In the wake of U.S. Sen. John McCain’s death, the Arizona Republican has been memorialized by dignitaries from across the political spectrum.
One longtime Arizona Cardinal wide receiver made it clear that the Vietnam-era prisoner of war influenced lives far outside of the D.C. beltway.
According to The Hill, Larry Fitzgerald will be one of those slated to eulogize McCain at a funeral service in Phoenix later this week.
In a recent ESPN interview, he described the invitation as “one of the greatest honors” of his life.
The 14-year NFL veteran said he is struggling with making sure he incorporates as much of the late senator’s legacy into his remarks as possible.
“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,” he said.
Fitzgerald said he “was really taken aback” by the news that he would be among the invited speakers. The two prominent Arizonans had grown to become close friends in private.
“It’s tough to be able to get everything you want to say,” he said.
According to The Hill, Fitzgerald is expected to skip a preseason game the Cardinals are set to play on Thursday, the same day of McCain’s memorial service at North Phoenix Baptist Church.
That service will be part of a five-day series of events allowing for public viewing.
McCain’s body will also lie in state at the Arizona Capitol building as well as locations in D.C. and Maryland prior to his interment on Sunday at the U.S. Naval Academy. Another service is scheduled for the National Cathedral in the nation’s capital.
Fitzgerald is one of several friends slated to speak at these events, telling ESPN that he doubts he will adequately represent what McCain’s service meant to the nation.
“It’s tough to be able to get everything you want to say,” he said. “How do you accurately be able to give somebody their due justice who served the United States for 60-plus years, I mean dedicated his entire life.”
He offered some thoughts on that legacy in a tweet shortly after McCain’s death.
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
“Rest in peace to an American hero, statesman, servant of the people, and dear friend,” he tweeted. “Godspeed Senator McCain. My prayers for Cindy and the beautiful McCain family.”
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