ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Sen. John McCain was laid to rest Sunday afternoon at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland, next to his best friend from his Naval Academy days, Adm. Chuck Larson.
He picked the historic site overlooking the Severn River over the grandeur of Arlington National Cemetery, where his father and grandfather, both admirals, are buried. Larson, McCain's beloved friend from their Class of 1958, had reserved four plots at the storied cemetery - two for McCain and himself, and two for their wives, now widows.
Larson died in 2014, and McCain wrote in his recent memoir that he wanted to be buried next to his friend: "I want to watch the hawks hunt from the sycamore, and then take my leave bound for a place near my old friend Chuck Larson, in the cemetery on the Severn, back where it began."
The McCain family attended a private ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy chapel on Sunday afternoon. Invited along with family and friends were members of McCain's Class of 1958, military leaders and Brigade of Midshipmen, and Senator Lindsey Graham and General David Petraeus both paid tribute.
During the subsequent burial ceremony, four F-18s took part in a missing man formation saluting the late senator. As the aircraft roared over the Naval Academy, boats on the Severn River below passed with their flags at half-mast.
As the hearse carrying McCain passed through a gate and into the academy before the ceremony earlier in the afternoon, there was a loud applause from the several hundred people lining the street outside on the hot and muggy summer day. Many held their hands over their hearts and waved American flags and applauded loudly. Some in the crowd held signs that said, "Senator John McCain Thanks For Serving! Godspeed" and "Rest In Peace Maverick."
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.