(WPRI) — On the eve of funeral services for Senator John McCain, Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is preparing to serve as a pallbearer for his late colleague.
Speaking with Eyewitness News by phone Friday, Whitehouse said he and McCain were close friends despite their political differences. He said he was touched when the McCain’s family told him the late Arizona Senator wanted Whitehouse to serve as one of 15 pallbearers.
“It struck me pretty hard, let’s put it that way,” Whitehouse said. “I was very, very, very touched.”
Whitehouse said he had visited McCain in Arizona about a month ago, a visit he fondly remembers.
“It was just he and I sitting on the porch with the sun setting and the creek rushing by and the birds coming to the bird feeder and having fun, telling stories and saying goodbye,” Whitehouse recalled.
During their time in the senate, McCain and Whitehouse forged a friendship, despite their political differences. They often served as each other’s international travel companion.
Whitehouse said McCain will leave behind a legacy of kindness, honor and dignity.
“I think there’s a bit of a feeling that John perhaps as his last gift has given us a chance to revive and celebrate those values, and speak both to ourselves and to each other about a better America than the one we’re seeing right now,” Whitehouse said.
Whitehouse will have a chance to say his final farewells to McCain at Saturday’s funeral at the Washington National Cathedral and at the burial service at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery on Sunday.
“I’ll miss him,” Whitehouse said. “But he won’t be gone.”