tv Sen. John Mc Cain Arizona Memorial Service CSPAN August 31, 2018 5:09am-7:00am EDT
>> senator john mccain was remembered in a service. national, state, and local officials joined the mccain family and friends to pay tribute to the late senator including former vice president joe biden. arizona cardinals football playler larry fitzgerald, grant attorney general woods, and senator mccain friend tommy espinosa. this is just under two hours. woods, and senator
>> you may be seated. on behalf >> you may be seated. on behalf of of the mccain family, thank you also much for being here this morning as we remember and celebrate the life of senator john mccain. a true american hero, a man loved by this church, a man loved by this nation and the city, a man of courage, a man of faith, and the man who dearly love to family. faith, and the man who dearly loved his family. as we celebrate and get into the service, i want to offer you a the word the word om
of god that will bring us comfort. it comes from the book of first thessalonians chapter four. versus 13 through 14. the word of god says this. brothers and sisters, we not want to to be uninformed by those who sleep in death so that you do not grieve like the rest f mankind who have no hope because we believe that jesus died and rose again. e believe that god will bring, with jesus, those were fallen to sleep in him. what of word of promise, hope and comfort from the word of god. let's pray together. ather in heaven, the creator and maker of all things, there is nothing new under the sun for you, father. you know all things before they appen.
in this morning, lord, we pray for the friends and family of senator mccain. and we will grieve, we will mourn, father. and we will do so with a different hope because of the faith he has placed in jesus hrist. that we can, with confidence, grieve with the hope to know that this very moment, he is spending eternity with jesus christ as lord and savior. what a comfort. that is in jesus name we pray, amen.
versus one through two. to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heavens, a time to be born and a time to die. , a time to plant and a time to luck out the -- >> i was 28 years old and i had only been a public defender a few years out of law school. and for some reason john mccain asked me to be his chief of staff when he got elected. so on my first day at 7:00 a.m.,
john mccain picked me up at my house. i went of the car. you want me to drive? no, i'm going to drive. backseat. the [laughter] i'm no expert. he said no, boy, get in the car. get in the car. and for the next half hour, we just talked about the football games the day before. and whatever is in the news and politics and told a few jokes. and it was at the same time just really a lot of fun and also quite terrifying because of his idiculously bad driving. when he would get excited, he drove like this anyway, and then he would get excited and start drifting off. i said, hello, over there. he finally got to where we are going, and i said, by the way, what are we doing? i hired the whole staff and i
want you to meet them. i said, ok, that's good. [laughter] so we met the staff and we went back to the car. we got in the car and all the staff came out. and they were waving and things. you're going to have to fire half of them. [laughter] you're going to i thought, what you talking about? thing he sped off in the staff was waving. about one minute later, we went back by because he had gone the wrong way, of course. [laughter] waved again, and those two hours years forthe next few me. it was a little wild and crazy. but a lot of fun, and the greatest honor of my life. pupil asked me all the time, did
you know -- people asked me all the time, did you know in the early years he was special? and my answer was yes, absolutely. no question about it. the first time, it was in december over in my hometown of mesa, arizona. we were at a rotary club, and it was all men at times. and you know, these are tough guys, kind of cynical about things, and here is this new guy in town. and one of them asked them since it was december, asked them, what about christmas in prison? and he told them a couple of stories, and one when he was interrogated for quite a long time and it didn't go well for his captors. upset with him, so they tied him up and tie the ropes tight. and it was very painful and they left him there for the night. and some guard came in who he did not know it never spoken to. and at 10:00 p.m., the guard
walked in and unloosened the ropes. at about 4:00 a.m., the guard came back and tightened them up again so he wouldn't get in trouble. and john did not know why that happened. but he found out a little clue a couple of weeks later before christmas when he was standing in the dirt yard. and that guard walked up next to him to did not say a word, but with his sandal, he truly cross in the dirt -- he drew a cross in the dirt and they looked at it for a minute. and then the guard rubbed it out and went on his way. and it was quiet in that room when john told that. and then he said, you know, on christmas eve, we elebrated. and we got together under this
lightbulb and we sang christmas carols. and we quoted bible verses that we could remember. and we told the gospel story to each other. and i guess just that image of this band of brothers together in this godforsaken place, singing to each other, and there at the front, our guy, john mccain. beaten up, but not down. singing his favorite christmas carol, "silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright round young virgin mother and child holy infant, so tender and mild." words seemed so far away from that place, but they lead on the fate of their fathers and their
faith in each other, and their faith in their country. and their faith in god. i looked at him and that audience there in my hometown and those were my peers and the peers of my parents. those were tough, independent guys. they were ranchers, and farmers, and some cowboys, businessmen, entrepreneurs, and they were rying. because they saw in john mccain a little bit of what they hoped o see in themselves. john mccain, the embodiment of values they hoped to see for their country. over the next few months and years, john got to know this place. and he fell in love with arizona. he loved the people, our diversity, our native american community, our hispanic culture,
and he loved the place, in particular, the grand anyon. the colorado river, we floated down that twice together, and then he kept going back. he loved it. he hiked the canyon with jack not that long ago. rim to rim. he loved sedona. he loved this place. and if john mccain fell in love with arizona, arizona fell in love with john mccain. we ran a lot of races here. a lot of elections. he never lost. never really very close. arizona loved him. we had one little blip one-time when he ran for the senate the first time. he called me on the phone and goes, well, boy, i think i might have screwed up. i said i'm a why? he said, i was talking to the students and they said, how, -- how come you are the only politician that comes down ere?
he said, well, you guys don't vote. ok? [laughter] the other dudes vote like 100%, you know. [laughter] you want people to come down here, you need to vote like they vote out at seizure world. [laughter] i said, you didn't say that, did you? there's this big retirement community called leisure valley. and they weren't really happy with their new nickname. [laughter] so john said, like he always said, i screwed up and we have to go out there. we. [laughter] so we went out and i remember we drove in and there was about a 90-year-old guy in a golf cart right there giving us the finger. and he was giving us the finger. [laughter]
and little did he know, we both said, that's great. we loved it. and john said, good to see you, good to see you pal. thank you. thank you. [laughter] so he went in and said, sorry about that, and went to work. and guess what? i think he won 85-15 in that recinct. so we're going miss so many things about him here in our state. his leadership here on these important issues. we going to miss his sense of humor, his love of sports. he loved the teams, all of our teams. i mean, by love him, i mean, love them like nonstop. and he loved you. bits, and gonzo and shane. not a coincidence. he didn't become friends with just the best players, but with the best people. he loved you guys.
i think we also worry here in arizona about a bigger picture. and i hope that what he stood for will maybe get renewed look in our country. that's what he would want. ok. we recognize him now. but now, let's get to work. and i'm sure the vice president will talk about him and bipartisanship, but he believed so much that any and, this republican/democratic thing is not that important, is it? we are all americans and we had to get to the point where we can work together as americans. the support of the military. i hope you members of congress will keep that strong. it was so important that he had their backs. and one other thing, john mccain believed in our constitution. and he stood up for it. he fought for it every step of the way. so he would not stand by as people tried to trample the constitution. or the bill of rights including
the first amendment. and you know what, he believed in the declaration of independence. when we proclaim to the world that every single human being is important, every single human being is precious. every single person in this world has the right to live free, not because the government says so, but because god gave us that right. o john mccain, his entire life stood by the freedom fighters across the world. he was there. he was there figuratively and literally, by their side, wherever they were, acknowledging their right to live free. it's -- it's a long and winding road that took him from that dirt yard in hanoi to the dirt back roads of hidden valley. but through it all, he was
resolute. he was courageous every step of the way. and in arizona, he was our ero. i think you can see from this outpouring of support and love for john mccain that he was merica's hero. senator john mccain from arizona, he served this country ith honor. he fought the good fight. e finished the race. he kept the faith. now, my friend, we can finish he song --
sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace. amen [applause] > well, i have a great opportunity of meeting congressman john mccain in washington. you see how it was back there and i was visiting. and he said you -- you need to meet this congressman, this energy.verick full of i said oh, yeah? he said he's going to become president of the united states one day. so you need to meet him. o we meet in virginia in -- my
apologies. t was rough getting up here. alexander. cindy, c.a., and myself we had dinner this nice little restaurant. and we chatted for a while. and all of a sudden, with john mccain, you just bond. there's something about his energy level that goes up. he starts talking. starts asking me about my ackground. of course not knowing him i asked about him. and before i knew it, we felt very comfortable with each other going back and forth. so then i got enough nerve to ask him, i said, congressman, what was it that allowed you to be in a prisoner of war camp? i mean, what kept you together? and he said, well, you know, most people asked me how they treated me and obviously they
treated me pretty bad. but one is my faith in god, my love for my family, and my faith in my country. he said, those things kept me together. so, we kept talking that evening, and as i thought about that discussion, and for this talk, i wanted to reflect with ou a reading from corinthians: 13, which captures senator john ccain. corinthians:13, the lives you give away to the poor, all that i possess, and even gave up my body to be burned, if i am without love, it will do me no ood. when you think about an
individual like senator mccain, who suffered, who was in prison, was injured, and yet, with all that, was able to keep his faith together, his focus on this ountry, the focus on his family, i believe that that period of time, those five years, is when god formed this antastic hero. god took the opportunity to humble this young man who came rom a military family. god used those minutes, those ours, those days, those years, to put together a human being that we will be talking about the senator for generations. john mccain was a person who
loved with his energy, who loved all of us. who loved his country. that evening while we were having dinner, he said, when begin back to phoenix, we need to get back and have dinner. and of course, back then, i was pretty cocky. so i said, well, congressman, i know a number of congressman a couple of senators, and we always hear that. he says well, when we get back, you give me a date and i will be there. i said, i'm going to invite you to my house. us mexican-americans love to cook and we love to have folks at our homes if you're really going to be a friend. and he chuckled. so a couple of months later when i got back home, we called and set up a dinner at the house. d of course, i was preparing frijolitos and all
that stuff you know about, and my homemade salsa. and i get a call from his office they say he is running late. so, i ask, what is the problem? they said, it is his birthday and he wants to spend a bit of time with his family. [laughter] sorry, cindy. and of course, i panic and say, you know, if he wants to cancel, i understand, please. and they made it very clear to us that he is coming to your house to have dinner. o, i scrambled and found a mariachi group. [laughter] i thought, i need to do something really good. [laughter] mexican food is not going to get me there. luckily, they got their 10 minutes before he arrived. so when crendy and the congressman then walk into the kitchen and the mariachis started playing and they were singing the traditional mexican birthday
song in our culture, and of course, john and cindy lit up. and it was a great evening. and we enjoyed -- enjoyed the night. that's senator john mccain. keeps his word. that's the senator that we've had all these years that sometimes we beat up on. that's the senator that i hope people can embrace what he stood for, for our country. and yes, he was a maverick. in his first senatorial call and it ist a him on the phone with father tony, dear friend of mine, and he says, you got the congressman on the phone. i don't know how he tracked me down, but we were in a restaurant. i get the phone and he said, you
know john, he was going 100 miles an hour. so i'm going like, ok. he says, i want you to co-chair my campaign. and i said, john, you know, i'm a democrat. [laughter] i am not sure that is going to help you with your republican campaign. [laughter] i don't care, you're my friend. i want you to co-chair. i said well, let me sleep on it. no, no, no. you give me an answer right now. yes or no? of course, i said yes. once again, senator john mccain goes over to the other side. i was active back then. we weren't the most conservative organization in the country. and we go back and forth -- with
john you were either a friend or not. because at the end of the day, we could go a couple of years without seeing each other but home week.d it was he was going 100 miles an hour, but he may time to be with you. and the second time, we get a call. -- to come to las vegas and this is when he was in his presidential campaign. and we -- we end up in las vegas with his two right-hand folks that have always run his campaign, which i have the greatest respect for. so we do a quick chitchat. and john says, i want you to speak on my behalf at the republican convention. [laughter] nator, i want to remind you, i'm a dem crafment -- i'm a democrat. i don't care.
i want you there. you're my friend. i want you there. said, yes, i'll be there. says well, with a big smile on his face. he says, watch out when you start your car. [laughter] ok, senator, i'll do that . so john kind of put me out on the national scene. and i must confess, he did a number of things that i could stand here all day and share with you different stories. i will tell you that that one time when we met is when megan was on the tv program and i don't even remember the name of the tv program. he said well, you know, megan son tv now. blah, blah blah, blah.
do you see her? no, senator, i don't watch tv that much. well, you start watching her. [laughter] so that was our great senator. as we were walking out, he asked my wife, elvira, he se. elvira, i've got a question for you. if i put a woman on our ticket as vice president, what do you think about that? well, my wife isn't the type that holds back. she's a mexican from mexico city. and they have a tendency of just telling you how it is. and of course, the senator liked that. she turns and says, i really don't care if it's a man or a woman, if something happens to you, i want to make sure that person could run the country. so john looked at her and he said ok. he looked at his two guys. we walked out. needless to say we heard later what who he had select. but regardless there was the senator again taking the risk of putting forth a woman for vice
president of this great country of ours. so it's of no surprise. it's of no surprise also that he got together with kennedy to push for immigration reform. because when he talked about immigration, it wasn't so much the politics of it. he says i can't believe these familys that come from another country, from mexico, to central work work cutting our grass, feeding us, bringing in the labor force that we need, and now we turn on them? that really struck at the heart of what we thought our great country was about. i believe it cost him a presidential campaign. for me, it's very dear what the senator was about. our country lected
in its true form. my father was a marine passed away in february. once a marine, he would say. got wounded in guam, purple heart. when he talked about john mccain, he says, he understands us. he understands us. and i must confess, he did understand us. he understood all of us whether it was white, black, brown, asian. to him, it didn't make any difference. at he knew was that we all make america great. we all make america great. so i hope that in his legacy, the senators, governors, mayors, ity council members, elected officials embrace the thought of love because genre flected love
and love of a strong man. love use john reflected and love of a strong man. so his legacy will go out for generations because people will talk about senator john mccain as one of the greatest heros in our lifetime. and with that, if you permit me, read timothy 2. as for me, my life is already livation,ed away as a and the time has come for me to depart. i have fought the good fight to the end. i have run the race to the finish. i have kept the faith. dios.r friend, vaya con
north vietnamese over a lake. as his plane sped out of control he got out in time to plunge into the lake. that pilot, a young john mccain, was taken hostage is a prisoner of war he spent more than five and a half years, almost 2000 days, enduring countless beatings, torture, solitary confinement, and mental and emotional anguish none of us will have to endure. after getting to know senator mccain, i felt compelled to visit vietnam, i wanted to see the places where the will of john mccain was tested. i saw the lake. i walked the steps. i sat in the cell. the ordeal my friend survived became all the more real. wonder what aght young african-american kid from minnesota, and a highly
decorated vietnam war hero turned united states senator might have in common. i thought of a few. i am black, he was white. [laughter] larry: i am young, he was not so young. [laughter] larry: he lived with physical limitations brought on by war, i'm a professional athlete. he ran for president, i run out of bounds. [laughter] larry: he was the epitome of toughness, and i do everything i can to avoid contact. [laughter] larry: i have flowing locks, and well, he did not. [laughter] larry: how does this unlikely pair become friends? i have asked myself the same question. but you know the answer, that's just who he is. over the several years i had the privilege of spending time
with senator mccain. sometimes it was a visit for our practices, sometimes it was him texting me to say, you need to pick it up on sunday. [laughter] larry: i'm thankful that through these moments, and the opportunities we had to share our lives, and more importantly our stories. while from very different worlds, we developed a meaningful friendship. this highlights the rare and special qualities of senator mccain that i came to deeply admire. he did not judge individuals based on the color of the skin -- of their skin, gender, backgrounds, political affiliations or bank accounts. he evaluated them on the merits of their character and what was in their hearts. he judge them on the work they put in and the principles they lived by. it was this approach to humanity that made senator john mccain so respected by countless people around the world, including me.
his accomplishments were many. u.s. senator, presidential candidate, warrior, hero. his work ethic? tireless. his fight? legendary. but what made senator mccain so special was that he cared about the substance of my heart. more so than where i came from. while some might find our friendship out of the ordinary, it was a perfect example of what made him an iconic figure of u.s. politics and fellow man. he embraced humanity. championed what was true and just, and saw people for who they were. yes, ours was an unlikely friendship, but it is what i -- it is one that i will always cherish. i have had the honor of attending several forums hosted by senator mccain and his remarkable wife, cindy. there were world leaders, and
politics, business, science, and education, to discuss the most pressing matters of our time, issues like health care, global warming, technology, and human trafficking. these leaders gather to find real solutions and they gathered because senator mccain asked them to be there. his devotion to making arizona, the united states, and the whole world a better place for everyone inspired countless leaders, like those at the sedona forums. i'm confident his legacy of devotion and the common good will inspire people around the world long after today. a few years ago, he was kind enough to take me on a personal tour of the u.s. senate. it was obvious senator mccain was highly regarded, he believed to be right and what was good regardless of the side of the political aisle you fell on. i saw how respected he was and how much admiration he commanded from people across the political spectrum.
that admiration was not surprising because senator mccain was known as a man of integrity and conviction. a man who, at times, after he sacrificed himself for his fellow pows willingly chose to sacrifice his own political gains in order to accomplish what he believed what was best for all. as a result of this sacrifice come he may have lost the support of a political ally here and there, but he gained the respect of an entire nation. in closing, i would like to honor the love i saw in senator mccain. he loved the people of arizona, serving them passionately and diligently for decades. he took that same love to washington and boldly advocated for freedom and liberties he had grown to love. as a young navy pilot. but the love i saw most was the love he had for his wife, cindy, and his children.
i heard him speak about them often, and the love always came pouring through. senator mccain, it has been a friend.or to call you your toughness and bravery inspired us, your sacrifice enriched our lives. your devotion to the people of arizona, our nation, and your convictions won our admiration. your love set an example for all of us to follow. jackie robinson once said, life is not important except in the impact it has on the other life. -- on other lives. senator mccain, we will miss the blessings of being in your presence but we will never forget the impact you had on the world, and more importantly on each of the lives that you trust. -- that you touched. we are all better for having knowing you. rest in peace my friend. [applause]
v.p. biden: my name is joe biden. [laughter] v.p. biden: i'm a democrat. [laughter] v.p. biden: and i love john mccain. i have had the dubious honor, over the years, of giving some eulogies for fine women and men that i have admired. but lindsay, this one is hard. the three men who spoke before me, i think, capture john, different aspects of john, in a way that only someone close to
him could understand. but the way i look at it and the way i thought about it, was that i always thought of john as a brother. we had a lot of family fights. [laughter] v.p. biden: we go back a long way. i was a young senator, i was elected when i was 29 and i had the dubious distinction of being put on the foreign relations committee, which the next youngest person was 14 years older than me. i spent a lot of time traveling the world, because i was assigned a responsibility, i was the chairman of the european affairs subcommittee, so i spent a lot of time in nato.
and then the soviet union. and along came a guy a few years later, a guy i knew of and admired from afar. your husband, who had been a prisoner of war, who endured enormous pain-and-suffering, and demonstrated the code. the mccain code. people don't think much about it today, but imagine having already known the pain you were likely to endure, and being offered the opportunity to go home, and saying no. as his son can tell you, the last one in, the last one out. i knew john. john became the navy liaison
officer in the united states senate. there's an office that used to be on the basement floor, members of the military who are assigned to senators when they travel abroad to meet with heads of state or other foreign dignitaries. john had been recently anointed a genuine hero, and he became the naval liaison. for some reason, we hit it off from the beginning. we were both full of dreams, and ambitions. and an overwhelming desire to make the time we had worthwhile. to try to do the right thing. to think about how we could make things better for the country we love so much.
john and i ended up traveling, every time i went anywhere, i took john with me, and he took me everywhere. we went to china, japan, russia, germany, france, all over the world. tens of thousands of miles. we would sit on that plane, late in the night when everyone else was asleep, and talk. getting to know one another. we would talk about family, we would talk about politics, we would talk about international relations, we would talk about promise. the promise of america. because we were both cockeyed optimists, and we really believed there was not a single thing beyond the capacity of this country. for real, not a single thing. and when you get to know one -- get to know another woman or
man, you get to know their hopes and fears, their families before you meet them. we talked about everything except captivity and the loss of my family which had just occurred, my wife and daughter. the only two things we did not talk about. i found that it was not too long into john's duties that jill and i got married. jill is with me today. for five years, i had been a single data, and -- a single dad, and nobody deserves one great love, let alone two. and i met jill who changed my life. and she fell in love with him and he with her. he would always call her jilly. as a matter of fact, when they
would get bored being with me on going tops, i remember greece, and you said, why don't i take jill to dinner. i later learned they were done at the cafe, at the port. and he has her dancing on top of the cement table, drinking ouzo. [laughter] isn't that right -- right, jilly? we got to know each other well. he loved my son beau, and my son hunt. as a young man he came up to my house, to wilmington. out of this grew a great friendship, that transcended whatever political differences we had, or later developed. because above all, we understood the same thing.
all politics is personal. it's about trust. i trusted john with my life, and i would. and i think he would trust me with his. we both knew then, from our different experiences, and as our lives progressed we learned more, there are times when life can be so cruel, pain so blinding, it is hard to see anything else. john'sease that took a life, took our mutual friend, teddy's life, the exact same disease, nine years ago. and three years ago, it took my beautiful son beau's life. it's brutal, relentless, unforgiving. it takes so much from those we love, from the families who love them, that in order to survive,
we have to remember how they lived. not how they died. ofarry with me, an image beau, sitting out on a lake we lived on, starting the motor of abode, smiling away. not the last days. i'm sure vicki kennedy has her own image, seeing teddy look so alive on that sailboat, out on the cape. for the family, you will all find your own images. whether you remember his smile, his laugh, or just that touch on your shoulder, or him running his hand on your cheek. or just feeling like someone is smiling at you.
just looking at you. or when you saw that -- saw the sheer joy that crossed his face that he had when he was about to take the stage of the senate floor and start a fight. [laughter] v.p. biden: god, he loved it. [laughter] v.p. biden: so to cindy, and the kids, doug and eddie, megan, jack, jimmy, bridget, and i know she's not here but to mrs. mccain, we know how difficult it is to bury a child, mrs. mccain. my heart goes out to you. i know the pain you are all feeling right now is so sharp, so halloween, and john's absence is all-consuming. for all of you right now. it is like being sucked into a black coal inside your chest. hole inside your
chest. it's frightening. i know something else from experience, there's nothing anyone can say or do to ease the pain. but i pray that you take some comfort, knowing that because you shared john with all of us your whole life, the world now shares with you the ache of his death. look around this magnificent church. look at what you saw coming at the state capital yesterday. it's hard to stand there but part of it, part of it was, at least it was for me standing with beau, you knew it was genuine, it was deep. he touched so many lives.
i have gotten calls, not just because people knew we were friends, not just people around the country, but leaders around the world calling me. i have gotten all of the sympathy letters. i mean, hundreds of them. and tweets. character is destiny. john had character. while others will miss his leadership, passion, and even his stubbornness, you will miss the hand on your shoulder. the family you are going to miss, the man, this faithful man, as he was, who you knew
would literally, not figuratively, give his life for you. for that there is no balm, but time. time and your memories of a life lived well and fully. i make you a promise, i promise come -- itme will will happen, six months will go by, everyone will think it has passed but you'll ride by that field, or smell that fragrance, or see that flashing image, and you will feel like you did the day you got the news. but you know you will make it, when the image of your dad, your husband, your friend, crosses
mind, and a smile comes to your lip before a tear to your eye. that's when you know. i promise you, i give you my word, this i know, that day will come. that day will come. you know, i'm sure, my former colleagues, and all who worked with john, i'm sure there's people who said not only know -- not only now, but the last 10 years, explain this guy to me? right? explain the sky to me. -- explain this guy to me. because as i looked at him, and -- in one sense, they admired him, but in the other, they look at him as if he came from another age. he lived by a different code,
an ancient antiquated code of honor, courage, character, integrity, duty, where it mattered. it was obvious how john lived his life. is, john's code was ageless. is ageless. when you talked earlier, grant, you talked about values. it wasn't about politics with john. he can disagree on substance but the underlying values that animated everything john did, everything he was. he could come to a different conclusion, but where he'd part company with you, you lack basic values of decency, respect,
knowing that this project is bigger than yourself. john's story is the american story. that is not hyperbole. it's the american story. grounded in respect and decency, basic fairness. the intolerance for the abuse of power. many of you have traveled the world. look at how the rest of the world looks at us. they look at us as a little naive. we're so fair, we're so decent. we are the naive americans. but that's who we are. that's who john was. and he could not stand the abuse of power wherever he saw it. in whatever form in whatever country.
he was always about basic values, john, fairness, honesty, dignity, respect, giving hate no safe harbor, leaving no one behind. and understanding as americans, we are of something much bigger than ourselves. with john comey was neither selfish nor self-serving. john understood that america was first and foremost an idea, audacious and risky, organized around, not tribe, but around ideals. think of how he approached every issue. the ideals that americans have rallied around for over 200 years, the ideals that the world has repaired to, an idea enshrined in the constitution.
sounds corny. we hold these truths self-evident that all men are created equal, endowed by their creator, with certain inalienable rights. to john, those words had meaning, as they have for every great patriot that has ever served this country. we both loved the senate. proudest years of my life was being a united states senator, and i was honored to be vice president. but being a united states senator. and we both lamented watching it change. during long debates in the 1980's and 1990's, as some of the colleagues around then would know, i would always go over and sit next to john, next to seat. -- next to his seat. or he'd come over the democratic side and sit next to me. no, i'm not joking.
because we'd sit there and we talked to each other. and i can remember the day when i came out to see john, we reminisced about it. it was in 1996, and we were about to adjourn for what we call the caucuses. there is a luncheon once a week that all the democratic senators have lunch together and all the republican senators. and we both went into our caucus and coincidentally we were approached by our caucus leaders with the same thing, raised as discussion -- joe, it doesn't look good you sitting next to john all the time. [laughter] v.p. biden: swear to god. same thing was said to john in your caucus. [laughter] v.p. biden: that's when things began to change for the worse in america, in the senate. that's when it changed. what happened was, those times, it was always appropriate to challenge another senator's
judgment but never appropriate to challenge their motive. when you challenge their motive, it's impossible to get to go. if i say you're doing this because you're being paid off, if i say you're doing this because you're not a christian, if i say you're doing this because you are this, that, or the other thing, it's impossible to reach consensus. think about in your personal lives. but all we do today is attack the oppositions of both parties, their motives, not the substance of their argument. this is the mid 1990's. it began to go downhill from there. the last day john was on the senate floor, look what he was fighting to do.
he was fighting to restore what we call regular order. just to start to treat one another again like we used to. the senate was never perfect, john. you know that. we were there a long time together. but i'd watch teddy kennedy and james o. ethan fight like hell on civil rights and they'd go to lunch together down in the senate dining room. john wanted to see "regular order" writ large, get to know one another. you know, john and i were both amused and i think lindsey was at one of these events where john and i received two prestigious awards, the last year i was vice president and then one immediately after, for our dignity and respect we
showed to one another. we received an award for civility in public life. there is a college, allegany county, college that puts out these prestigious award every year for bipartisanship. john and i looked at each other and said, what in the hell is going on here? no, not a joke. [laughter] v.p. biden: i say to senator flake, that's how it's always supposed to be. you are getting an award? i'm serious. think about this. getting an award for your civility. getting an award for bipartisanship. classic john, allegany college, hundreds of people there, we got the award, john -- the senate was in session so he spoke first. and as he walked off the stage and i walked on, he looked at me and said, joe, don't take it personal, but i just don't want to hear what the hell you have to say, and left.
[laughter] v.p. biden: one of john's major campaign people is now with the senate, with the governor of ohio, was on this morning. i happened to watch it. he said biden-mccain had this strange relationship. they always seemed to have each other's back. whenever i was in trouble, john was the first guy there. and i hope i was there for him. and we never hesitate to give each other advice. he called me in the middle of the campaign, what the hell did you say that for? [laughter] v.p. biden: not an issue. like, you just screwed up, joe, you know, and i'd occasionally call him. look, i've been thinking this
week about why john's death has hit the country so hard. yes, he was a long-serving senator with a remarkable record. yes, he was a two-time presidential candidate who captured the support and imagination of the american people. and yes, john was a war hero who demonstrated extraordinary courage. i think of john, and when i think of my son, when the will defies fear, when duty throws a gaunt let down to fate, when honor scorns to compromise with death, that is heroism. everybody knows that about john. but i don't think it fully explains why the country has been so taken by john's passing. i think it's something more intangible. i think it's because they knew john believed so deeply and so passionately in the soul of
america, that he made easier for them to have confidence and faith in america. his faith in the core values of this nation made them somehow feel it more genuinely themselves. his conviction that we, the country, would never walk away from the sacrifices generations of americans have made to defend liberty and freedom and human dignity around the world. it made average americans proud of themselves and their country. his belief -- and it was deep -- that americans can do anything, withstand anything, achieve anything, was both unflagging and ultimately reassuring that this man believed that so that americans can do anything,
withstand anything, achieve anything, was both unflagging and ultimately reassuring that this man believed that so strongly. his capacity that we truly are the world's last best hope, that we're the beacon to the world, that there are principles and ideals greater than ourselves and we're suffering, sacrificing for and if necessary, dying for. americans saw how he lived his life that way, and he they knew the truth of what he was saying. i just think he gave americans confidence. john was a hero. his character, courage, honor, integrity, but i think the things understated the most is his optimism. that's what made john special, made john a giant among all of us.
but in my view, john didn't believe that america's future and fate rested on heroes. what i talk most about him is he understood what i hope we all remember, heroes didn't build this country. ordinary people being given half a chance are capable of doing extraordinary things, extraordinary things. john knew ordinary americans understood that each of us has a duty to defend the integrity, dignity, and birthright of every child. good communities are built by thousands of small acts of decency. that americans, as i speak today, show each other every single day. very deep in the d.n.a. of this nation's soul lies a flame that was lit over 200 years ago, that each of us carries with us and each one of us has the capacity, the responsibility, and we can screw up the courage to ensure it's not extinguish.
it's a thousand little things that make us different. the bottom line was, i think john believed in us. i think he believed in the american people, not just all the preambles, the constitution. he believed in the american people. all 325 million of us. even though john is no longer with us, he left us pretty clear instructions. quote, believe always in the promise and greatness of america, because nothing is inevitable here. close to the last thing john said took the whole nation as he knew he was about to depart, that's what he wanted america to understand.
not to build his legacy. he wanted america to understand. i think john's legacy is going to continue to inspire and challenge generations of leaders as they step forward, and john mccain's impact on america is not over. it's not hyperbole. it's not over. i don't think it's even close. cindy, john owed so much of what he was to you. you were his ballast. whenever i was with you both, i i don't think it's even close. could just see how he looked at you. jill's the one when we were in hawaii, he first met you there, he kept staring at you and jill finally said, go up and talk to her. [laughter] and doug and ann, sidney, meghan, jack, jimmy, bridgette, you may not have your father as long as you would have liked but you got from him everything you need, to pursue your own dreams,
to follow the course of your own spirit. you are a living legacy, not hyperbole. you are a living legacy and proof of john mccain's success. now john's going to take his rightful place in a long line of extraordinary leaders in this nation's history who in their time and in their way stood for freedom and stood for liberty and have made the american story the most improbable and the most hopeful and the most enduring story on earth. i know john said he hoped he played a small part in had that story. john, you did much more than that, my friend.
to paraphrase shakespeare, we shall not see his like again. [applause] >> the second reading is from second timothy, chapter 4, versus 6-8. for i am already being poured out like a drink offering and the time for my departure is near, i have fought the good fight, i have finished the race, i have kept the faith. now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day and not only to me but also to all who have long for his appearing. >> [note]i love you, arizona
>> jesus, at the final meal, he shared with his friend, charge them, remember me. remember me in the breaking of the bread. bread has to be broken to be shared. we are celebrating today the life of a man who unselfishly was broken, that we might be one again. john mccain, our brother, jesu'' brother. to remember, to bring together john mccain, i invite you share the words of henry scott holland.
laugh as we always laughed at jokes we enjoyed together. play, smile, think of me, pray for me. let my name be ever that household word that it always let it be spoken without effect, without a trace of shadow on it. we pray, lord, god, may john mccain's vision be in our eyes, his voice in our words and our tongue, his listening to the needs of others in our ears, his love for his country in our hearts.
john mccain, hero of the republic and to his little girl, waits today to something more glorious than anything on this earth. today, the warrior enters his true and eternal life grieved by those who have gone before him. and she writes, rising to meet the author of all things. we will grieve, we will mourn, but i want you to think about her words. in this very moment, senator john mccain is in heaven. with god the father and jesus the son. no more cancer. no more pain. mo more sickness.
no more burdens of this world -- in fact, his biggest problem is what channel can i find in heaven in order to watch larry play on sunday? [laughter] all joking aside, he's a free man and he's more alive than he's ever been. he see, senator mccain professed christianity, and here's the hope in what senator mccain believed. romans 3:23. for all of sin fallen short of the glory of god, romans 6:23, that the wages of sin was death. the gift of god was eternal life through his son jesus christ. to the hope that we have is the good news is the hope that senator john mccain believed this from john 3:16. for god gave the world that he
gave his only begotten son that who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. when we grieve and when we mourn, understand he has eternal life and he is with the father in heaven because of his faith in jesus christ. that is something to find comfort in. that is the reason why meghan can write these words so beautifully. let us pray together. father, as we leave from this place we ask you give comfort to cindy and the family. as vice president joe biden said, there will be days that the freshness of this lossness hits them hard, father. and in those moments, lord, when
they find themselves by themselves mourning this deep pain and sorrow, will you comfort them, god? give them the strength they need to walk every single day. god, as we mourn, as your scripture says, we mourn differently for those that have hope because senator john mccain believes you sent your only son to walk this earth and live a sinless life. to die on the cross for our sins for the things we deserved. he believed that jesus christ was put in the tomb and he rose again. he defeated death. that is the reason to celebrate and that is the reason for us to have comfort. it's in jesus' name we pray. amen. i want to thank you, all, again, on behalf of the mccain family for being here and supporting them. at this moment we're going to ask you to stay seated until the family, the entire family has exited the building.