Meghan McCain tribute to John McCain

Daughter of Sen. John McCain remembering her father.
17:02 | 09/01/18

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Transcript for Meghan McCain tribute to John McCain
The world's. Is a fine place. And worth fighting for. And I hate very nice to lead it. When Ernest Hemingway's Robert Jordan at the close for whom the bell tolls lies wounded and waiting for his last night. These are among his final thoughts. My father had every reason to think the world was an awful place. My father had every reason to think the world was not worth fighting for more. My father had every reason to think the world was worth leaving. He did not think any of those things. Like the hero of his favorite but John McCain took the opposite view. You had to have a lot of luck. To have had. Such a good life. I am here before you today saying the words I have never wanted to say. Giving this speech I have never wanted to get. Feeling of loss. I have never won its fuel. My father is gone. John Sidney McCain the third. Was many things. He was a sailor. He was an aviator that he was a hunts being he was a warrior. He was a prisoner. She was a hero. She was a congressman. He was a senator. He was a nominee for president of the United States. These are all the titles and the rules of a life that has been well lit. They are not the greatest of his titles. Nor the most important of his roles. He was it reads man. We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness. The real fake not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice she gave so willingly. Nor the opportunistic appropriation. Of those who live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served. He was a great fire who aren't right. In the past few days my family and I have heard from so many of those Americans. Who stood in the warmth and light of these fire. Founded illuminated what is best about them. We are grateful to them because they are grateful to him. If you have resented that fire that light it cast upon them the truth is revealed about their character. But my father never cared what they fight. And even that small numbers still have the opportunity. As long as they draw breath to live up to the example of John McCain. My other. Was a great man. He was a great way our. Q what is it greet American. I admired him for all of these things they love him because he was a great father. My father. Knew what it was like to grow up in the shadow of greatness. He did just as his father had done before him she was the son of a great admiral who was also the son of a great admiral. When it came time for the third John Sidney McCain to become a man he had no choice but in his own eyes locked in those exact scene past. He had become the sailor he had to go to war. He had to have his shot at becoming a great Atmel as they also had done. The past of his father and grandfather. Let my father directly to the harrowing how all of the Hanoi Hilton. This is the public legend that is John McCain. This is where all the biography is the campaign literature and public remembrances say he showed his character are his patriotism his faith. And his internist in the worst possible circumstances. This is where we learned that John McCain truly lies. And all of that is very true. Except for the last part. Today want to share with you where I've found out but John McCain truly was. It was seats in the Hanoi Hilton. It wasn't in the cockpit of a fast and lethal fighter jet it wasn't on the high seas were on the campaign trail. John McCain was in all of those places. With the best of him with somewhere else. The best of John McCain the greatest of his titles. And the most important of his role was as if father. Imagine the warrior. The night of the sky is gently carrying his little girl to bed. Imagine the dashing aviator who took his aircraft hurtling off pitching decks in the south China sees. Kissing a hurt when I fell in skin may need. Imagine. The distinguished statesman who counseled presidents and the powerful. Singing with his little girl in Oak Creek during a rainstorm to singing in the rain. Imagine the senator. The fierce content of the nation's best self. Taking his fourteen year old daughter out of school because he believed that I would learn more about America the town halls and held across the country. Imagine that elderly veteran of war in government whose wisdom and courage were sought by the most distinguished man of our time. With his eyes shining with happiness as he gave his blessing for his grown daughters marriage. You'll have to imagine that. I don't half do because I lifted all. I know who he was. I know what to find him. I got to see it every single day of my blessed life. John McCain was not declined by prison by the navy by the senate. By the Republican Party or by any single one of the deeds in his absolutely extraordinary life. John McCain this defines my love. Several of you out there that Hughes who crossed swords with him were found ourselves on the receiving end of his famous temper. Or were at a cross purposes to him on nearly anything a right at this moment. Doing your past to stay stone faced. Don't you know full well that if John McCain are in your shoes here today he'd be using some salty where he learned in the navy when my mother jabbed him in the arm and embarrassment. You look back at her and rumble. And maybe stock to stop talking that he would keep grinning. She was the only Lyon who could do that. On their first date when he's still did not know what sort of woman she was he recited a Robert service on to her called the cremation of Sam making it. About an Alaskan prospector who welcomes his cremation. As the only way to get warm in icy north. Their strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who oil for a goal of the Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run holds. He had learned in Hanoi. Prisoner in the Nextel had wrapped it out and code over and over again during the long years of captivity. My father figure that if Cindy Lou Hensley. Would sit through that and appreciate the dark humor that had seen him there's so many years who imprisonment. She just might sit through a lifetime with him as well. And she did. John McCain was defined by love. This love of my father for my mother was the most fierce and lasting love them all mom. Let me tell you what love meant to John McKay in. Given to me. His club was the love of a father who mentors as much as he comforts he was endlessly present for us. And no we did not. Always understand it. He was always teaching. He didn't expect us to be like him. His ambitions for us. And Mort from any world the achievement was to be better than him. Armed with his wisdom and informed by his experiences. Long before we were even old enough to have assembled our own. As a girl I did not fully appreciate what I most sleepy she. Now. How he's suffered. In how he for an with his stoic silence that was once the mark of an American man. I came to appreciate it first when he demands it of me. I was a small girl thrown from a horse and crying from a busted collar bone. My dad picked me up she took me the doctor and he got me all fixed up. Then he immediately. Took me back home and made me get back on that very same wars. I was furious at him as a child. But how I love him for it now. My father knew pain and suffering with an intimacy and immediacy that most of us are blessed never have endured. He was shot down his crippled he was beaten he was starts he was tortured and he was humiliated. That pain never left him. The cruelty of his Communist captors ensured that he would never raise his heart arms above his head for the rest of his life. Yet she survived. Yet he and toward. Yet he triumphed. And there was this man who had been through all that with a little girl who simply didn't want to get back on her horse. He could have sat me down and pulled me all of that and made me feel small because my complete and my there was nothing next to his pain and memory. Instead she made me feel loved. Make it he's set. His quiet voice that spoke with authority and met you can best okay. Get back on the wars. It did. Because I was a little girl I resented it now that Iowa woman. I look back across that time and see the expression on his face when I climb back up and road again and I see the pride and love in his eyes as he said. Nothing is going to break U. The rest of my life. Whenever I fall down I get back up. Whenever I am hurt I drive on whenever I am brought low I rise. That is not because I am uniquely virtuous. Were strong or resilient. It is simply because my father John McCain was. When my father got sick. I asked him. What he wanted needed to you with this eulogy he said. Show them how tough you are. That is what love meant to John McCain. Love for my father also met caring for the nation entrusted to him. My father that's true son of his father and grandfather was born into an enduring sense of the hard won character of American greatness. And was convinced of the need to defend it. With ferocity. And faith. John McCain was born in the distant and now bank which outpost. Of American power. And he understood America as a secret trust. He understood our public demands responsibilities. Even before it defends its right. He knew navigating the line between good and evil was often difficult. But always simple. He grasped that our purpose and our meeting was rooted in a missionaries responsibility. Stretching back centuries. Just as the first Americans looked upon a new world full of potential for a grand experiment in freedom and self government. So they're descendants have a responsibility. To defend old world from its worst sell. Fighters with no stomach for the summer soldier and sunshine patriots making the world new with the bells of liberty. The America John McCain is the America cut Abraham Lincoln. The filling the promise of the declaration of independence that all men are created equal in suffering greatly to see it through. The American John McCain is the America of the boys who rushed the colors and every war across three centuries. Yelling in Nan is the life of the republic. And particularly deep though is by their daring as Ronald Reagan said. Gave up their chance of seeing husbands and fathers and grandfathers and gave up their chance to be your revered old men. The America John McCain is yes to America and Vietnam. Fighting the fight even in the most forlorn cause even in the most grim circumstances. Even in the most distant and hop style corner of the world. Standing even defeat for the life and liberty other peoples in other lands. The America John McCain is generous. And welcoming and Walt. She is resourceful and confident and secure. She meets her responsibilities. She speaks quietly because she is strong. America does not boast because she has no need to you. The America and John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great. That fervent faith that proven devotion that abiding love. That is what drove my father from the fiery skies above the red river delta to the brink of the presidency itself. Love to find my father. As a young man he wondered if she would measure up to his distinguished lineage. I miss him so badly. I want to tell him that he did. But I take small comfort in this. Somewhere in the great beyond where the warriors go there to admirals of the United States mediate. Their much loved son. They are telling him he is the greatest among them. Dad I love you but I always out. So old land. I hope. All of extremist grounded what you're taught me. You love to me and you showed me what love must be. An aging Greek historian wrote that the image of great men his wolf it is the stuff of other men's lives. To hat agree this is well bring it into my life. It is woven into my mother's life and his wolf and it's my sister's weight it has all been it's my brother's lives. It is woven into the lit life and liberty of the country you sacrificed so much to defend. Doubt I know you were not perfect. We live in an era where we knock down old American heroes for all their imperfections. When no leader wants to admit fault or failure. You weren't except sand and you gave us an ideal to strive for. Look. I know you can see this gathering. Here in this cathedral and amazing disappearance remembering Alan. Like so many other heroes. You leave us streets in the flag he loves. You defended it you sacrificed it you've always honored it. It is good to remember. We are Americans. We don't put our heroes on pedestals just remember them. We raise them up because we want to emulate their virtues. This is how we honor them and this is how we will honoring new. But father is gone and you. The other is gone and my sorrow is amends. But I know his life. And they know it was great because it was good. It as much as I hate to see him go I do know how it ended. I know. Bloody afternoon of August 25. In front of Oak Creek in corn bill Arizona. Surrounded by the family he loves so much. An old man who shook off the scars of. Not 01 last time and it Rosen your man. Piling it one last place. Up and up and up. Busting clouds left to the right street on through to the kingdom of heaven. And you split earthly bonds. Put out his hand. And touched. The face. Of god. And loving it added.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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