Sen. John McCain's family cries over flag-draped casket

PHOENIX (AP) — Cindy McCain pressed her face against the flag-draped casket of her husband, U.S. Sen. John McCain, on Wednesday and several of his children sobbed during the first of two services for the statesman and former prisoner of war before he is taken for the last time from the state he has represented since the 1980s.

The private service at the Arizona Capitol marked the first appearance of McCain's family members since the senator died Saturday of brain cancer.

During the service, Gov. Doug Ducey remembered McCain as a senator and internationally known figure as well as a major figure in the history of Arizona.

While Barry Goldwater was an Arizona native, McCain was "Arizona's favorite adopted son," the governor said on would have been the 82nd birthday of McCain, who was born in the Panama Canal zone while his father served in the military.

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John McCain's memorial service at the Arizona Capitol
Cindy McCain, wife of U.S. Senator John McCain, touches the casket during a memorial service at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 29, 2018. Jae C. Hong/Pool via REUTERS
U.S. Senator John McCain's wife Cindy and their sons James (L) and John (R) follow Senator McCain's casket into the Arizona State Capitol where he will lie in state in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Meghan McCain, daughter of U.S. Senator John McCain, cries over the casket during a memorial service at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 29, 2018. Jae C. Hong/Pool via REUTERS
U.S. Senator John McCain's wife Cindy and their sons James (L) and John (3rd L) follow Senator McCain's casket into the Arizona State Capitol where he will lie in state in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. sits with her sons Jack, Jimmy, and daughter Meghan during a memorial service at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 29, 2018. Ross D. Franklin/Pool via REUTERS
Cindy McCain and her son John follow the casket of U.S. Senator John McCain into the Arizona State Capitol where he will lie in state in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Cindy McCain, wife of U.S. Senator John McCain, attends a memorial service at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 29, 2018. Pool via REUTERS
The Arizona National Guard carries the casket into the museum rotunda during a memorial service for U.S. Senator John McCain at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 29, 2018. Ross D. Franklin/Pool via REUTERS
U.S. Senator John McCain's wife Cindy and their sons James (L) and John (R) follow Senator McCain's casket into the Arizona State Capitol where he will lie in state in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Mourners touch the casket during a memorial service for U.S. Senator John McCain at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 29, 2018. Jae C. Hong/Pool via REUTERS
An honor guard salutes as the casket of U.S. Senator John McCain arrives at the Arizona State Capitol where he will lie in state in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 29, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Cindy McCain, wife of U.S. Senator John McCain, touches the casket during a memorial service at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 29, 2018. Jae C. Hong/Pool via REUTERS
The Arizona National Guard carries the casket into the museum rotunda during a memorial service for U.S. Senator John McCain at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 29, 2018. Jae C. Hong/Pool via REUTERS
Meghan McCain, daughter of U.S. Senator John McCain touches the casket during a memorial service at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 29, 2018. Ross D. Franklin/Pool via REUTERS
A guest pays his respects at the casket of U.S. Senator John McCain during a memorial service at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 29, 2018. Pool via REUTERS
The casket of Senator John McCain is carried by members of the Arizona National Guard to the Arizona State Capitol Rotunda where he will lie in state, August 29, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. - Senator John McCain, a decorated American war hero, US Senator and two-time presidential candidate, will lie in state at the Arizona State Capitol before being transported to Washington DC where he will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 29: Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain, is escorted to the Arizona State Capitol Rotunda by her sons Jack (L) and Jimmy (R) where her husbands' body will lie in state on August 29, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. Sen. McCain, a decorated war hero, died August 25 at the age of 81 after a long battle with Glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 29: Arizona governor Doug Ducey and wife Angela walk out of the State Capitol to accept the body of Sen. John McCain to the Capitol's Rotunda where it will lie in state on August 29, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. Sen. McCain, a decorated war hero, died August 25 at the age of 81 after a long battle with Glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 29: Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain, is escorted to the Arizona State Capitol Rotunda where her husband's body will lie in state on August 29, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. Sen. McCain, a decorated war hero, died August 25 at the age of 81 after a long battle with Glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 29: Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. arrives with her sons Jack and Jimmy during a memorial service at the Arizona Capitol on August 29, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. Sen. McCain, a decorated war hero, died August 25 at the age of 81 after a long battle with Glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. (Photo by Ross D. Franklin-Pool via Getty Images)
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"Imagining an Arizona without John McCain is like picturing Arizona without the Grand Canyon," Ducey said.

Former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl said he has been with McCain all around the world and he had better instincts on when to assert U.S. power than anyone else he knew.

Kyl said he would miss McCain, whose greatest contribution was national security.

Sen. Jeff Flake offered the benediction at the service.

Later in the afternoon, the Capitol will be open to the public to pay their respects.

Arizona National Guard members carried the casket into the Arizona State Capitol Museum rotunda, where McCain will lie in state. Black curtains hung in the rotunda. U.S. and Arizona flags encircled the room.

By the time the service ended and the rotunda was cleared, at least 100 people had already gathered outside to wait for the public viewing.

They took shelters from the hot sun under tents erected by security teams while volunteers filled coolers with ice and water bottles.

Chasity Pullin, whose husband and father are both veterans, was among those in line. She said she liked how McCain didn't act like he was above others, and praised all he did for veterans.

"It feels like you're losing part of your family, as much as he did," she said

Kassandra Morales, 44, stood with her sons, 8 and 2 years old. The single mom and Democrat brought a bouquet of flowers and said she had always looked up to McCain.

"Yesterday I asked my son who his hero was. He gave me a rapper's name," Morales said. "I brought my children here to show them what a real hero was."

Veteran Judith Hatch handed out flags to those assembled, saying Arizona lost a champion for the military.

"We definitely have lost a strong advocate, so we'll need someone who is going to step up to the plate," Hatch said.

The viewing later in the day will go on as long as people are waiting in line, said Rick Davis, McCain's former presidential campaign manager.

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

Thursday morning will feature a procession through Phoenix on the way to a memorial service at North Phoenix Baptist Church, with the public invited to line the route along Interstate 17.

The memorial service will include tributes, readings and musical performances, including a tribute from former Vice President Joe Biden. Musical choices include a recessional to "My Way" by Frank Sinatra.

From there, McCain will depart Arizona from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Another viewing will be at the U.S. Capitol on Friday, with a final memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral.

___

AP writer Terry Tang in Phoenix contributed to this story.

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