Vets line up to honor Sen. John McCain

PHOENIX (AP) – Veterans and constituents are already lining up around the Arizona State Capitol to pay their respects to Sen. John McCain.

He will lie in state Wednesday for a private formal ceremony and a public viewing. McCain died of brain cancer last Saturday at age 81.

The sun was already beating down on a quiet Capitol as security officers began to patrol the grounds and prepare for the procession with the hearse bearing McCain’s body from a funeral home to the Capitol.

By 8 a.m., several dozen veterans and active military members had taken spots on the sidewalk to watch it.

Judith Hatch, a veteran from Phoenix, started the day by handing out flags to those who were assembled. She says Arizona lost a champion for the military.

Hatch says: “We definitely have lost a strong advocate, so we’ll need someone who is going to step up to the plate.”

Family, friends and constituents will gather Wednesday at Arizona’s Capitol to pay their respects to Sen. John McCain, the first of two days of services here before he departs the state he has represented since the 1980s.

A private ceremony will be held Wednesday morning at the Arizona State Capitol Museum rotunda, where McCain will lie in state.

That ceremony will include remarks from Gov. Doug Ducey and former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, plus a benediction from Sen. Jeff Flake. It will also mark the first appearance of McCain’s family members since the longtime Arizona senator died of brain cancer on Saturday at age 81.

Later that afternoon, the Capitol will be open to members of the public who want to pay their respects.

McCain’s former presidential campaign manager Rick Davis says the viewing will go on as long as people are waiting in line.

For some Arizona residents, McCain has been a political fixture in the state for their entire lives. He took office in Arizona in the early 1980s, first as a congressman and then as a senator in the seat once held by Sen. Barry Goldwater.

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