John McCain Services Begin With Private Ceremony in Arizona

Sheri SchwartzAug 30, 2018

Mr McCain died of brain cancer last Saturday aged 81.

Arizona National Guard members carried the casket into the Arizona State Capitol Museum rotunda, for McCain to lie in state on what would have been his 82nd birthday.

This week marks the beginning of somber events honoring the life and legacy of Senator John McCain.

Phil Hubbard, a health care recruiter who lives in Scottsdale, held a cold water bottle in each hand as he waited for a chance to pay his respects.

Former military members in shorts and T-shirts stopped and saluted the closed casket flanked by National Guard members at the Arizona Capitol.

Gov. Doug Ducey and his wife greeted the hearse along with a phalanx of military personnel, war veterans, law enforcement officers and firefighters in dress uniform. "Only love can do that".

Meghan McCain cries at the casket of her father.

By the time the ceremony ended, crowds gathered for the public viewing of McCain's closed casket, seeking shelter from Phoenix's summer heat under tents stocked with coolers filled with ice and water.

"In stark relief to what now passes for our politics, he continues to serve as a beacon to who we are and who we can be when we are at our best", said Republican Senator Jeff Flake.

Former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl said he has been with McCain all around the world and he had better instincts on when to assert USA power than anyone else he knew.

"He believed in its people, its values and its institutions", added Kyl.

"I regret the relationship between the two", Graham said of the Arizona senator and President. "It's just not natural". McCain stood out during the last two years as a key rival and critic of U.S. President Donald Trump, a fellow Republican whom McCain's family has asked not to attend the funeral.

"He believed in something", said Hubbard, who had voted for McCain.

Inside, Cindy kissed her husband's coffin. Several longtime McCain staffers were also removed from the list.

Their daughter Meghan McCain, co-host of the television talk show "The View", sobbed openly. McCain's children from his first marriage followed, themselves all now middle-aged. The ceremony marked the start of five days of tributes in Phoenix and Washington for McCain, who would have turned 82 on Wednesday.

Among the pallbearers will be Democratic former vice president Joe Biden, ex-senator Russ Feingold, former NY mayor Michael Bloomberg and actor Warren Beatty. A memorial service will be conducted Saturday at Washington National Cathedral, where former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush are among the expected speakers.

"He was an honorable man, and there aren't a lot of those", said Elaine Lewis, who flew in from San Diego for the memorial service and had been in line since 8:15 a.m. The single mom and Democrat brought a bouquet of flowers and said she had always looked up to McCain.

Trump also blasted McCain for his deciding "no" vote on Republicans' efforts to partially repeal Obamacare past year.

Irene Campbell, whose late husband also fought in Vietnam, was also among those in line.

Ducey said to the rest of the world, McCain "was Arizona". "That's just a fact", Davis said.

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