Richmond POW held captive with McCain: ‘They beat the living daylight out of him’

Posted at 12:02 PM, Aug 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-27 12:02:59-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- While the political world processes the death of senator, two-time presidential candidate, and former prisoner of war John McCain, his family and friends remember his dedication to his country and life of servitude.

Paul Galanti is one of these friends.

The Richmond man, and former naval aviator, spent five and a half years with McCain has a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

Galanti said McCain endured unimaginable hardships as a prisoner in Vietnam - but he refused to leave, even after the government negotiated for his release.

"He really was almost dead when he got to North Vietnam and he got to his cell and they beat the living daylight out of him," Galanti said. "But he didn't leave, he just said that's not the policy and 'I'll go home after everyone who was shot down before me goes home.'"

Senator McCain will be eulogized by former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, as well as former Vice President Joe Biden.

Galanti said it was no surprise McCain and Obama respected and admired each other, despite their political rivalry during the 2008 presidential election.

"I'm trying to think of any other political opponents over the last 10-15 years where that would happen - and I can't," Galanti said.

Sen. McCain will be honored this week for five days in three cities

After being diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer last year, McCain began planning his own funeral, which many expected to be as grand and prominent as his life. On Sunday, his family released the details of his memorial service, which will take place for five days this week in three different cities. Here's what we know.

Wednesday, August 29

McCain, who served for more than 30 years as a Republican senator from Arizona, will lie in state at the Arizona State Capitol on Wednesday. A private ceremony will be held between two public viewings, where people can pay their respects and honor his life.

In the last 40 years, only two others have lain in state in that building: Arizona state Sen. Marilyn Jarrett in 2006, and Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens, who was a resident of Tucson, in 1980.

Thursday, August 30

On Thursday, the senator will be moved by motorcade to North Phoenix Baptist Church for a memorial service celebrating his life and legacy. According to a statement, McCain's "family, friends, along with national, state, local and tribal officials, and business leaders from across the state of Arizona have been invited to attend the service." It will begin at approximately 10 a.m. PT. There will be coverage of the memorial service on CNN.

Later that day, McCain's body will depart from Arizona and be flown to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. Upon arrival, McCain will be received by armed forces body bearers.

Friday, August 31

The late senator will lie in state at the United States Capitol on Friday. A formal ceremony honoring his life and service to the nation will take place at about 11 a.m. ET and will be shown live on CNN.

Following the service, McCain will lie in state for the remainder of the day and the public will be invited to view his casket. The last lawmaker to receive this honor was Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii in 2012.

Saturday, September 1
On Saturday, a mass of mourners will gather at the National Cathedral in Washington to attend McCain's memorial service.

According to McCain's family, "friends, congressional colleagues and staff, as well as U.S. and international leaders, have been invited to attend and participate in the service."

CNN previously reported that at the request of McCain, former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will deliver eulogies at this service. CNN reported in May that the McCains did not want President Trump at his funeral.

Sunday, September 2

At about 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, a private memorial service will take place at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Following the service, a private burial ceremony will take place at the academy's cemetery, where McCain will be laid to rest next to his longtime friend and Naval Academy classmate, Adm. Chuck Larson.

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