the world.
From Vietnam, Tran Trong Duyet said, “When I learnt about his death early this morning, I feel very sad. I would like to send condolences to his family. I think it’s the same feeling for all Vietnamese people as he has greatly contributed to the development of Vietnam-U.S. relations.” Duyet ran the prison that kept McCain after his plane was shot down over Hanoi during the Vietnam War.
Many Vietnamese paid respects to the senator at the U.S. Embassy. They included Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh. Others left flowers at Truc Bach Lake where McCain crashed his plane.
French President Emmanuel Macron commented on Twitter. He said that McCain “was a true American hero. He devoted his entire life to his country.”
Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, praised McCain’s support for the Jewish state. He said, it came “from his belief in democracy and freedom.”
And Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, called McCain “a tireless fighter for a strong trans-Atlantic alliance. His significance went well beyond his own country.”
I’m Ashley Thompson.
Hai Do adapted this story for VOA Learning English from AP News stories. Mario Ritter was the editor.
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Words in This Story
proclamation - n. an official statement or announcement made by a person in power or by a government
interment - n. the act of burying a dead person
condolences –n. expressions of sympathy and sadness especially when someone has suffered the death of a family member or friend
contribute –v. to help to cause something to happen
devoted –adj. to have a strong love or loyalty for something or someone
entire –adj. complete or full: not lacking or leaving out any part
significance - n. the quality of having notable worth or influence