Estonia is to be represented at the funeral of US Senator and former presidential nominee John McCain by Minister for Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser and Minister of Defence Jüri Luik. Senator McCain, who had visited Estonia three times in recent years and in an official capacity, died last Saturday at the age of 81 at his home in Cornville, Arizona after suffering from brain cancer revealed after a routine operation in July 2017. He was midway through his sixth term as Republican Senator from Arizona.
Mr. Mikser (SDE) and Mr. Luik (Pro Patria) are to attend the funeral, which is to be held in Washington DC on Saturday, three days after what would have been Senator McCain's 82nd birthday, spokespersons for their respective ministries told the Baltic News Service on Wednesday.
Senator John McCain, former officer and aviator in the US Navy and scion of a prominent naval family, was a noted war veteran, particularly during his incarceration for five and a half years in Hanoi, in then-North Vietnam, after being shot down during the Vietnam war.
He also supported Estonia in matters of security and cybersecurity in particular, and visited the country three times in consecutive years, 2014-2016, meeting with two Estonian Prime Ministers and Presidents during that time. His death was greatly mourned by former President Toomas-Hendrik Ilves, who tweeted his thanks to the Senator ''...for all you did to help my people, my country, from back when we were a still captive nation and through the years since we again became free,'' as well as similar messages from current President Kersti Kaljulaid, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, together with Sven Mikser and other prominent politicians.
Glioblastoma, which Senator McCain was diagnosed with in 2017, is the same aggressive form of brain tumour that in 2009 took the life of another prominent sitting US Senator, Ted Kennedy (Democrat), younger brother of John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy.
A memorial service celebrating the life of John McCain is to be held at the Arizona State Capitol in the home state of McCain on Wednesday, with another at the North Phoenix Baptist Church on Thursday with former US vice president Joe Biden (Democrat) scheduled to give a speech. Mr. Biden was the running mate of Barack Obama, and ran against the John McCain-Sarah Palin ticket in the 2008 US Presidential elections.
On Thursday, Senator McCain's coffin is to be taken to the US Capitol Rotunda in Washington. The funeral procession on Saturday will pass the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and then head to the Washington National Cathedral where former US Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama are also scheduled to give speeches.
Editor: Andrew Whyte