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Sunday December 15th, 2019 8:56PM

The Latest: More than 7,500 pay respects to Sen. John McCain

By The Associated Press
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PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on the first of two days of services in Arizona to honor Sen. John McCain (all times local):

7:45 p.m.

Authorities say more than 7,500 people have paid their respects to U.S. Sen. John McCain at a public viewing at the Arizona Capitol.

Bart Graves of the Arizona Department of Public Safety gave the figure for the number of mourners who had been filing by the casket since the area opened to the public Wednesday afternoon.

People stood in line for hours in the Phoenix heat, carrying umbrellas and sipping cold water. The National Weather Service says the high in Phoenix was 104 degrees.

Authorities say several people waiting outside the Arizona Capitol were overcome by extreme heat. DPS officials say two people were transported Wednesday to a hospital, and several others were treated at the scene in the span of an hour.

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5:50 p.m.

Authorities say several people waiting outside the Arizona Capitol to pay their respects to U.S. Sen. John McCain have been overcome by extreme heat.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety tweeted that two people were transported Wednesday to a hospital. Several others were treated at the scene in the span of an hour.

Authorities are advising people to make sure they are properly hydrated before going to the Capitol and to be prepared to wait for about an hour.

The temperature in Phoenix reached 104 degrees.

Public viewing is expected to last into the evening.

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5:10 p.m.

Authorities say at least 1,500 people have paid their respects to U.S. Sen. John McCain at a public viewing at the Arizona Capitol.

Bart Graves of the Arizona Department of Public Safety gave the figure for the number of mourners who had been filing by the casket since the area opened to the public Wednesday afternoon.

People stood in line for hours in the Phoenix heat, carrying umbrellas and sipping cold water. The National Weather Service says the high in Phoenix was 104 degrees.

The viewing came after a private ceremony for McCain's family members and fellow politicians that marked the first of two days of official mourning in Arizona.

A memorial service will be held Thursday at a Phoenix church. McCain's body will be taken to Washington for a viewing and service Friday and then burial at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

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4:45 p.m.

People are paying tribute to U.S. Sen. John McCain as they file past his closed casket hours after a public viewing began at the Arizona Capitol.

Vietnamese veterans in their uniforms saluted McCain's flag-draped casket Wednesday and a mariachi singer strummed his guitar and sang outside as a tribute.

Nancy Gottschalk is among the people who brought young children. She teared up as she said she and her 5-year-old son, Joseph, made the gesture for "thank you" in sign language as they stepped near his casket.

The resident of Cottonwood, Arizona, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) outside Phoenix, says she's a Democrat and isn't sure if she ever voted for the longtime Republican senator. But she says she respected him.

Officials have said people will be allowed to pay their respects as long as they're in line.

A memorial service will be held Thursday morning at a Phoenix church.

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2:15 p.m.

A group of more than 80 Vietnamese residents came from Southern California on two buses to pay their respects to the late Sen. John McCain at a public viewing in Arizona.

The group wore specially made yellow T-shirts that said, "We salute our hero Senator John McCain."

Derrick Nguyen said a radio station in the Little Saigon community of Orange County announced it would provide bus transportation to the ceremony Wednesday. Nguyen, an attorney and a community organizer, said more than 100 people signed up but several stayed back because of the heat and timing.

McCain was beloved for his history of fighting alongside the South Vietnamese and for supporting the families of political detainees. Nguyen said in the 1990s, McCain pushed an amendment to a law that allowed for unmarried, adult children of detainees to come to the U.S.

He says many families that "wouldn't have made it to America made it here."

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1:50 p.m.

Several hundred people are paying their respects to Sen. John McCain as they walk by his closed, flag-draped casket at the Arizona Capitol.

Well-wishers had been waiting in line, some for hours, to get in for the public viewing Wednesday. Families with kids stopped by, men stopped in front of the casket to salute and others bowed.

People came from California, some were Democrats and represented all ages.

The viewing came on what would have been the Republican senator's 82nd birthday and followed an emotional private ceremony with McCain's family and colleagues.

He died Saturday of an aggressive form of brain cancer.

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12:10 p.m.

Even Democrats are waiting outside in Phoenix's summer heat to honor the late Sen. John McCain at a public viewing.

Kassandra Morales stood in line Wednesday at the Arizona Capitol with her sons, ages 8 and 2½. The Democrat brought a bouquet of flowers and said she has always looked up to the Republican senator.

The 44-year-old says she's been following the longtime senator since she was 18 and always voted for him despite her party affiliation.

Morales says she brought her children "to show them what a real hero was."

Volunteers are filling coolers with ice and water bottles for the crowds gathered under canopies to wait for the 2 p.m. viewing to begin on what would have been McCain's 82nd birthday.

He died Saturday of an aggressive form of brain cancer.

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11:45 a.m.

Two groups who traveled to Arizona from San Diego to pay their respects to John McCain had been waiting outside in the heat since early morning.

Mike Foley bought a plane ticket to Phoenix so he could honor McCain after hearing the public could view the senator's casket Wednesday at the state Capitol.

Barry and Linda Vittori separately made the roughly five-hour drive Tuesday night. Linda Vittori says McCain "epitomizes what I think our forefathers we're hoping our country would be."

Ahead of them was 17-year-old Regina Akerson, a Phoenix high school senior who wrote a report on McCain her freshman year and needs to attend a government ceremony for class.

She decided she could wait seven hours in the sun to pay her respects to McCain and fulfill that requirement, calling him "a legend."

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11:15 a.m.

Electronic signs on freeways in the Phoenix area paid tribute to the late Arizona Sen. John McCain.

The signs said, "Country First Rest In Peace Senator McCain."

It comes as more than 100 people are waiting under canopies in 90-plus degree heat to pay their respects to McCain during a public viewing Wednesday afternoon at the Arizona Capitol.

Earlier, family and politicians attended an emotional private ceremony at the Capitol with the senator's flag-draped casket.

The 81-year-old Republican died Saturday of an aggressive form of brain cancer. Wednesday would have been his 82nd birthday.

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10:30 a.m.

The late Sen. John McCain's wife, Cindy, has walked up to the flag-draped casket holding her husband's body at the Arizona Capitol and patted it, then laid her cheek on it.

The rest of his children then filed past the casket and touched it Wednesday, including his sons in uniform and daughter Meghan McCain who was weeping.

Gov. Doug Ducey and his wife bowed and McCain's former colleagues, Sen. Jeff Flake and former Sen. Jon Kyl, both touched the casket.

Flake gave a prayer at the ceremony that preceded a public viewing for the 81-year-old Republican who died Saturday of an aggressive form of brain cancer.

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This item has been clarified to show that Cindy McCain laid her cheek on the casket.

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10:25 a.m.

Arizona's governor says Sen. John McCain was one of the only politicians who could get people to set aside politics.

Gov. Doug Ducey said at a private ceremony Wednesday at the state Capitol that imagining Arizona without McCain is like imagining the state without the Grand Canyon, two things it's known for.

The governor called McCain one of Arizona's favorite adopted sons.

Ducey said Arizona residents knew they could follow McCain, who served in Vietnam as a Navy pilot and was captured as a prisoner of war, because he was trusted and tested, qualities that are in short supply.

The ceremony with McCain's wife, Cindy, children and other politicians came ahead of a public viewing for the 81-year-old Republican who died Saturday of an aggressive form of brain cancer.

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10:15 a.m.

John McCain's daughter, Meghan McCain, wept as her family stood in front of the Arizona senator's flag-draped casket at the Arizona Capitol.

His colleague, former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, opened comments at a ceremony Wednesday for the 81-year-old Republican who died Saturday of an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Kyl says he has been with McCain all around the world and that he had better instincts on when to assert U.S. power than anyone else he knew.

He said he would miss McCain and that his greatest contribution was national security.

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10 a.m.

A motorcade with Sen. John McCain's body has arrived at the Arizona State Capitol for a private ceremony and afternoon and evening public viewing on the day that would have been his 82nd birthday.

State troopers on motorcycles led the black hearse on the eight-mile (13-kilometer) route that took the procession on southbound lanes of a highway closed to other traffic. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey embraced McCain's wife, Cindy, when the motorcade arrived.

Flag-bearing military honor guards were lined up outside the State Capitol waiting to honor the 81-year-old Arizona Republican who died Saturday of an aggressive form of brain cancer.

A memorial service will be held Thursday at North Phoenix Baptist Church before McCain's body is flown to Washington, D.C., for a ceremony Friday at the U.S. Capitol and a memorial service Saturday at Washington National Cathedral, followed by a private memorial service and burial Sunday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

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9:48 a.m.

A black hearse carrying Sen. John McCain's body has left a Phoenix mortuary and is traveling to the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix for a Wednesday morning private ceremony and public viewing in the afternoon and evening.

Flag-bearing military honor guards are lined up outside the State Capitol waiting to honor McCain. The Arizona Republican died Saturday of an aggressive form of brain cancer.

A memorial service will be held Thursday at North Phoenix Baptist Church before McCain's body is flown to Washington, D.C., for a ceremony Friday at the U.S. Capitol and a memorial service Saturday at Washington National Cathedral, followed by a private memorial service and burial Sunday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

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9:25 a.m.

Black curtains dressed up the rotunda Arizona State Capitol Museum, which on a typical day hosts tourists and history buffs as well state capitol workers bustling from one office to another.

But on this day, Arizona and U.S. flags encircled the room.

A few dozen white folding chairs were reserved for family and dignitaries beside a wreath of white roses. Outside the building, where McCain will be retrieved by a team from the Arizona National Guard, military members in uniform began to congregate on the Capitol plaza to line the route where McCain's casket will be carried.

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8:05 a.m.

Veterans and constituents are already lining up around the Arizona State Capitol to pay their respects to Sen. John McCain.

He will lie in state Wednesday for a private formal ceremony and a public viewing. McCain died of brain cancer last Saturday at age 81.

The sun was already beating down on a quiet Capitol as security officers began to patrol the grounds and prepare for the procession with the hearse bearing McCain's body from a funeral home to the Capitol.

By 8 a.m., several dozen veterans and active military members had taken spots on the sidewalk to watch it.

Judith Hatch, a veteran from Phoenix, started the day by handing out flags to those who were assembled. She says Arizona lost a champion for the military.

Hatch says: "We definitely have lost a strong advocate, so we'll need someone who is going to step up to the plate."

___

12 a.m.

Family, friends and constituents will gather Wednesday at Arizona's Capitol to pay their respects to Sen. John McCain, the first of two days of services here before he departs the state he has represented since the 1980s.

A private ceremony will be held Wednesday morning at the Arizona State Capitol Museum rotunda, where McCain will lie in state.

That ceremony will include remarks from Gov. Doug Ducey and former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, plus a benediction from Sen. Jeff Flake. It will also mark the first appearance of McCain's family members since the longtime Arizona senator died of brain cancer on Saturday at age 81.

Later that afternoon, the Capitol will be open to members of the public who want to pay their respects.

McCain's former presidential campaign manager Rick Davis says the viewing will go on as long as people are waiting in line.

For some Arizona residents, McCain has been a political fixture in the state for their entire lives. He took office in Arizona in the early 1980s, first as a congressman and then as a senator in the seat once held by Sen. Barry Goldwater.

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