At the cathedral, the coffin was brought into the vast chamber and a bourdon bell tolled. The United States Naval Academy Glee Club and Navy Band Brass Ensemble performed music that included the Navy Hymn, “My Country, ’Tis of Thee,” “Amazing Grace” and “America the Beautiful.”
Cindy McCain sat bereft but remarkably composed throughout before finally weeping and leaning on her son Jack’s shoulder during Renée Fleming’s rendition of “Danny Boy.” Roberta McCain, the senator’s 106-year-old mother, was also on hand, quietly grieving.
At Mr. McCain’s request, former Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, an independent Democrat from Connecticut, and former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger also spoke. Mr. McCain said earlier this year that he wished he had picked Mr. Lieberman as his running mate in 2008 instead of Sarah Palin, who was not invited to Saturday’s service.
The senator’s son Jimmy McCain, wearing his military uniform, read “Requiem,” by Robert Louis Stevenson, the same verses the senator used to end his most recent book. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina; former Senator Kelly Ayotte, Republican of New Hampshire; and Sidney McCain, another daughter, all read from Scripture.
The honorary pallbearers were a who’s who of the senator’s life and across-the-aisle friendships, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, the actor Warren Beatty and a bevy of current and former senators, advisers, fund-raisers and friends. A prominent Russian dissident, Vladimir Kara-Murza, was also included, underscoring the senator’s longstanding opposition to the authoritarian government of President Vladimir V. Putin.
The senator’s remains will be interred on Sunday at the United States Naval Academy Cemetery, next to his lifelong friend and 1958 academy classmate, Adm. Charles R. Larson.
“Home is the sailor,” Stevenson wrote, “home from the sea.”