Senator John McCain’s Body to Lie in State at Arizona State Capitol

August 29, 2018 Updated: August 29, 2018

PHOENIX—The body of John McCain, who endured 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and went on to become a lion of the U.S. Senate and a two-time Republican candidate for president, will lie in state on Wednesday in the Arizona state capitol.

The daylong public viewing of his casket was due to kick off five days of memorial tributes in Phoenix and Washington for McCain, who died on Saturday at his ranch in Cornville, Arizona, from brain cancer. He was 81.

Wednesday’s observance was to open with a private ceremony inside the Rotunda of the Arizona statehouse, after which members of the public were invited to pay their respects from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. local time.

An honor guard member stands outside the funeral home where John McCain's body remains
Honor guard member and Vietnam War veteran David Carrasco stands at a makeshift memorial outside the funeral home where the body of the late U.S. Senator John McCain rests in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 28, 2018. (Reuters/Brian Snyder)

McCain is only the third individual so honored in Arizona’s state capitol over the past 40 years, organizers of the ceremony said. The two others were state Senator Marilyn Jarrett in 2006 and Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens, a Tucson resident, in 1980.

A memorial service, to be attended by family, friends, political leaders and other dignitaries, is scheduled for Thursday at the North Phoenix Baptist Church. McCain’s body will be flown afterward to Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington.

People visit the makeshift memorial outside the funeral home where John McCain's body remains
People visit the makeshift memorial outside the funeral home where the body of the late U.S. Senator John McCain rests in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 28, 2018. (Reuters/Brian Snyder)

His body will then lie in state on Friday at the U.S. capitol for another memorial ceremony and public viewing, to be followed on Saturday by a funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral.

McCain, who parlayed his status as a Vietnam War hero into a decades-long political career, served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives before he was elected to the Senate in 1986.

John McCain on capitol hill at a senate armed services committee
File photo showing Sen. John McCain in his role as Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

On Sunday, McCain is to be buried in a private ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he graduated as a U.S. Navy officer in 1958 before going on to become a fighter pilot.

McCain, the son and grandson of Navy admirals, will be laid to rest beside his Naval Academy classmate and lifelong friend, the late Admiral Chuck Larson, organizers said.

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