The president offered the late senator’s family ‘deepest sympathies and respect’ but ignored tradition of flying flags at half-staff until burial

John McCain emphasized the importance of unity among Americans and urged the country to not “despair of our present difficulties” in a farewell message prepared before his death.

The message was released on Monday as a statement by McCain’s longtime adviser Rick Davis, two days after the veteran Republican senator succumbed to a yearlong battle with brain cancer at the age of 81.

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