The family and friends of John McCain paid their respects to the late senator on Wednesday, during a private memorial service at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix
The family and friends of John McCain paid their respects to the late senator on Wednesday, during a private memorial service at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix.
Meghan McCain, the senator’s daughter, and Cindy McCain, his wife of 38 years, were both at the service and wept over his casket. At one point, Cindy tenderly placed her cheek against the flag draping her husband’s coffin.
Just one day later, Sen. McCain died at the age of 81.
Sen. McCain will lie in state at the Arizona State Capitol on Wednesday and the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Friday before being transported to Maryland for a private service at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis on Sunday.
The former Republican presidential nominee and maverick politician graduated from the acclaimed naval academy in 1958.
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Sunday’s service will be held at the Naval Academy Chapel at 2 p.m.
Immediately following, Sen. McCain will be buried in a plat next to one of his closest friends: fellow Naval Academy classmate Adm. Chuck Larson.
In July, while planning his funeral, Sen. McCain specifically asked that a beloved Irish ballad, “Danny Boy,” be sung during services, a longtime family friend and associate told PEOPLE.
“It was absolutely one of his favorite songs,” said Carla Eudy, a fundraiser who has worked with and been friends with the McCain family for decades. “He wanted it sung at his funeral.”
Eudy, who will be among the pallbearers for the main service at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., explained that Sen. McCain was very involved with planning his funeral.
“I saw him last July, and we have been working on what the services would be,” Eudy said. “He wanted to make sure that the final time that was going to honor his passing would have only things he wanted.”
Following his death, Meghan, 33, shared a touching tribute on social media.
“In the thirty-three years we shared together, he raised me, taught me, corrected me, comforted me, encouraged me, and supported me in all things,” she wrote. “He taught me how to live. His love and his care, ever present, always unfailing, took me from a girl to a woman — and he showed me what it is to be a man.”
“All that I am is thanks to him,” she continued in her tribute. “Now that he is gone, the task of my lifetime is to live up to his example, his expectations, and his love. My father’s passing comes with sorrow and grief for me, for my mother, for my brothers, and for my sisters. He was a great fire who burned bright, and we lived in his light and warmth for so very long. We know that his flame lives on, in each of us. The days and years to come will not be the same without my dad — but they will be good days, filled with life and love, because of the example he lived for us.”
Cindy also mourned the loss on social media. “My heart is broken,” tweeted Cindy, 64, minutes after her family announced his death.
“I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years,” she continued. “He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the place he loved best.”