The family of Sen. John McCain said their goodbyes to the late Senator inside the Capitol Rotunda, following Congressional leaders and Vice President Mike Pence paying their respects with official wreaths laid in front of McCain’s casket. (Aug. 31)
WASHINGTON – Roberta McCain – the 106-year-old mother of Sen. John McCain – got her first chance to say goodbye to her son Friday during a memorial service at the U.S. Capitol.
Sitting in a wheelchair, McCain’s elegant white-haired mother was pushed up to her son’s flag-draped coffin, where she made the sign of the cross before being wheeled away.
The scene touched members of the public watching the funeral on television.
Susan Mitchell tweeted that the image “just about broke my heart.”
Republican strategist Ana Navarro – a friend of McCain’s – tweeted that she had last seen Roberta and John McCain together six years ago, at Roberta’s 100th birthday celebration. She said their mutual adoration was obvious.
The senator died last Saturday of brain cancer at the age of 81 at his home in Arizona.
Roberta McCain was unable to attend her son’s memorial services earlier this week in Phoenix, Ariz., but she lives in Washington, D.C., and joined the rest of the McCain family at the Capitol on Friday.
During the service, Roberta McCain, dressed in white and black, held hands with her granddaughter, Meghan McCain, as they both wiped away tears.
Roberta McCain also plans to attend her son’s funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral on Saturday. Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will both offer eulogies there.
On Sunday, Roberta McCain – an admiral’s widow – plans to attend a private service and burial ceremony for the senator at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. He graduated from the Naval college and will be buried near a friend.
In his 2008 speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination, McCain said he would never have made it that far without his mother and “the strength of her character.”
“When I was growing up, my father was often at sea, and the job of raising my brother, sister and me would fall to my mother alone,” McCain said. “Roberta McCain gave us her love of life, her deep interest in the world, her strength, and her belief that we’re all meant to use our opportunities to make ourselves useful to our country.”
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