It was a remarkable, in today's atmosphere of hatred, vitriol and division, to see two former adversaries of the late Sen. John McCain, both former presidents, join together with hundreds of others in the Washington Cathedral to sing "America the Beautiful."
It was a solemn ceremony, filled with touching anecdotes and humorous recollections as well as statements of deep admiration for McCain, who died just a week ago from brain cancer -- his last battle lost, but with courage and grace.
But there was more.
Sen. McCain's daughter, Meghan, pulled no punches even as she honored her father for all of his pursuits in life -- sailor, Congressman, Senator, Presidential candidate, husband. But the most important, she said, was just being her dad.
Clearly, though, she -- like her father -- has no tolerance for those who bully, taunt, and try to diminish others only to make themselves feel more important.
“The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great,” she said drawing a ripple of applause through the cathedral from an audience that included President Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who sat seemingly unmoved. Trump was not invited to the service.
But Meghan McCain was not alone in speaking out against the actions of Donald Trump, without ever uttering his name.
There was his predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama.
“John understood that part of what makes our country great is that our membership is based not on our bloodline, not on what we look like . . . but on our adherence to a common creed that all of us are created equal, endowed by our Creator certain unalienable rights.”, he said.
Obama noted that McCain “championed a free and independent press that’s vital to our democratic debate,” clearly referencing Trump’s repeated attacks on the news media, which he calls "the enemy of the people."
“So much of our politics can seem small and mean and petty," Obama added. "Trafficking in bombast and insult, phony controversies and manufactured outrage. It’s a politics that pretends to be brave and tough, but is instead born of fear. John called on us to be bigger than that, to be better than that.”
There was Obama's predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, a bitter rival for the 2000 GOP presidential nomination.
Said Bush, McCain “detested the abuse of power and could not abide bigots and swaggering despots.”
“He respected the dignity inherent in every life, a dignity that does not stop at borders and cannot be erased by dictators,”said Bush. Lest we as a nation forget who we are, he added, “John’s voice will always come as a whisper over our shoulder: ‘We’re better than this, America is better than this.’ ”
America the Beautiful.