Sen. McCain to lie in state at Arizona Capitol on Wednesday; mourners continue to pay respects

PHOENIX – As Arizonans continued to mourn Sunday, Gov. Doug Ducey announced that Sen. John McCain will lie in state at the state Capitol on Wednesday – McCain’s birthday.

Ducey called it a “rare and distinct occurrence for a truly special man” in a tweet posted Sunday.

The six-term Arizona senator died Saturday, a little more than a year after doctors diagnosed an aggressive brain cancer known as glioblastoma. He was 81.

A private, formal ceremony is planned for 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Capitol rotunda, honoring McCain’s “life and service to the State of Arizona and the nation,” according to johnmccain.com. The public can pay respects from 2-8 p.m. A livestream will be available here.

The honor of lying in state allows the public to pay their respects, especially when a private funeral is planned. The dignitary’s remains usually are in a casket.

At the Arizona Capitol, this usually means the person will lie on the mosaic state seal, which is generally roped off, according to Secretary of State Michele Reagan. However, Reagan said in a message that these details for McCain had not been finalized early Sunday afternoon.

In the past 40 years, only two others have been given the honor of lying-in-state at the state Capitol rotunda: state Sen. Marilyn Jarrett in 2006 and Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens, a Tucson resident, according to the site.

The memorial service is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Thursday at the North Phoenix Baptist Church. Members of the public can apply for a ticket to the funeral service through McCain’s website.

Gov. Doug Ducey called Wednesday’s planned viewing in the Capitol rotunda a “rare and distinct occurrence.” (Photo by Ellen O’Brien/Cronkite News)

Following the memorial service, McCain’s body will be flown to Washington, D.C.; further details were not provided Sunday.

McCain also will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda. He will be the 13th senator to receive the honor, which is reserved for the country’s “most eminent citizens,” according to the Architect of the Capitol.

That ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. Aug. 31, when McCain’s family, congressional colleagues, staff and the public will honor his life and service.

On Sept. 1, a private memorial service will take place at the Washington National Cathedral. National and international leaders have been invited to attend, according to McCain’s website. A livestream will be available here.


– Cronkite News video by Daniel Perle

Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama are expected to speak at McCain’s service in Washington. McCain had requested the two deliver eulogies at his funeral, according to CBS News.

Numerous news media outlets reported that McCain did not want President Donald Trump to attend his services, instead offering an invitation to Vice President Mike Pence.

Mourners have not waited to pay their respects to McCain, placing flowers, candles and flags near his office in Phoenix, the funeral home where his body was taken and at the Capitol.

Aaron Cartland, an honorary member of the POW MIA KIA Honor Guard, stands outside the A.L. Moore-Grimshaw Mortuaries Bethany Chapel in Phoenix, where Sen. John McCain's body was taken after his death Saturday near Cornville. Cartland attends Ironwood High School in Glendale. (Photo by Anya Magnuson/Cronkite News)

Honor Guard Commander David Carrasco (right) sits at a bus stop bench outside the A.L. Moore-Grimshaw Mortuaries Bethany Chapel in Phoenix, where Sen. John McCain's body was taken Saturday night. (Photo by Anya Magnuson/Cronkite News)

A.L. Moore-Grimshaw Mortuaries Bethany Chapel in Phoenix, which has been in business since 1906, serves veterans and their survivors. (Photo by Anya Magnuson/Cronkite News)

Visitors began leaving flowers and handwritten notes outside Sen. John McCain's office, near 24th Street and Camelback Road, once his death was announced Saturday. (Photo by Anya Magnuson/Cronkite News)

Flowers, candles and cards left outside Sen. John McCain’s office, near 24th Street and Camelback Road, on Sunday. (Photo by Anya Magnuson/Cronkite News)

A handwritten card tops the wall outside the Phoenix office of Sen. John McCain. Those wishing to pay respects to the six-term senator can view his casket in the Arizona Capitol rotunda Wednesday. (Photo by Anya Magnuson/Cronkite News)

A flag flies at half-staff over the Russell Senate Office Building where Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, had his Washington, D.C., office. McCain died Saturday at 81. (Photo by Ian Solomon/Cronkite News)

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