Onlookers paid their respects while a motorcade carried McCain’s body from his ranch in Cornville, Arizona, to a mortuary in Phoenix, The Arizona Republic reported.
At 6:50 p.m. local time, just hours after McCain’s death at 4:28 p.m., the motorcade began the nearly 100-mile drive to the A.L. Moore-Grimshaw, according to the outlet. It passed a number of tributes, including an American flag and a sign that read “Sen. McCain thank you for your service.”
Donna Scaggs, who spotted the motorcade on the journey, told the Republic that she considered McCain the “epitome of American grit.”
She added, “We knew it was coming. It was expected. It happened so quickly, but he led a good life, and I’m sure his family is proud of him. He left a legacy that will long be remembered, so that’s all that needs to be said.”
In a group of about 200 people outside the mortuary, some called out, “I love you, John.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Doug Ducey ordered that flags in Arizona fly at half-staff in memory of Sen. McCain. The American flag also flew at half-staff at the White House.
Plans for additional tributes to the late senator are underway.
Sen. McCain “will be laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland,” according to his official website, which notes the funeral schedule will be announced at a later time.
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Following Sen. McCain’s wishes for his funeral, widely reported earlier this year, Vice President Mike Pence — not President Donald Trump, who publicly disparaged Sen. McCain on numerous occasions — is expected to attend, according to The New York Times.
Before his death, Sen. McCain asked that former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush speak at his funeral, according to CBS News, and the Times reported that two unnamed Republicans familiar with the funeral plans indicated that Obama and Bush have already been requested to offer eulogies. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden will reportedly speak at an Arizona service in Sen. McCain’s honor.
Sen. McCain will lie in state in the Arizona Capitol and Capitol Rotunda — only the 13th time a senator has done so, the Times reported.
A full dress funeral service will reportedly take place at the Washington National Cathedral before the burial.
The burial location is expected to be near his classmate and lifelong friend, Chuck Larson, The Arizona Republic reported. Sen. McCain, who graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958, described the location in his 2018 book The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations, calling it “a beautiful spot” close to where his and Larson’s “paths first crossed.”
Sen. McCain, the former POW and outspoken Republican politician nicknamed The Maverick for being unafraid to disagree with fellow members of his party, said on 60 Minutes in September 2017 that he wanted a service at the Naval Academy.
“I want, when I leave, that the ceremony is at the Naval Academy,” he shared. “And we just have a couple of people that stand up and say, ‘This guy, he served his country.’”