After lifelong service to our country, as a Vietnam veteran, a former (POW) prisoner of war and a six term senator, John McCain will rest next to his best friend, Chuck Larson, at the Naval Academy Cemetery.  Through thick and thin, McCain and Larson were always there for each other.  They both became buddies while they attended military school.  Graduating in the Class of 1958 from the Naval Academy, they both had distinctive military careers.

Larson, who died in 2014, was commander in chief of the military forces in the Pacific.  He acquired the distinction of becoming the second youngest admiral in history.  He became Superintendent of the Naval Academy and held many other important posts.

After his plane was shot down, McCain became a (POW) prisoner of war for five and a half years.  He was tortured and beaten.  Through his courage and strength, he overcame the physical and psychological abuse.  When he returned to the US, he was a charismatic hero who was a natural born orator.  With his magnetic personality, heroism and intelligence, he was a perfect fit for the world of politics.  He was elected to the House in 1982.  Elected to the Senate in 1986, he served six terms and loved his job so much that he never fully retired.

Known as the “maverick” of the senate floor, he was well liked by most politicians, even his opponents.  During 2000 and 2008, he ran for president but lost.  Still, he was always a winner, a real hero, and no one could ever take that title away from him.  Never forgetting who he was, he fought for the rights of John Doe.

Even though he was a distinguished senator, he remained humble.  He valued family, friendship and his life.  He was always thankful for all the good times that he had as well as the challenges.  Being so proud of who he was, he never dreamed of being anyone else.

After losing his battle with brain cancer, he will be laid to rest this weekend at Naval Academy Cemetery in Maryland.  McCain’s father and grandfather, who were both admirals, are both buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

It is a real honor to be buried at Naval Academy Cemetery.  Those who are interred at Naval Academy Cemetery include Medal of Honor recipients, Superintendents of the Naval Academy, veterans and former employees of the Academy.  There are many high standards for burial at this prestigious burial  ground.  In order for Naval Academy graduates to be eligible for burial, they had to have a flag rank while on active duty.  An unremarried spouse of an officer from the Navy or Marine Corps can also be interred at the grounds.

The history of this military cemetery dates back to after the American Civil War.  In 1868, the Naval Academy bought Strawberry Hill, which was a sixty-seven acre piece of land.  They acquired Strawberry Hill because they wanted to have more land after the American Civil War.  In a year, part of the land was turned into the Naval Academy Cemetery.

This graveyard is famous for its memorials.  Built in 1890, The Jeannette Memorial honors the men who lost their lives in the Jeannette Arctic Expedition.  Donated by the Class of 1937, there is a monument that honors war heroes whose corpses were never found.

As the flags fly at half-staff to honor Senator John McCain, we should take the time to remember all of our war heroes.  The majority of our bravest Americans did not become famous or as successful as McCain, but they all made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve out freedom. That flag should also fly to pay homage to all of our veterans.  Being so brave on and off the battlefield, there is no doubt that McCain would have agreed.