tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN August 31, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PDT
hello to our viewers in the u.s. and around the world. thank you for being with us on this friday. you are seeing pictures from moments ago inside the nation's capitol, the rotunda where senator john mccain will soon take his place to be laid before all the public, before his fellow colleagues in congress, before those who love him here in america to pay their respects to the late senator. that ceremony set to get
underway within the next hour. we will take you there live momentarily. we're also monitoring another great in america, the life and legacy of aretha franklin and her ceremony. a five-hour long ceremony is getting under way in chicago. that's where we have fredricka whitfield. >> you can hear the activity overhead and see the sea of people filing into the greater grace temple church where the funeral service for aretha franklin, the world's beloved queen of soul, will begin in just moments from now. what we have been able to see is besides the motorcade of pink cadillacs who have pulled up, a number of dignitaries and celebrities from the world of music, from sports, from the church, they have all been lining up to go inside the sanctuary there. 4,000 seat sanctuary. you can see it filling up.
it will be a day of amazing speeches, eulogies and, of course, song. a former president, bill clinton, ariana grande to take to the podium there and deliver their eulogies in celebration of this amazing life of aretha franklin in the sanctuary. earlier, aretha's 24 karat gold plated casket arrived at the church. you see right there. we have learned that her final outfit change is a gold dress and gold shoes. ryan young is amongst the crowd outside of the church. ryan, good to see you. folks are filing in. people started lining up very early, not just today but yesterday. tell us about that. >> they did start lining up
yesterday. in fact, we moved out a little bit because finally they got the ticket they have been waiting for. they were able to walk in. some of the women have been here since yesterday. you understand there was a small rumor they might be able to get in. the fans are going to get a chance to be inside this funeral. it means so much to them. think about this, one woman was talking about this, this is probably the greatest generation for them. when you think about the civil rights mochl, a lot of people put aretha franklin there. they love her and what she stood for. the idea that jesse jackson has been talking about, there were days that martin luther king needed money. he would call her father and aretha would go on tours and raise money for the civil rights movement. that's something that's really stood out. especially here in detroit. detroit has had tough times. aretha never left. the two are now intertwined like unbelievably. we have seen the thousands of people over the last three days
line up, sing, cry and actually endure, because it's been very hot here. a lot of the people who were showing up are on walkers. they need respirators. the idea the city has shown out for her in such a way and the world is talking about aretha fra fra franklin. we can see hundreds of pinch cadillka pink cadillacs. they are this direction. they are lined up for that procession. jesse jackson waved at the crowd. they wanted to be a part of this. you understand that connection because so much of this is a conversation. she was there for dr. king when he died. now people feel like they want to be here for her. you understand this generation's changing and its connection to so much history in this country.
>> ryan young, thanks so much. appreciate it. let's talk more about the funeral that is about to get under way. an incredible tribute for the queen of soul, aretha franklin. joining me, three people who knew her, activist and radio host joe madison, a critic and writer, makayla angela davis and aretha franklin biographer, david ritz. glad you could be with me. david, let me begin with you outside of the temple. just seeing this beautiful outpouring of love. this tribute to aretha franklin. it's not just here. it really is city wide. you can feel it in detroit. she is top of mind, she's in everyone's hearts here. >> you know, i've been coming to detroit a long time doing a whole bunch of books on detroit artists. this is different. >> why is it different? >> well, yesterday i stood in line for two hours to go see the
view i viewing of the new church. i have never seen detroit this galvanized and filled with joy and love and exuberance. now again, what's interesting about that, this woman has died and yet there's joy, not obviously for her death, but joy because she's been our shepherd. >> what she gave. >> she has been a good shepherd. and she's given us this musical sort of nourishment that has fed us for years and years. and we are grateful for it. so the party atmosphere, the idea that she's changing outfits four times in four days, is like a glorification of her regal it.
i think the reason detroit is so proud right now is she was born in the womb and the wounds, both the womb and the wounds of detroit. the pain of this -- what detroit has gone through and yet she's a child of the golden age of gospel. >> she was born in memphis. but then detroit really would be home. this is where -- >> detroit bred her. >> this is where she would make her mark in the gospel community, in the church. at 14, to be recording at 14, and to go from being this amazing musical prodigy to then also symbolize iing the civil
rights movement. i mean, to be 16 and to be recruited -- to be part of the movement of dr. martin luther king was extraordinary. and people are mindful of that. you talk about this celebratory atmosphere, but there's been and evolution. immediately after her death, the announcement of her death, there was sorrow, there was pain. people were listening to her music differently. now it has evolved into almost an appreciation of what she has been able to bring over the years. >> i also think it's a deeply spiritual -- obviously, she was an activist. so there's a political aspect, an important one because she was an activist at a critical time. >> just to interrupt you, live pictures of president clinton and hillary clinton arriving there. we know he is going to be speaking. aretha franklin's relationship with the clintons is quite extraordinary. she performed at both of his
inauguration celebrations. he would invite her to the white house, to the rose garden for gospel performance. there was a very respectful relationship. he was already a huge fan of aretha franklin before he became president. wasn't ed he wanted to make sure she was welcomed to the white house. talk to me about what you believe his message will be. >> i don't have any idea what he will talk about. he was great in the documentary. he is a jazz guy. he plays. he has a deep love and respect for her. i think one of the most interesting things as we're looking at him about her music is that she took this holy gift, she took this sacred gift that she had and here is what's
important, she applied it to all music. because she had a progressive dad who was a minister who also believed that gospel music or the spirit of gospel music was applicable to all genres. and he encouraged her to sing all genres. >> joe madison, we so appreciate what you have been bringing, especially since her passing, playing nonstop aretha franklin and interspersing it with history, beautiful anecdotes about her life. you are a friend of aretha franklin's. might as well call you a historian of aretha franklin as well. how was it to jump off david's point about her father, a man of the cloth, a man of the church, but he did have a willingness,
if you will, to allow a very young aretha franklin to spring from music of spirituality, gospel music into jazz and r & b. can you add to that level of independence that perhaps aretha franklin was granted at a very early age to apply her amazing versatility of music and song? >> that shouldn't be underestimated. because many people know that there's this division, often times you will find gospel singers that will not sing, quote unquote the devil's music. the fact is that i think i heard barry gordie once say that aretha franklin could sing the abcs and it would be a hit record. >> joe madison, i apologize for interrupting. let me go back to the newsroom.
>> i will take it from here. we are continuing to monitor what is happening inside the capitca capitol rotunda where guests are arriving to honor the late senator john mccain. i'm told that is his mother, 106 years old. this is roberta mccain, who is planning to participate not only in today's ceremony, but the weekend ceremonies as well. this service today being one of several for senator mccain as he is remembered as a war hero, a six-term senator, a giant of that legislative body and also a man who many people considered a friend. politicians on both sides of the aisle, somebody who taught a lot of life lessons to all of us, showing his courage as his time during a prisoner of war. we will monitor the images.
we will hear from speakers coming up here within the next hour. we will hear from both paul ryan, the house leader, of course, as well as the house speaker, and then mitch mcconnell, the majority leader in the senate who didn't always agree with the positions that john mccain took. he was known as a maverick for many reasons. but oftentimes, sticking to his conviction, whether that was along the party line and often going against his party, going against his best friend. lindsey graham has spoken about how they didn't see eye to eye. we see people from all sides of the aisle, all walks of life who have been touched by senator john mccain now coming to pay their respects. he will lie in state today as soon as this ceremony gets under way around 11:00, through the evening. so that members of the public can also come and visit the late senator and pay their respects. i want to go live to sunday lca
hill. >> senator mccain worked in this building for 35 years. first over in the house of representatives, then over in the senate. so certainly, a lot of people, you see them starting to filter in. many people who have worked for him, his staff, members of congress from both the house and senate coming out today to pay their respects. we will hear from leader mcconnell, speaker ryan and remarks by vice-president pence who will speak on behalf of the white house. of course, today i think we will feel the absence of president trump's presence here at any of these memorial services. of course, mccain let it be known to people as he was planning his funeral proceedings, the services over the course of five days, that he
did not want president trump at any of the events. we will hear from vice-president mike pence this morning. we did see roberta mccain, 106-year-old mother of john mccain, be wheeled in earlier, just a few minutes ago. certainly, many past staff members, members of the president's cabinet will come. it's notable senator mccain has not been up here on capitol hill for the past year, since he was diagnosed with brain cancer last summer, the last time he was up here on capitol hill was in december of last year. of course, one of his parting memories here on the hill was that very memorable last vote that he made when he gave that thumbs down on the floor of the u.s. senate, voting against his party, really bucking the white house voting against the repeal of the affordable care act. lots of memories up here that many people, of course, will be sharing over the course of the ceremony. >> we are looking at live images inside the capitol.
thank you for that. that's the first used to hold the coffin of president abraham lincoln. that's what you are seeing there, that black platform. we are told it's a base of rough pine boards nailed together and covered with a black cloth. now we have been told that that was not john mccain's mother who was wheeled in. we will monitor. she's expected to be there. our apology for not getting that right. many, many people coming in to pay their respects from around the world, from around the country and, of course, people who are very, very close to senator john mccain. we will continue to monitor developments there of the nation's capitol today as we honor the life and legacy of senator john mccain. we're back in just a moment. pah! that will never work.
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this is a celebration of life and the legendary aretha franklin. inside the sanctuary here at the greater grace temple church where we are outside, inside you see former president bill clinton, his wife hillary clinton, you see jesse jackson. there are a host of dignitaries spanning on genres of american culture from politics to music to spirituality. they are all here to celebrate the life of the queen of soul. today we are going to hear a eulogy coming from a variation of people, from the former president to jesse jackson
there, smoky robinson, stevie wonder will be eulogizing, former nba detroit piston who i spoke with last hour, isaiah thomas. he said his heart is full. he is hoping he can get through it. as will shirley caesar who will perform. she performed with aretha franklin whether they were teenagers in detroit and grew up together singing, even both invited to the obama white house and performing there. she, too, says her heart is very heavy today. we are feeling that from so many people who know her, love her. at the same time, this is a time of celebration for so much that she gifted to everybody. you see right there, isaiah thomas in the shot. so much she gifted to the word through her music, through her philanthropy. let's talk about so many ways in this she has touched lives. back with me makayla angela
davis, joe madison and david ritz. joe, before the break and before, of course, we are celebrating the lives of two huge american titans today. in washington, john mccain and here in detroit, aretha fra franklin. pick up from when you were talking about how she also symbolized a level of independence. she was able to be in the church of her dad singing gospel, but then branch out, taking her talents to so many variations of music. >> that was part of the daring. aretha franklin once said to me, what really makes an individual great is you have to be authentic, original and daring. she was all of that. it's interesting sitting here going between mccain and franklin, between aretha and
john, the -- so many parallels. the one parallel that you can see is look at the adversity of people, the two of them have brought together. that is what it should be remembered as we celebrate these two lives. these individuals had a sense of humanity. aretha franklin didn't just stop with martin luther king junior. aretha franklin would help -- helped angela davis when she was in jail. when we were doing voter registration and get out the vote efforts with the naacp, she would send contributions to make sure that the work got done. we were marching across the country. her diversity in music also reflected her diversity in life. that's what you are actually seeing. >> my goodness.
>> joe, that's a beautiful point. as you are speaking to that, we are seeing pictures of people that symbolize everything that you just said. we saw faith hill who will be performing on the program today. it was faith hill who was invited to be on aretha franklin's album that she co-produced and that was called "aretha, a woman falling out of love." aretha franklin spoke so highly of faith hill saying she was fabulous, just simply fabulous. we see the back of ariana grande who will perform today. so many folks were taken by surprise from her rendition of "natural woman" when she appeared on jimmy fallon's show shortly after aretha franklin's death. of course, we smichaela, talk t about, what compelled aretha franklin to be so involved in
the civil rights movement and to have a grasp of that at such an early age, to be 16, to be engaged in the movement? for her song "respect" to symbolize kind of the mantra of the civil rights movement, too. >> i think a lot is the house and the city in this she was raised. there were civil rights leaders in her house. there was god in her house. you know, i'm struck by how much of this is a great american spectacle of royalty. meaning, the pink cadillacs, the style, the intersection of political leaders and musical leaders and only in america could this kind of home going be shown. i think that's also what is so significant about aretha franklin is that she was a great american treasure. and that she held the
complexities of what it was to be a great american artist. what it was to be a black woman. and what it was to be someone that was both in secular and spiritual life, what it was to be someone who -- she literally said black people gave her money so she used her money to help black people be free. when you are that -- speaking to the boldness, it wasn't just the boldness of her art. we got to hear something come out of her mouth that no one else had heard and stirred us in that way. there is no equivalent to aretha franklin. >> an amazing trailblazer. >> yes. the soul. >> i know you will stick with us, as is david and joe. thank you so much. we have so much going on today because america is celebrating two incredible american titans, here in detroit and in washington, d.c. with john mccain. we will be right back from detroit in a moment.
>> i will take over from here as we see the live images of the motorcade arriving at the nation's capitol. we expect to see the casket with john mccain in it lie in the nation's capitol in that rotunda where there will be a ceremony to honor his life of service to our nation. there he will lie. he will receive the lying in state honor that has only been provided to 31 people before him. 32 times has that been used, including today. you see folks now starting to arrive to be ready to listen to the speakers today who include mitch mcconnell, house speaker paul ryan, the vice-president mike pence will be there to deliver remarks. there will be a wreath laying by the minority leader chuck
schumer as well as nancy pelosi. this is cnn's special coverage which begins right now in d.c. with wolf blitzer and dana bash. take it away, guys. hello, i'm wolf blitzer in washington. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world to our special coverage of the capitol hill ceremony honoring late u.s. senator and war hero john mccain. the rotunda is filling up with people who worked with the self-described maverick. today he returns to the capitol that he so loved. right at the top of the hour he will lie in state. this is a rare honor given to only 30 people before him. one of the first was abraham lincoln. senator mccain's casket will
rest atop the same wooden platform built for the slain american president. also next hour, some of the most powerful men and women here in washington will bow in praise. senator majority leader mitch mcconnell will deliver remarks followed by the house speaker paul ryan and the vice-president mike pence. then a bipartisan wreeath layin. schumer and pelosi will join their republican counterparts to present wreaths. a public viewing will stech fre into the evening. tomorrow, a memorial service will be held at the washington national cathedral. then the senator will be laid to rest beside his longtime friend admiral chuck larsson at the u.s. naval academy cemetery in annapolis, maryland. you are looking at live pictures right now. the motorcade arriving up on
capitol hill with the casket and the family and some very, very close friends. i want to bring in our chief political correspondent dana bash. you covered senator mccain for a long time. walk us through what we're about to see. >> first of all, what we're seeing right now, wolf, the moment that john mccain is coming back to the senate, that he absolutely loved. he loved it not since he was a congressman briefly and then a u.s. senator, but before that when he was still in the military, when he was still in the navy, he got to know and understand the impact that senators can have as a military aide to the senate. that's when he got to know a lot of really prominent people like joe biden, like bill cohen who then became -- went on to become the defense secretary. he has said to me in the past and others in interviews that this is where he became to understand that you can really do things to impact the world in
politics and as a u.s. senator. he was grappling at the time with how to deal with his injuries that he got, obviously, when he was a prisoner of war after he was shot down. the fact that he wasn't going to be able to be the navy officer that his father and grandfather were. he realized he could change his public service to the u.s. senate and just to watch these pictures coming back to the senate. really powerful. >> very powerful. the hearse has arrived with the casket. there will be a formal ceremony. all of this is worked out in a lot of detail. i just want you to remind our viewers that the senator himself over the past 13 months, once he was diagnosed with a severe form of brain cancer, he personally was very much involved in planning every step of the way. >> he was. making the u.s. capitol part of his final journey was so critical, as critical as
yesterday in arizona was. because he spent three decades in the u.s. congress. he loved being a senator. he love d actual length latgisle art of fighting for your principle but to find that point of compromise. he loved what you can do as a senator on the international stage. boy, did he use it every single chance he got, traveling the world with his colleagues. again, just being a man of the senate was so much part of the complex essence of john mccain. he wanted to have this moment where he could have a final day lying in state, being honored but also his way to honor the u.s. senate. >> representatives from all branchs of the u.s. military will participate in this ceremony in the capitol rotunda.
the family, of course, will be there as well. we're going to have a lot of extensive coverage on this truly, truly moving moment in american history, the passing of senator mccain and the respect he so deserves here in the nation's capitol. david gergen will join us, jamesie jame david axelrod, essie cup. the reverence for this senator transcends political divisions. >> it does. it comes out in a moment like this when people can be more reflective and not down in the arena in combat. people can stand back from it. i think we're moving today from what was very heartfelt and more informal sense we had yesterday of people who knew him best back in his native state, which he loved so much, and now we're coming to the more formal part.
he will be surrounded by powerful people who he has had combat with some, he hated some of them, some of them hated him. at a moment like this, it's such a good american tradition that people come together and say the final regard. >> this is capitol hill. an area the senator loved so much. he served two terms in the house of representatives before being elected to the u.s. senate where he served for more than 30 years. now his body in that casket will lie in state at the capitol rotun rotunda, he an area he knew so well and loved so much. >> as david said, yesterday was personal. today is public. the word i thought of when i was listening to dana was fitting. because over the years, there was talk sometimes, would john mccain run again? and he never wanted to stop. this was really where he loved
to be. it was the work he wanted to do. even this past year when he was dealing with this illness and he was back in arizona, he was working every day. people were coming to visit him. he was reading briefings. he was putting out statements. he really never wanted to stop. and this was what was at the center of it. >> certainly was. i just want to inform our viewers who are watching us right now, for those who are -- want to see the aretha franklin funeral in detroit, hln will have nonstop coverage of that. we will go back to that later. right now, we're focusing in on senator mccain and this memorial service that's about to begin at the u.s. capitol. david axelrod, he worked very passionately on so many sensitive issues, national security, foreign policy, comprehensive immigration reform, campaign finance reform. he always was anxious to work not just with his fellow republicans but with democrats as well.
>> and that is part of why there's such sadness about his passing, because we're living in a time of such polarity where that spirit of cooperation has really faded. so in a sense, people are paying tribute not just to john mccain but to a style of politics that i think many people miss. so, you know, he would have been honored in this way under any circumstance. but i think given the times, it is even more powerful and more poignant. >> i majust got a text from a mccain aide who underscored what you were saying which is that what we're about to see here is protocol. this is capitol protocol when there's somebody lying in state, with one exception. that is senator mccain expressly wanted chuck schumer, the democratic leader, to have a role so he will be jointly laying the senate wreath with the republican leader mitch mcconnell. that's the exception expressly
asked for. >> i want to point out, the house wreath will be laid by paul ryan together pi pelosi. >> he planned this. i said yesterday, i think that -- he is like anyone else probably would appreciate the tributes that have been spoken. it really feels like he planned this to send a message to the country. >> no question. >> about the kind of politics that he believed in. i think that's -- it's coming through very, very powerfully with details like the one you just shared. >> the political leadership, a lot of political leaders will be here at this rotunda memorial ceremony. it's especially moving for the family. the family that you know and so many peoples you obviously love as well. we're seeing pictures now, some live pictures of the family
standing atop those steps. cindy mccain, the widow, with her sons and other children. >> you know, yesterday was hard for family in that they watched their father and husband leave arizona for the last time. but to come here, a place this family has shared john mccain with. they shared him with washington for at least all of meghan's life. it's as much a part of their family as arizona was. whenever john -- senator mccain was home, washington was always on his mind, always. she would be visiting with us in d.c. or in new york and get a facetime from her dad who wanted to talk politics even while he was resting in arizona. this place, as much as we talk
about washington being what it is, this place is very special, equally special to the family. >> dana, they are about to bring the casket and take the casket out of the hearse. the family was watching. you saw cindy and the kids, including jimmy and jack, her sons who are both members of the u.s. military, a special honor guard will be bringing that casket up to the u.s. capitol. >> yeah. the flood of images and thoughts probably going through their head, certainly all of u.s. who have watched senator mccain, is how many times he bounded around in those hallways. the steps in and around there and that this will be the last time he is brought up those steps into the capitol he loved so much. >> certainly did. >> i just wanted to say, yesterday joe biden in the
eloquent eulogy raised a question, why has this hit the country so hard? why has john mccain's passing and why are we doing this? he thought it was about the optimism that he represented. i think it's nostalgia for a different kind of politics that he came to represent. i think that -- he embodies values people think have been almost forgotten. they want to see -- they want -- i think it's one of the most heartening parts of this episode has been how people are pouring out. you realize there are millions of person who want to change our politics. they're not into this combat we see every day. >> i want to point out as we are looking on the left part of the screen, as the coffin is being removed from the hearse, already ganl e gathered are members of the diplomatic corps in washington, the ambassadors who have gathered to pay their respects and to bring the respects of their respective countries to
senator mccain. members of the house of representatives, members of the senate, members of the joint chiefs of staff, various governors have shown up as well. the mayor of washington, d.c. will be there, is already there, we are told. of course, the vice-president will speak, the speaker of the house will speak, the senate majority leader will speak before the formal wreath laying ceremonies. >> one person is not going to be there today or tomorrow. that is as we know president trump. >> hold on one moment. i want to pause as we watch this moment.
>> that was unbelievable. >> the military honor guard has brought the casket up the stairs of the u.s. capitol. they will go into the rotunda for this service for this memorial ceremony that is about to begin. the vice-president of the united states, speaker of the house, senate majority leader, they will end the rotunda momentarily. we will see the casket placed on that platform, draped there black right in the middle of the rotunda. various important people, dana, here in washington, representing all sorts of the house, the senate, the diplomatic corps, governors, members of the joint chiefs of staff, they have gathered to honor and pay
tribute to this american hero. >> that's right. we see members of the trump administration in there. john kelly, the chief of staff, kellyanne conway and others. people who have known john mccain for decades before this current administration and before this current president, they worked for. we are seeing representatives from the diplomatic corps, from all parts of the political landscape, which is, of course, very telling about what we're seeing, what kind of man that we are seeing the tribute to. >> the family will be walking in momentarily as well. you see those seats that are empty right now, members of the family and others will be there, including those who will be speaking. david gergen, i interrupted you before. you can see members of the house and senate who have gathered there. nancy pelosi to the left, you see her right there.
among others. >> absolutely. i wanted to go back, you were raising a point about who is not here. >> you know, as i just pointed out, chief of staff john kelly is there. we saw a picture of attorney general jeff sessions and other members of the trump administration are there, many of them. one person is not there. that is president trump. he was specifically not invited. and yet, there are many top cabinet officials and others who are there. >> yes and general mattis, the secretary of defense mattis was at joint base andrews yesterday representing the administration when the u.s. air force plane brought the casket and family back here to washington, d.c. ryan, you are on capitol hill. we saw that honor guard bring the casket up the steps of the u.s. capitol.
it started to rain as they were taking that casket out of the hearse. >> yeah. wolf, i know you were watching it on television. to be here and watch it live was pretty dramatic. it's been a very sunny morning here in washington, d.c., hot and humid. the second the casket was brought out of the hearse, there were a few sprinkles and then the skies just opened up. it was a dramatic pouring rain here on the steps of the capitol. to watch that honor guard slowly take senator mccain's body up the steps of the capitol was an incredible moment. it should be noted that there are other places here in washington, d.c. that are still experiencing sunny skies. to see the way that this played out and to watch that honor guard not break their pace at all, not seem to be phased for even one second by the deluge of
rain. i can't understate how heavy the rain was at that moment. it was absolutely incredible. as if this moment weren't dramatic enough, to see that all play out the way it did was something else. wolf? >> yeah. very poignant, indeed. you saw very, very carefully the military honor guard taking that casket up the steps of the u.s. capitol. family will be walking in momentarily. the leadership of the u.s. house and senate will be walking in as well. we will be hearing remarks. just walk us through what we will be hearing. the invocation will be led by reverend patrick conroy. then mitch mcconnell will speak. paul ryan, the speaker of the house will follow. then the vice-president of the united states, mike pence will speak. then there will be this presentation of the senate wreath jointly been mcconnell and schumer, followed by the presentation of the house wreath by paul ryan and the minority
leader nancy pelosi. there will be a presentation of the administration, the trump administration wreeath by the vice-president, a final benedicti benediction. people from the public will be allowed to walk in and pay their personal respects to the late senator. it's going to be very emotional, especially for this very, very loving family. >> yeah, you can see meghan's husband is there along with other family members and some members of congress. this has already been a poignant week, this poignant moment -- >> the vice-president is there with his wife. >> and speaker ryan and mitch mcconnell. made more poignant by that
sudden rainstorm. if i were prone to metaphor, you might say the nation is weeping for this man today. >> that's something that senator mccain could not have planned. some higher force planned that. >> that's the mother -- >> that's roberta mccain. she's 106 years old. >> john mccain's mother who lives here in washington, d.c. outlived her son who would have been 82 last -- a few days ago. she's 106, dana. she is there and she will be at the national cathedral tomorrow for the formal memorial service. >> not only did she as a mother live through her son as a prisoner of war, not knowing if he would come out alive, but now she has had this long life and has been able to see her son have such an impact on this country and around the world. for her to live long enough to
be the one to bury her son is just really hard to wrap your mind around. this is why despite the fact that he would have been almost 82, so many people never thought this would happen so soon, because of his genes. the longevity. he was a lot like his mother who famously wasn't allowed to rent a car when she was almost 100 traveling through europe. so she bought one. >> the casket is now being brought into the rotunda by this military honor guard. it will be placed on the platform which is historic. 30 americans have been -- have received this kind of honor treatment in the u.s. capitol. it's a sign of how much everyone deeply, deeply appreciated the really amazing role that john mccain played. let's not forget, as his mother watches this -- hold on.
this day we honor a true american hero, senator john mccain. he dedicated his entire life to public service as a vocation. first in the military and then in elected office. he placed himself directly in harm's way during the vietnam war and his great sacrifice of personal freedom is well-known. as a senator, he served withint with many he agreed and many he did not. his willingness to speak the truth as he understood it, even when it was not politically expeee expeee expedient to do so. for that reason, it was all the
more precious. as we continue this celebration of honor, grant that all who attend to these proceedings might transcend smallness and limitation and emerge as people desirous of being our best selves in service to all our brothers and sisters as you might call each of us to be. dear lord, thank you for inspiring such greatness in senator john mccain and continue to bless the united states of america. amen.
>> mr. vice-proesident, mr. speaker, colleagues, distinguished guests and the mccain family, it's an honor to welcome you this morning. we gather to recognize a great loss and celebrate a great life. we celebrate six decades of devotion to the american idea and the cause of human freedom. generations of americans will continue to marvel at the man who lies before us. the cocky, handsome, naval aviator who barely scraped through school and then fought for freedom in the skies. who witnessed to our highest values even through terrible torture. and who became a generational leader in the united states
senate where our nation airs its great debates. now airing our great debates is a gentle way to describe how john approached the work of a senator. i have long joked that his guards at the hanoi hilton probably needed group therapy after john was finished with them. let's say there were times when some of his senate colleagues attempted to form a support group of our own. he treated every issue with the intensity the people's business deserved. he would fight tooth and nail for his vision of the common good, depending on the issue, you knew john would either be your staunchest ally or your most stubborn opponent. at any moment, he might be preparing an he wieloquent refln on human liberty or a
devastating joke served up with his signature cackle and that john mccain glint in his eye. he had america's fighting spirit, our noble idealism, our solemn patriotism and our slightly irreverent streak all rolled into one. i will miss a dear friend whose smile reminded us that service is a privilege and whose scars reminded us of the great cost that brave souls pay for our freedom. john felt like family. but, of course, it is cindy and roberta and joe and doug, andy, sidney, meghan, jack, jimmy and brid bridgette who could truly call this man their own. on behalf of the sen