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Biden to eulogize McCain at Arizona service celebrating the life of the late senator

Retired senator and former vice president Joe Biden will offer a tribute to John McCain in Phoenix today at a celebration of life service that will precede the late lawmaker’s transport to the nation’s capitol to lay in state. 

Biden and McCain served in Congress together for more than two decades, forging a friendship that withstood the test of time and brutal presidential race that pitted the senators from opposing parties against each other.

Still, Biden said in one debate of his colleague, ‘If he needed my personal help, I’d go.’ 

The Democratic politician’s son Beau passed away three years ago after he lost a battle with the same cancer that snuffed out McCain’s life over the weekend. 

In a moment that touched America, Biden consoled his friend’s daughter Meghan, on The View last fall after her father’s diagnosis, telling the emotional co-host of the program, ‘One of the things that gave Beau courage, my word, was John.’

‘I know if I picked up the phone tonight, and called John McCain, and said, “John, I’m at second in Vine in, in, in Oshkosh, and I need your help, come. He’d get on a plane and come,’ Biden said. ‘And I would for him, too.’

Retired senator and former vice president Joe Biden will offer a tribute to John McCain in Phoenix today at a celebration of life service that will precede the late lawmaker’s transport to the nation’s capitol to lay in state

Biden and McCain served in Congress together for more than two decades, forging a friendship that withstood the test of time and brutal presidential race that pitted the senators from opposing parties against each other

Biden and McCain served in Congress together for more than two decades, forging a friendship that withstood the test of time and brutal presidential race that pitted the senators from opposing parties against each other

In a moment that touched America, Biden consoled his friend's daughter Meghan, on The View last fall after her father's diagnosis, telling the emotional co-host of the program, 'One of the things that gave Beau courage, my word, was John'

In a moment that touched America, Biden consoled his friend’s daughter Meghan, on The View last fall after her father’s diagnosis, telling the emotional co-host of the program, ‘One of the things that gave Beau courage, my word, was John’

In addition to Biden, 24 sitting senators and four former senators, the current governor of Arizona and former Vice President Dan Quayle will honor John McCain at today’s celebration of life service.

The late senator’s office says that players and staff from Arizona’s major sports teams, the Cardinals, Diamondbacks and Coyotes, will also attend today’s service.

The body of the late senator will be escorted to the service from the Arizona State Capitol building in Phoenix, where it remained overnight, by McCain’s wife Cindy.

McCain was to lie in state at the Arizona Capitol, as well as the U.S. Capitol, before his remains arrived at their final resting place at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Members of the Arizona National Guard carried McCain’s flag-draped coffin into the Arizona Capitol’s rotunda on what would have been his 82nd birthday.

Cindy McCain, in her first public appearance since her husband’s death, accompanied his body as did the couple’s children. 

It was an emotional day for the family that saw Cindy McCain kiss her husband’s coffin, Meghan McCain break down in tears, and sons Jack and Jimmy – both in full dress uniform – salute their father. 

It started a long journey of remembrance for the McCain family.

The late senator will be memorialized at a service in Phoenix today at North Phoenix Baptist Church before his remains are taken to Washington D.C. 

Friends, family, political leaders and 1,000 members of the public are expected to pay their respects at the Thursday morning service.  

GOODBYES BEGIN: Cindy McCain rests her cheek on husband John McCain's coffin

GOODBYES BEGIN: Cindy McCain rests her cheek on husband John McCain’s coffin

Jimmy McCain and Jack McCain salute their father's coffin as Cindy McCain places her hand on her heart

Jimmy McCain and Jack McCain salute their father’s coffin as Cindy McCain places her hand on her heart

John McCain's body was taken by honor guard into the Capitol

John McCain’s body was taken by honor guard into the Capitol

Cindy McCain, escorted by her sons Jack and Jimmy McCain with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and his wife Angela, who greeted the McCain family upon their arrival

Cindy McCain, escorted by her sons Jack and Jimmy McCain with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and his wife Angela, who greeted the McCain family upon their arrival

An honor guard will meet McCain’s hearse at the church. After a holding period, ceremonial pallbearers will line the vehicle as the Armed Forces Body Bearer Team removes McCain’s casket and carries it inside the church.

A reading of Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 by daughter Bridget McCain will follow, as will a performance of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace,’ a reading of 2 Timothy 4:6-8 by Andrew McCain and a recessional of Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way.’

Grant Woods, a former Attorney General of Arizona and Chief of Staff to McCain in the House of Representatives, will pay tribute to his fallen friend at the service.

President and CEO of the Raza Development Fund Tommy Espinoza and former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. have also been asked to honor the senator.

Biden will deliver the final tribute of the service.

After it has concluded, McCain’s body will depart in a motorcade for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, where it will be transported to Washington.

On Friday, a ceremony will be held at the U.S. Capitol building, where he will again lie in state. Saturday his funeral service will be held at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., and he will be buried Sunday on Hospital Hill at Naval Academy Cemetery. 

Jack McCain, son of Sen. John McCain, touches his father's casket

Jack McCain, son of Sen. John McCain, touches his father’s casket

Cindy McCain is escorted by sons Jimmy, on left, and Jack, on right

Cindy McCain is escorted by sons Jimmy, on left, and Jack, on right

McCain's body will lie in state until Thursday

McCain’s body will lie in state until Thursday

Cindy McCain wipes away a tear during a service for her husband in the Arizona Capitol

Cindy McCain wipes away a tear during a service for her husband in the Arizona Capitol

Cindy McCain on Wednesday was escorted by the couple’s sons Jack, in his white Navy dress uniform, and Jimmy, in his Army dress uniform.

Jack and Jimmy saluted their father’s coffin as it was taken from the hearse.  

Meghan McCain was visibly sobbing during the morning’s events. She was escorted by her husband into the Capitol and held on to her brother Jimmy during the service.

The day was rich in military tradition for the Vietnam War Veteran and Naval Academy graduate.

Members of the public waved flags as McCain’s coffin was carried into the building by guard members in uniform. A police honor guard was also on hand to pay tribute.

Jimmy McCain is sergeant in the Arizona National Guard, having previously been an enlisted Marine. Jack is a Navy helicopter pilot.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a longtime friend of the family, said on Tuesday that Cindy McCain is putting one foot in front of another as she prepares for five days of memorials before the late senator is buried at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and his wife Angela greeted the McCain family. 

In a service at the Capitol, Ducey recalled a lunch the couple had with the McCains in May.

Meghan McCain says goodbye to her father

Meghan McCain says goodbye to her father

Cindy McCain says goodbye to her husband of 38 years

Cindy McCain says goodbye to her husband of 38 years

Cindy McCain sits with her sons Jack and Jimmy, and daughter Meghan 

Cindy McCain sits with her sons Jack and Jimmy, and daughter Meghan 

Cindy McCain stands with her sons Jack (left) and Jimmy (right)

Cindy McCain stands with her sons Jack (left) and Jimmy (right)

Meghan McCain cries as she and her husband Ben Domenech follow behind the casket carrying her father John McCain into the Capital building

Meghan McCain cries as she and her husband Ben Domenech follow behind the casket carrying her father John McCain into the Capital building

‘He said “my biggest challenge is deciding whether or not to run for re-election in 2022.” Dying as has been observed 50 years earlier, was not in his plan,’ Ducey said.

The Republican governor gave the longest remarks, talking about McCain’s ties to the state he had lived in for the 40 years.

Ducey noted how Arizona was known for two things: the Grand Canyon and John McCain. 

‘Imagining Arizona without John McCain is like picturing Arizona without the Grand Canyon. It’s just not natural,’ he noted.

Arizonans line up to pay their respects to Senator John McCain. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey noted how Arizona was known for two things: the Grand Canyon and John McCain

Arizonans line up to pay their respects to Senator John McCain. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey noted how Arizona was known for two things: the Grand Canyon and John McCain

Vistors hold their hands on their hearts and pay their respects to  McCain who lies in state in the Arizona state capital Rotunda, in Phoenix

Vistors hold their hands on their hearts and pay their respects to McCain who lies in state in the Arizona state capital Rotunda, in Phoenix

He also talked about McCain’s statesmanship.

‘John McCain was about more than politics. He brought us above politics. John is probably the only politician who get us to sit aside politic and come together as a state and a nation as we have,’ he said.  

He also praised Cindy McCain: ‘You are a model for us and an inspiration. Arizona loves you Cindy McCain.’

Sen. Jeff Flake read the benediction at the ceremony while Representative Jim Kolbe presented a wreath.

Flake’s prayer offered words of comfort to the McCain family. 

‘Send the comforter so they may be reminded that joy come in the morning. Now, as we go forward, let us remember thy humble servant with gladness and cheerfulness to answer his call to summon the better angels of our nature, to see and appreciate the humanity in our opponents, to more freely forgive so that we might be forgiven,’ Flake said, his voice breaking up at times. 

Cindy McCain follows her husband's coffin into the Capitol building

Cindy McCain follows her husband’s coffin into the Capitol building

Police honor guard stand in formation as they await the arrival of the casket carrying McCain

Police honor guard stand in formation as they await the arrival of the casket carrying McCain

The ceremony began with a prayer for McCain. 

‘Let these tears bring blooms in the desert he loved, in the country he served and in all our hearts,’ said Father Edward Reese.

Former Sen. Jon Kyl, who served with McCain in the Senate, said the state should be proud of its senator. 

‘We can be proud he was our Senator. I consider it a privilege to have served with John and I will miss him as a friend and as a strong force for America in the world,’ Kyl said.

At the ceremony’s conclusion, Cindy McCain led the mourners in paying tribute to her husband. She walked to his coffin, kissed it, and placed her cheek on it before patting the flag and walking away. 

Sons Jack and Jimmy followed, both laying their hands on their father’s coffin.

Meghan McCain came next and stood sobbing before her father’s remains. 

McCain’s body will lie in state until there are no more lines to see him, his longtime aide Rick Davis said earlier this week.

On Thursday, McCain will remembered by his longtime friend from the Senate, former Vice President Joe Biden, who will give a tribute to him at the North Phoenix Baptist Church.

There will be a bag piper as ‘John loves bag pipe music,’ Davis said of the service. 

A former U.S. Marine Jose Cordero Torres, 82, a Vietnam war veteran, leaves his commendation medal on the floor near McCain's casket

A former U.S. Marine Jose Cordero Torres, 82, a Vietnam war veteran, leaves his commendation medal on the floor near McCain’s casket

Senator John McCain died Saturday at the age of 81

Senator John McCain died Saturday at the age of 81

Meghan McCain will lead the tribute to her father at his memorial service on Saturday

Meghan McCain will lead the tribute to her father at his memorial service on Saturday

Members of the Arizona National Guard carry McCain's casket into the Capital

Members of the Arizona National Guard carry McCain’s casket into the Capital

Children of Sen. John McCain: from back left Sidney McCain, Meghan McCain and her husband Ben Domenech, Bridgett McCain, front center and daughter-n-law Holly McCain

Children of Sen. John McCain: from back left Sidney McCain, Meghan McCain and her husband Ben Domenech, Bridgett McCain, front center and daughter-n-law Holly McCain

Additionally, McCain’s adopted daughter Bridget McCain will give a reading as will Andy McCain, his son from his first marriage. 

Larry Fitzgerald, a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals – McCain’s beloved football team – will give remarks.  

After the ceremony, the Arizona National Guard will act as honor guard during a dignified transfer of remains ceremony, during which McCain’s casket will be taken aboard a presidential air lift and flown to Washington D.C.   

McCain will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol building on Friday – a place he spent over 30 years as a lawmaker and Naval aide – where lawmakers will hold a ceremony in his honor. 

Vice President Mike Pence will be the administration’s representative at that event and will lay a wreath. 

House Speaker Paul Ryan will lay a House wreath and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer will lay a Senate wreath. 

Pence, Ryan, and McConnell will all give remarks on McCain and his service. 

On Saturday, the McCain family will gather at the Capitol and escort McCain’s remains to the Vietnam War Memorial. 

There, Cindy McCain and the family will lay a wreath in honor of McCain’s service in the Vietnam War, where he was held for five years as a prisoner.

Senator Jeff Flake pauses before the arrival of the funeral procession of Sen. John McCain

Senator Jeff Flake pauses before the arrival of the funeral procession of Sen. John McCain

The Arizona National Guard carries the casket into the museum rotunda

The Arizona National Guard carries the casket into the museum rotunda

The casket of Senator John McCain arrives at the Arizona State Capitol Rotunda

The casket of Senator John McCain arrives at the Arizona State Capitol Rotunda

U.S. Naval sea cadets walk past the casket during a memorial service for John McCain

U.S. Naval sea cadets walk past the casket during a memorial service for John McCain

A former U.S. Marine salutes McCain's casket

A former U.S. Marine salutes McCain’s casket

Members of the public line up to pay their respects to Sen. John McCain outside the Arizona Capitol

Members of the public line up to pay their respects to Sen. John McCain outside the Arizona Capitol

McCain’s funeral will take place at the National Cathedral with a parade of bold-faced names giving tributes and carrying his coffin.

 His daughter Megan will give the first tribute.

She will be followed by former Sen. Joe Lieberman, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former President George W. Bush, and former President Barack Obama. 

Readings will be done by two of McCain’s closest friends in the Senate: Sen. Lindsay Graham and former Sen. Kelly Ayotte. 

The pallbearers will include actor Warren Beatty, Biden, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Defense Secretary William Cohen, former Sen. Russ Feingold, former Sen. Phil Gramm, former Sen. Gary Hart, Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza, former Gov. Tom Ridge, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, FedEx chairman Fred Smith, and McCain’s longtime aide and co-author Mark Salter.   

Musical selections will include The Navy Hymn, The Battle Hymn of the Republic and American the Beautiful sung by the Cathedral Choir and Navy Choir. 

Additionally, as specifically requested by McCain, who had worked on his funeral arrangements in the year before his death, ‘Danny Boy’ will be sung by opera star Renee Fleming. 

He will be buried on Sunday in a private ceremony at Hospital Hill at the U.S. Naval Academy surrounded by his family, friends and his fellow naval academy classmates from the Class of ’58. 

Lindsey Graham and Jack McCain will give tributes.

John Sidney McCain III died on Saturday, August 25, at the age of 81, following a long battle with brain cancer.

He was born on August 29, 1936 in the Panama Canal Zone, where his father was stationed.

He was the son and grandson of four-star Navy admirals and followed his fore bearers to the Naval Academy.

He became a Navy pilot, was shot down during the Vietnam War, where he spent five years being tortured by North Vietnamese.

He moved to the Arizona at the age of 45 and served two terms representing the state in the U.S. House. He was elected to the Senate in 1987 and easily won reelection five times.

He ran for president twice but never made it to the highest office in the land. He lost the Republican nomination to George W. Bush in 2000 and the general election to Barack Obama in 2008. Both of those men will speak at his funeral.  

He is the third person to lie in state in the Arizona rotunda in the last 40 years. The others were Arizona State Senator Marilyn Jarrett in 2006 and Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens – a Tucson resident – in 1980.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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