Today is a sad day for John McCain’s family, friends, and supporters. On what would have been the 82nd birthday for the Arizona Senator if he had not passed, McCain’s body will instead lie in state as part of a public viewing set up at the Arizona Capitol Building in Phoenix, according to reports from CNN.
The Arizona memorial is only the first in a series of memorials for the Senator, stretching from to the ends of the country as the McCain’s supporters and colleagues pay tribute to the self-styled “maverick”, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 81 after an extended battle with brain cancer.
Today’s memorial service will begin with a private ceremony that will allow McCain’s colleagues to pay tribute before the event is opened up to the public that McCain spent more than 35 years serving, beginning with him getting elected to the House of Representatives almost as soon as he left the military in 1982.
McCain’s body will remain in the Capitol through the night until tomorrow morning. From then McCain will be transported to a Phoenix church for a memorial service, where the tributes will continue to roll in. Among those confirmed for attendance is former Vice President Joe Biden, who will be delivering a eulogy during the service.
The body of Sen. John McCain will lie in state at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix on Wednesday. It's the first of four days of funeral services for McCain, who died Saturday at age 81. https://t.co/qji5pV5bT7 pic.twitter.com/oKZxamGN5c— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) August 29, 2018
After the events in Arizona, McCain will be taken to Washington D.C., where his body will once again lie in state at the U.S. Capitol building on Friday. His final memorial service will be held on Saturday at the National Cathedral before he will be buried at the US Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland.
Senators returning to Washington after the summer break paid tribute to their former colleague, including one of McCain’s closest friends and allies, Senator Lindsey Graham.
“It is going to be a lonely journey for me for a while,” said Graham, addressing the Senate. “I am going to need your help, and the void to be filled by John’s passing is more than I can fill.”
Even as his health deteriorated, McCain remained deeply entwined in the nation’s politics, as the former Vietnam prisoner of war and the Republican nominee in the 2008 presidential election became one of the most vocal critics of President Donald Trump through his final days.
McCain has been fighting brain cancer since 2017 and had yet to make an appearance in the Senate in 2018. He passed away quietly with his wife Cindy and other family members at his side.