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John McCain Services Begin With Private Ceremony in Arizona

Senator John McCain’s flag-draped casket arrived in Arizona’s capitol Wednesday morning for the first of two local services in his honor, the Associated Press reports. After a private morning service, McCain’s body will lie in state in the capitol rotunda for public viewing throughout Wednesday, allowing locals and veterans to pay their respects.

Uniformed Arizona National Guard members carried the casket into the Arizona State Capitol Museum rotunda, where black curtains somberly surround American and Arizona state flags. Former Arizona Senator Jon Kyl began the private ceremony with comments on McCain’s political instincts and contributions to national security.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey spoke next, saying imagining Arizona without McCain is like imagining the state without the Grand Canyon, AP reports. Ducey honored McCain’s experience and personal qualities, calling him one of Arizona’s favorite adopted sons. Arizona Senator Jeff Flake delivered a prayer.

McCain’s family, politicians, and veterans were present to honor the senator and Vietnam war hero, who died Saturday at the age of 81 after battling brain cancer. Wednesday would have been McCain’s 82nd birthday.

On Thursday, a memorial service will be held at the North Phoenix Baptist Church, Time reports. Former Vice President Joe Biden will be among those paying tribute to the deceased senator.

Following the service, McCain will be flown to Washington, D.C., leaving the state he served for more than 30 years for the last time.

A private funeral service will be held for McCain on September 1.