I have just spent a good part of Friday watching the funeral services for Sen. John McCain and the legendaryAretha Franklin. Two distinctly different contributors to our nation’s history in a century of change.
In listening to the remarks of politicians, celebrities, friends and family we came much closer to seeing the greatness of these two individuals at the end of their journeys.
Each was a celebrity, wealthy, powerful, respected in different arenas. Two Americans who used their talent and skills to make our world a better place.
Old friends, Navy buddies and some who served with the senator in Washington recounted personal insights. We had a glimpse into the man: Loyal, brave, witty and sometimes cantankerous and something indefinable.
The Queen of Soul had something definable; she had a unique talent, a voice that touched the audience one-by-one. Now the stilled voice of Aretha is brought to life by other artists, also graced with stirring talent capable of absorbing the soulful Aretha’s.
She was a free spirit, a child/mother, who matured into a Mom who focused on her four sons, her nieces/nephews, and anyone who needed her. She was generous in spirit and a guiding light. Her legacy also is her involvement in issues affecting women, African-Americans, and education.
She was a natural woman and a feminist who lived it without the label. She sang her heart out before world leaders and introduced the unknowing to soul music. Friday, the music became the prayer.
We got to know more about Aretha Franklin other than her miraculous voice during the public services. We learned more about John McCain by the words spoken and the finale he chose – including reserving 1,000 seats for the public at the National Cathedral, and a pass before the Vietnam War Memorial before his interment at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Of these two, I would say we had a glimpse of greatness.