Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has received many awards and recognitions in his football career. He will receive many more.
But for him, the chance to speak at the memorial service for Sen. John McCain in Phoenix Thursday is something that nearly left him speechless, as he thought about: “The impact that he’s had on myself, Arizona, the nation. I’m just going to try to do the best I can.”
“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,” Fitzgerald said, via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. “So, I was really taken aback by it.”
Fitzgerald has known the politician, statesman, and war hero for years, and McCain’s wife Cindy asked him to be a part of the Arizona service a few months ago after a visit.
The Cardinals wideout will speak before former Vice President Joe Biden, and he said he has been given five to seven minutes, which may present the greatest challenge.
“Fortunately, I’ve had some time to get prepared and put some of my thoughts on paper,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve had to kind of shorten it down. You have a short window. It’s tough to be able to get everything you want to say. 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.
“You think about those 60-plus years and everything he’s done from his time served as a POW to all the years in the senate, the things he’s done her for the great state of Arizona — and to be able to do that in five or six minutes is extremely difficult. I’m going to do the best I can and try to honor him for the wonderful man that he is.”
The former senator and Presidential candidate was a fan of all the Phoenix professional sports franchises, and visited the Cardinals training camp last summer. Former Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzalez and former Coyotes forward Shane Doan will also serve as pallbearers during Thursday’s ceremony.