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

Triple-degree temperatures on Wednesday afternoon didn’t deter thousands of people from standing outside the Arizona Capitol to pay their respects to Sen. John McCain

By 6 p.m., Arizona Department of Public Safety estimated that 6,000 people had shown up to see the senator since viewing began earlier that afternoon. 

Around 4 p.m., an estimated 1,800 people stood along the sidewalk, many of them shielding themselves from the hot sun with umbrellas. Volunteers walked along the line, handing out water. 

The “Line Starts Here” man has been consistently moving farther back since the doors opened earlier than planned, around 1 p.m. The “Line Starts Here” sign had been mounted, but he had to tear it off to make room for more people. 


Thousands wait in line to pay respects to late Sen. John McCain.
Alyssa Williams/azcentral, Nathan Fish

By 5:30 p.m., the line had eased somewhat to around 700 people. 

As they waited in line, 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 Wednesday morning. His flight landed at 8 a.m., and Foley was in line 20 minutes later.

After he heard of McCain’s death, Foley wrote letters to Republican politicans, 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 and made the hour-long flight to Phoenix. 

Arizona Republic reporter Alden Woods contributed to this article.


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