JOHN McCain was called as a “true American hero” — and a lousy driver with a wicked sense of humor — at a packed memorial service.
His lifelong pal, Joe Biden, wiped away tears as he called him “a brother” before the late senator’s flag-draped casket was carried to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s, My Way.
“I loved John McCain,” former Vice President Biden said.
“I always thought of John as a brother. We had a hell of a lot of family fights.”
Choking back tears, the former Delaware senator lamented the “relentless” and “unforgiving” brain cancer that took the 81-year-old Arizona Republican’s life Saturday.
Biden, 76, ended by paraphrasing Shakespeare: “We shall not see his like again.”
Also speaking at North Phoenix Baptist Church was Arizona Cardinals player Larry Fitzgerald, who described his “unlikely” friendship with McCain.
“Many people might wonder what a young, African-American kid from Minnesota and a highly decorated Vietnam War hero-turned-United States-senator might have in common,” said Fitzgerald.
“I’m black. He was white. I’m young. He wasn’t so young.
“He lived with physical limitations brought on by war.
“I’m a professional athlete. He ran for president. I run out of bounds.
“He was the epitome of toughness, and I do everything I can to avoid contact,” continued Fitzgerald.
John McCain died on Sunday after a long battle with brain cancer[/caption]
He added: “But you know what the answer is. That’s just who he is.”
Thursday’s service began after a motorcade bearing the body of the former Navy pilot and two-time presidential candidate made its way from the state Capitol past Arizonans waving flags and campaign-style McCain signs.
At the church, mourners heard Amazing Grace sung by a choir from Brophy College Preparatory, a boys school in Phoenix that two of McCain’s sons attended.
Grant Woods, McCain’s chief of staff when McCain was a congressmen, drew laughs in his own eulogy for his longtime friend.
Grant, a former Arizona attorney general, recalled McCain’s “terribly bad driving” and his sense of humor.
The church’s senior pastor, Noe Garcia, pronounced McCain “a true American hero.”
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Sinatra’s “My Way” paid tribute to the politician renowned as a maverick for following his principles.
Later Thursday, a military aircraft flew McCain’s body to DC for a lying-in-state at the Capitol Friday, a service at the Washington National Cathedral Saturday, and burial at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday.
A version of this story originally appeared on the NY Post.
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