Phoenix, Aug 29 (EFE).- Arizonans on Wednesday bade farewell to Sen. John McCain in a ceremony in the state capitol rotunda attended by Gov. Doug Ducey, the late senator’s relatives, politicians and many members of the public.
On Wednesday morning, McCain’s body was transferred from the A.L. Moore Grimshaw-Mortuary chapel in Phoenix to the capitol, where the casket, covered in a US flag, was escorted by an honor guard from the Arizona National Guard.
Veterans, soldiers and top Arizona officials lined up on the square outside while the mortal remains of the long-time politician – deemed by many in this state to be an “American hero” – were brought in to the capitol.
McCain died last Saturday at age 81 after a year-long battle with brain cancer.
The private ceremony included remarks by Gov. Ducey and former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, while the floral wreath was placed on the coffin by McCain’s close friend, former Congressman Jim Kolbe.
Sen. Jeff Flake concluded the services on Wednesday with a “blessing.” McCain’s relatives passed by and placed their hands on the casket to bid their loved one farewell.
During the afternoon, the public will be able to pay their respects to the politician and former US Navy pilot at the state capitol and a McCain family spokesman said that as long as there are people in line waiting to pass by the departed senator’s casket the capitol will remain open.
Over the past 40 years, just two other people have been accorded the same honor as McCain, to lie in state in the Arizona capitol: Arizona state Sen. Marilyn Jarrett in 2006 and four-time Olympic gold-medalwinning athlete Jesse Owens in 1980.
While Arizona mourned the death of one of its most beloved war veterans – who was shot down over North Vietnam, held prisoner there and tortured for more than five years but in 2008 was nominated by the Republican Party as its presidential candidate – dozens of people publicly shared their stories of how McCain had impacted their lives.
McCain will be buried on Sunday, Sept. 2, at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, after funeral services are held for him in Washington’s National Cathedral on Saturday.