Senator John McCain left the Arizona Capitol for the last time Thursday, as mourners lined the streets to bid a patriotic farewell to one of the state’s most beloved adopted sons.
More than 3,500 people including friends, family, politicians and members of the public filled the McCain family church to pay tribute to the late senator Thursday.
"In Arizona, he was our hero. I think you can see from this outpouring of support and love for John McCain that he was America’s hero," said former McCain Chief of Staff Grant Woods.
McCain was remembered for focusing on the greater good of the country. He was more than simply a decorated war hero turned political maverick.
The senator walked across the aisle to ask longtime friend and political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, to eulogize him at a service McCain planned himself.
"I always thought of John as a brother. We had a hell of a lot of family fights," said Vice President Joe Biden.
The former vice president consoled the late senator’s widow, Cindy, and his seven children.
"Because you shared John with all of us your whole life, the world now shares with you the ache of John’s death," Biden said.
Later Thursday, McCain’s casket arrived in Maryland ahead of ceremonies Friday at the U.S. Capitol.
McCain was flown to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was at the base to greet McCain’s widow, Cindy, and their children.
The six-term Republican senator from Arizona will lie in state under the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Friday for a ceremony and public visitation.
On Saturday, McCain’s procession pauses by the Vietnam Memorial and heads for Washington National Cathedral for a formal funeral service.
McCain died last Saturday of brain cancer at age 81.