A short while ago I watched the ceremonial arrival of Sen. John McCain’s remains at Joint Base Andrews, formerly known as Andrews Air Force Base just outside Washington, DC..
The senator’s remains were transported on a plane from the presidential fleet from Arizona to Washington, DC. Folks have been erroneously calling the plane “Air Force One,” however, AF1 is only a call name for when the president is aboard.
The hydraulic “loader” was moved in place to avoid bringing the casket down the very narrow airstairs. It recalled another scene, nearly fifty-five years ago, when President John Kennedy’s remains were returned to Washington DC from Dallas following his assassination.
In 1963, a much shocked 34-year-old widow, still wearing the blood splattered garments, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and members of the slain president’s staff rode down the loader with the president’s remains. This evening, the McCain family waited off to the side as the senator’s casket was lowered in the loader for the military honor guard, also known as pallbearers, to escort it to the awaiting hearse.
The two scenes, fifty-five years apart, are quite different but eerily similar.
- Both Kennedy and McCain served in the military
- Both Kennedy and McCain served in The House of Representatives
- Both Kennedy and McCain served in The United States Senate
- Both Kennedy and McCain were presidential candidates
- Both Kennedy and McCain had mothers who outlived them
- Mrs. Kennedy lived until the age of 104 and Mrs. McCain is currently 106
Both scenes contain grieving families.
As former Vice-President Biden quoted Shakespeare at Sen. McCain’s Arizona funeral, earlier today, “We shall never see the likes of him, again.”
Rest in peace, Senator John McCain…