The late U.S. Sen. John McCain will lie in state Wednesday in the copper-domed rotunda at the old state Capitol building.

The first of a series of memorials and tributes commemorating his life was a private ceremony that started at 10 a.m. Speakers included Gov. Doug Ducey and former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl. U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake offered a benediction, and former U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe presented a wreath.

Members of the public are invited to pay their respects during a public viewing.  The Capitol will stay open until everyone in line has had a chance to participate.

No cameras or photography will be allowed inside the building. No guns will be allowed; storage lockers will be available. Small bags will be permitted inside. Everyone must undergo a security screening.

9:20 p.m.: Final tally: 15,000 visitors

An estimated 15,000 people came to the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix on Wednesday to pay their respects to the late Sen. John McCain, whose body lay in state inside the rotunda of the old Capitol building through most of the day.

A continual stream of people, many standing in lines exceeding two hours in 100-degree heat, lined up outside the building throughout the day to file by the senator’s flag-draped casket.

The final crowd estimate was provided by a McCain family representative and was based on a state Department of Public Safety count.

The Phoenix Fire Department said Wednesday night it responded to 25 emergency medical calls to assist people at the Capitol; three people were taken to hospitals. None of the calls was critical, the department said.

8:15 p.m.: Senator’s sons greet people

Sen. John McCain’s children, in a surprise move, returned to the Arizona Capitol late Wednesday where their father was lying in state throughout the day to greet people who were among the last people who had waited in line to pay their respects.

Doug McCain, Sidney McCain, John “Jack” McCain and Jimmy McCain, all of whom had been at the Capitol on Wenesday morning with other family members for a private ceremony, could be seen greeting people as they entered the rotunda and introducing themselves.

“Hi, I’m John McCain,” the senator’s son could be heard saying as he greeted people near the entrance.

The children did not stay long for the impromptu greetings, which took place near the end of a long day that saw an estimated 15,000 people wait in 100-degree heat, at some points for more than two hours, to pay their respects to the late senator, who died last Saturday after a yearlong battle with brain cancer.

The family left shortly before 9 p.m.

McCain’s funeral is scheduled for Thursday morning.


Danny Mazza, who interned for John McCain, tells his sons Jack and James, “You know your father is my hero.”
Laura Gómez, The Republic |

7:45 p.m.: People continue to file in

Half an hour from the memorial’s scheduled close, people were still adding themselves to the line. They worked around a maze of metal gates at the Capitol’s southeast corner, watching their step in the building darkness.

A Department of Public Safety estimate earlier in the afternoon put the average line length around 1,500 people. By 7:30 pm, the crowd had visibly shrank.

Most of the television trucks that once filled the field across the street left. The demand for water bottles faded with the sunlight. 

Department of Public Safety troopers stationed outside the Capitol couldn’t say how late people would be allowed into the building, only that they would keep going as long as mourners kept arriving.

— Alden Woods

7:30 p.m.: Tribal leaders among visitors

Stories of McCain’s advocacy are legend in Arizona’s tribal communities. Decades of work in D.C., including a tenure on the Senate Indian Affairs committee, made McCain one of Indian Country’s favorite politicians. 

“He’s always met us,” former Hualapai chairwoman Louise Benson said. “He’s there, and we know he’s busy.”

Benson and a friend, former Hualapai councilwoman Emma Tapija, left Peach Springs before sunrise to thank McCain in person at the state Capitol building.

Hours later, Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis wound his way through the line. Members of his tribe’s American Legion Post 84, named after Sacaton native and Iwo Jima legend Ira Hayes, filled the line around him. 

Lewis said McCain’s relationship with the tribe stretched back to the 1980s, when once-a-century floods devastated the community. McCain, then a congressman, toured the destruction by helicopter and on foot. 

Then, he kept coming back. 

Until his death, Lewis said, McCain always remembered how to say hello. 

— Alden Woods

7:15 p.m.: Visitors continue to pay respect 

A jumbo screen streams the view from inside the Capitol rotunda where visitors pass by the flag-draped casket. Some stop in front of the casket to make the sign of the cross. Others bow. A few salute. Most just slow down their pace a bit to spend a little more time with John McCain.

— Laura Gómez

6:30 p.m.: ‘He can actually rest now’

Rachel Craig cried as she shared how she wrote a letter to Sen. John McCain in 2005 to request help for her husband, Jeffrey. He had been injured in Iraq and couldn’t walk, she said.

The senator came through for her husband, getting him treatment and retirement, she said.

The Goodyear couple waited in line to show their gratitude and respect. Rachel Craig said he deserved that. 

She described the veteran senator as someone “you think is going to live forever.” While saddened by his passing, she was comforted that “he can actually rest now.”

— Laura Gómez

6 p.m.: 6,000 people have paid respects so far

An estimated 6,000 people have passed through the Capitol rotunda to pay their respects to Sen. John McCain since visitation began around 1 p.m., said Bart Graves, an Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman.

The line, while still long, seems to have eased for now, perhaps to fewer than 1,000 people. Organizers adjusted the line so that most people waiting in line are now under the shade of the Capitol building.

Phoenix fire reported that they had received 23 calls for service to those waiting in line. Three people were transported to hospitals, two were heat-related and the third was for chest pain, Phoenix Fire Captain Larry Subervi said.

— Bayan Wang and Laura Gómez

5:15 p.m.: Saying goodbye to a friend

Louis Garcia, an Air Force veteran, said he waited nearly two hours to pay his respects to Sen. John McCain.  

Garcia said he had met McCain a few years ago, when the senator visited American Legion Post 41 on Memorial Day.

“I wanted to say goodbye to a friend,” he said.

Garcia said he saluted the flag-draped casket.

— Laura Gómez

4:25 p.m.: 14 treated for heat-related issues

As Wednesday’s temperature reached over 100 degrees, some people waiting in line had trouble battling the heat.

The Phoenix Fire Department had received 14 calls for heat-related emergencies as of 4:15 p.m., Captain Larry Subervi said.

No one had been taken to the hospital, he said.

The department encouraged people to wear sunscreen, dress appropriately for the heat and stay hydrated.  

— Angela Forburger

3:45 p.m.: Lines growing longer at Arizona Capital

The line is now more than 1,800 people long with an estimated three-hour or more wait. The “Line Starts Here” man has been consistently moving farther back since the doors opened around 1 p.m. The “Line Starts Here” sign used to be mounted, but he had to tear it off to make room for more people. 

Bart Graves, an Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman, said crowd sizes were averaging 1,500 per hour since around noon and are continuing at that rate.

Outside the Arizona Capitol, someone also left birthday balloons for Sen. John McCain, who would have turned 82 on Wednesday. 

— Grace Palmieri


Aerial view of people in line at the Arizona State Capitol to pay respect to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who died Aug. 25.
Arizona Republic

3 p.m.: Line still more than 1,000 long to pay respects to Sen. John McCain

As of 3 p.m., there was a line of about 1,100 people outside the Arizona Capitol. Workers had set up additional shade tents to shield visitors from the triple-degree temperatures. Volunteers handed out ice water. 

Diane Gonzalez, 68, was one of those treated for heat-related symptoms earlier this afternoon as she waited in line to honor the senator.

“We have a lot of respect for him. We’ve tried to stay as long as we can.”

Arizona Department of Public Safety is reminding people who come out to the Arizona State Capitol to use umbrellas and drink plenty of fluids. 


Over a 1,000 people are waiting in line to pay their respects to Sen. McCain. Tents are set up and ice water is handed out by several volunteers.
Bayan Wang, The Republic |

2:30 p.m.: A solemn moment

After passing through security and signing their name — a staffer said the loose pages will be bound into a guest book and given to the McCain family — red-faced visitors walked into a wall of cold air at the Arizona Capitol. 

A wreath of red roses waited just behind the door to the Capitol rotunda. Black curtains blocked every hallway. 

In the center, atop the state seal and below the Arizona Capitol’s copper dome, sat Sen. John McCain’s body. An American flag was draped over the casket. An Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper stood watch at either end.

An endless line led people to the back of the room, where they broke from the crowd to face McCain alone. Some people bowed. Others crossed their hearts and whispered a prayer.

But most simply stood in silence, as if unsure how to say goodbye to a man they had never actually met. 

—Alden Woods


Marguerite Bousley stood in line with hundreds of people at the Arizona state Capitol to pay their respects to Sen. John McCain on Aug. 29, 2018.
Grace Palmieri, The Republic |

2:20 p.m.: Visitor paying respects hopes children can learn from McCain

Standing in line with her two small children and her husband, Adrienne McCauley-MacInnes, wanted to pay her respects to Sen. John McCain.

The family from Crystal Lake, Illinois, came to the Valley for a family wedding.

“We are feeling sad like everyone else,” she said.

She said she hopes her children gain lessons from McCain: how to treat others, the importance of listening and to have a sense of humor.

—Lauren Castle

2:07 p.m.: DPS reminds people they can park at State Fairgrounds

The Arizona Department of Public Safety is reminding people that parking and shuttle services to the Arizona Capitol is available at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 W. McDowell Road.

Buses are transporting guests now, department officials said. 

1:40 p.m.: Vietnamese community travels from Southern California

More than 100 people from the Vietnamese community in Southern California traveled to the Arizona Capitol on Wednesday to pay their respects to the late senator. Some of them fought in the Vietnam War, representing South Vietnam.

“We love, we respect Sen. McCain so much,” said 60-year-old Andrew Tran. “He’s our hero. He’s one of the best senators we’ve had.” 

—Bayan Wang

1:30 p.m.: More than 1,000 turn out to see Sen. John McCain 


Linda Gordon, who was the first in line to see Sen. John McCain lying in state at the Arizona state Capitol, talks about the senator’s legacy.
David Wallace, Arizona Republic

The viewing for Sen. John McCain opened an hour earlier than scheduled, around 1 p.m.

Around 1:30 p.m., there were about 1,430 people in the line. 

As they waited in line to see Sen. John McCain, people traded stories of the trips they had made to be here. They came from Mesa and Glendale, Tucson and Peach Springs, New Mexico and California — all to see the senator. 

“A guy like that, you say, ‘OK, what do you do?’” said Mike Foley, who flew in from San Diego this morning. His flight landed at 8 a.m., and Foley was in line 20minutes later.

MONTINI: John McCain eulogized himself when he eulogized Barry Goldwater

After he heard of McCain’s death, Foley wrote letters to Republican politicians, urging John Kasich and Lindsey Graham to act more like McCain. He saw McCain as a holdout of his fading Republican Party, the one whose recent choices forced Foley to take a “temporary vacancy.”

Then, he didn’t know what else to do. So he boarded a plane, made the hour-long flight to Phoenix, and practiced what he was going to tell McCain. 

With two hours still to go, Foley had decided on only two things: “Thank you,” and, “Why did you pick Sarah?” he said, referring to McCain’s controversial pick of Sarah Palin as vice president. 

—Alden Woods

12:45 p.m.: Line forms to see Sen. John McCain as he lies in state

A few hours before the public viewing for Sen. John McCain begins at the Arizona Capitol, the line of people who want to pay their respects already stretched from 17th and Jefferson avenues to near Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza. Nearly 500 people are in line. 

Bring water and patience if you are planning to go to the viewing, which begins at 2 p.m. The temperature is expected to be 104 degrees this afternoon. 

The Capitol will stay open until everyone in line has had a chance to participate.

11:15 a.m.: Crowd already gathering for viewing at 2 p.m.

About 50 people watched the late senator’s private memorial service on a giant video board set up outside the Arizona Capitol. 

They stood underneath white tents and passed around bottles of water, already sweating in the August heat. 

Alex Hurtado, 20, stood at the front of the line. He had been there since 9:40 am, skipping class and calling off work to finally meet the man he had long admired. 

“It’s unfortunate we didn’t get more time with him,” Hurtado said.

His attempt to schedule a meeting with the senator on a trip to Washington, D.C., never panned out. But he took pride in the single vote he was able to cast for McCain, back in the 2016 election. 

“It meant a lot,” he said. “I knew what he represented.” 

—Alden Woods 


The first of a series of memorials commemorating his life was a private ceremony at the Arizona state Capitol on Aug. 29, 2018.
Associated Press

10:15 a.m.: Gov. Ducey said McCain demonstrated ‘country first’

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey lauded John McCain, saying the late senator called upon Americans to serve a purpose that was greater than than themselves. 

“His talk of ‘country first’ wasn’t simply a slogan on a yard sign,” Ducey said. “It was what John McCain had done and demonstrated over, and over and over again.”

Ducey praised McCain as a man who urged Americans to rise above their political differences and said he had become as intertwined in Arizona’s image to the world as the Grand Canyon. 

MORE: John McCain’s seven children attend Arizona memorial

Throughout the ceremony, daughter Meghan McCain sobbed next to her brothers, at times physically shaking from emotion.

After the service, which concluded around 10:25 a.m., McCain’s family approached his flag-draped casket one by one to say their goodbyes. 

Cindy McCain kissed and touched his casket. A tearful Meghan McCain could scarcely steel herself against the casket before departing the Rotunda.

Ducey and his wife, Angela, later bowed before him, as well.

—Ronald J. Hansen and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez 

10:10 a.m.: Memorial service begins with tributes


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Former Sen. Jon Kyl opened his tribute by talking about how Sen. John McCain believed in the country’s people, its values and its institutions. His greatest contribution, he said, was to American national security.  

McCain had a keen eye for American interests and could spot dangerous adversaries from a mile away, Kyl said. 

ALSO: McCain remembered at state Capitol ceremony

Kyl, a fellow Republican, traveled with McCain around the world and said the late senator, “had better instincts about how and when and where to assert American power than any other leader I’ve known. 

“He represented our values,” Kyl said, “America is stronger for his fierce defense of its values.” 

Former Govs. Fife Symington, Janet Napolitano and Jan Brewer attended the service, along with House Speaker J.D. Mesnard and Senate President Steve Yarbrough, the current leaders of the Legislature. 


Senator John McCain arrives to lie in state at the Arizona State Capitol. Thousands are expected to pay their respects to the late Senator.
Arizona Republic

10:00 a.m.: Motorcade accompanying Sen. McCain arrives at Arizona Capitol

The senator’s wife, Cindy, and sons Jack and Jim are greeted and hugged by Gov. Doug Ducey and his wife, Angela Ducey at the state Capitol on what would have been John McCain’s 82nd birthday. 

McCain’s casket is draped in an American Flag.  Arizona veterans, military, law enforcement, fire and first responders are lining the sides of the Capitol Plaza for the procession.

9:45 a.m.: Motorcade accompanying Sen. John McCain departs

The motorcade accompanying Sen. John McCain’s body is departing from the A.L. Moore-Grimshaw Mortuaries Bethany Chapel for the Arizona Capitol, where the first of memorial service honoring the senator will begin at 10 a.m.

 Traffic is being stopped in both directions. 

7 a.m.: Parking, street closures, transit

A map with authorized parking locations and restricted areas is available online.

Parking is also available at the state fairgrounds, 1826 W. McDowell Road, where shuttle buses will be transporting people to and from the capitol starting at noon.

Jefferson and Adams streets between 15th and 19th avenues will be closed from 5 a.m. until about 11 p.m.

DASH and RAPID/Express bus services will be detoured around street closures near the Capitol.

Bright green signs will be posted at bus stops directing passengers to the closest pickup. Check for updated information.

 Temperatures are expected to reach 104 degrees this afternoon, so people who are attending are encouraged to bring water. 

Arizona Republic reporters Alden Woods, Bayan Wang, Lauren Castle, Nathan Fish, Ronald J. Hansen,Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Anne Ryman contributed to this story. 


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