The United States lost a true hero on Saturday when Vietnam veteran, longtime senator and former presidential candidate John McCain passed away at the age of 81 after battling Glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer.
Revered as a statesman and someone who was able to put partisan politics aside for the betterment of the nation, McCain will lie in state at the U.S. Capital this week. Prior to that, a funeral will be held in Arizona before McCain meets his final resting place in Annapolis, Maryland.
Following his death after decades of public service, McCain has been honored at every turn. That will now spill over to the NFL world. Arizona Cardinals star and longtime McCain friend Larry Fitzgerald will speak at his funeral service in Arizona on Thursday.
“It’s truly one of the greatest honors of my life to be able to talk about somebody who served his country so passionately and had been so dedicated to policies of this nation,” Fitzgerald said, via ESPN. “So, I was really taken aback by it.”
Fitzgerald’s speech will come after former Vice President and longtime McCain colleague Joe Biden pays his respects.
The relationship between McCain and Fitzgerald was not rooted in identity politics or ideologies.
Rest in peace to an American hero, statesman, servant of the people, and dear friend. Godspeed Senator McCain. My prayers for Cindy and the beautiful McCain family. pic.twitter.com/Tj87Hb8MtY
— Larry Fitzgerald (@LarryFitzgerald) August 26, 2018
Rather, an understanding of how their views of this nation coincided. It’s how McCain himself lived and served the people. After all, former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will eulogize McCain during his service in Maryland.
For Fitzgerald, it’s going to be hard to honor McCain in the 5-6 minutes he’s given to speak about the late Senator.
“You think about those 60-plus years and everything he’s done from his time served as a POW to all the years in the senate, the things he’s done her for the great state of Arizona — and to be able to do that in five or six minutes is extremely difficult,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m going to do the best I can and try to honor him for the wonderful man that he is.”
Former Arizona Diamondbacks great Luis Gonzalez and Phoenix Coyotes star Shane Doan will join Fitzgerald as local sports figures paying respects to McCain on Thursday. Each will act as a pallbearer.