Crowds brave Arizona heat to pay respects to John McCain
Hundreds of people paid their respects to US Senator John McCain yesterday, standing for hours in the broiling Arizona sun before filing past the flag-draped casket that his tearful wife, Cindy, lovingly pressed her face against after a ceremony for the former North Vietnam prisoner of war. Former military members in shorts and T-shirts stopped and saluted the closed casket. Here's more.
John McCain died of brain cancer on Saturday
The private service held earlier also marked the first appearance of Senator McCain's family since the Republican senator died Saturday of brain cancer. It also began two days of official mourning in Arizona before his body is taken to Washington for a viewing at the US Capitol, followed by burial at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
McCain was born in a then unincorporated territory in 1936
McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, the then unincorporated territory, on 29 August 1936, while his father, who went on to become an admiral, served in the military. The private service was thus held on his 82nd birth anniversary.
Vietnamese residents also paid their respects to McCain
Families with small children came by, and several people placed their hand over their heart or bowed, including Vietnamese residents who traveled from Southern California. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey remembered McCain as an internationally known figure and "Arizona's favorite adopted son". "Imagining an Arizona without John McCain is like picturing Arizona without the Grand Canyon," Ducey said.
A video of the private service
McCain's widow, Cindy, began what will be five days of emotional final farewells to the American hero as John McCain was laid at the Arizona State Capitol. @nancycordes reporting https://t.co/aiwKMlzPRD pic.twitter.com/r0AVMbHVQH— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 29, 2018
Senators offered their condolences at the ceremony
Former Arizona Senator Jon Kyl said he had been with McCain across the world and he had better instincts on when to assert the US power than anyone else he knew. "I will miss him as a friend, and a strong force for America," Kyl said. Senator Jeff Flake offered the benediction, expressing gratitude for McCain's life and for his sacrifice.
Line of people waiting to pay respects snaked down streets
By the time the service ended, crowds had gathered to wait for the public viewing of McCain's closed casket, seeking shelter from Phoenix's summer heat under tents with coolers filled with ice and water bottles. The line snaked down streets even as a continuous flow of people flowed past the casket. The visitation was to continue as long as people waited in line.