WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Congress bids a final good-bye, as the nation bows its collective head in memory of John McCain.
Raindrops fell as the late-Senator John McCain (R-AZ) made his final visit to the Capitol Friday.
Lawmakers, military brass, and governors from across the nation paid their respects to a maverick and patriot.
“The president asked me to be here on behalf of a grateful nation,” said Vice President Mike Pence, “to pay a debt of honor and respect to a man who served his country throughout his life.”
McCain flew combat missions in Vietnam, survived five-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war, and mounted two presidential runs. Less than a week ago, the highly-respected public servant – known for holding principle over party -- lost his battle with brain cancer.
“May God bless the memory of John McCain, may God comfort his family and friends, and may God continue to bless the United States of America,” said Pence as he concluded his remarks.
McCain is just the 13th Senator to have his casket placed at the center of the Capitol. Leaders from both sides of the aisle fondly remember his humor and the intensity with which he served.
“Depending on the issue, you knew John would either be your staunchest ally, or your most stubborn opponent,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said at the ceremony.
In a one-on-one interview afterwards he described McCain as peerless. “Never seen anybody with more passion, more patriotism, and more commitment than John McCain,” McConnell said, “he was truly a memorable character.” McConnell’s full remarks can be seen in the video tab above.
Whether Congress should cast a statue, or rename a building for McCain is under debate. Regardless, of any future honor, his legacy will echo through the halls of the Capitol.
Saturday, there will be a private funeral service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. – featuring eulogies from former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. And Sunday, McCain will be laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.