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Monday October 19th, 2020 11:49PM

The Latest: Pence honors McCain at American Legion gathering

By The Associated Press
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PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on services for Sen. John McCain (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence has paid tribute to the late Sen. John McCain, saying America will always remember his lifetime of service to the United States.

Speaking in Minneapolis at the American Legion's 100th annual convention Thursday, Pence said McCain served 5½ years as a prison of war in Vietnam and "did not yield."

Pence says the Arizona Republican later became "one of the most unwavering advocates" of the American military ever to serve in Congress.

McCain died of cancer Saturday. American Legion leaders took Trump to task on Monday after flags at the White House, which flew at half staff through the weekend, were raised to full height on Monday.

Trump later relented amid criticism and ordered them lowered again at all federal installations through McCain's interment this Sunday.

___

11:15 a.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden says he believes that Sen. John McCain's death has hit people so hard because they knew he believed so deeply and so forcefully in the soul of America.

Biden said Thursday at the memorial service for the longtime Arizona senator that he believed McCain gave Americans something to be proud of.

Biden says McCain's optimism is what made him special and a giant among others. He believes McCain's legacy will continue to inspire and challenge people in the future.

___

11:10 a.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke forcefully as he said politics wasn't what was most important to Sen. John McCain, it was the underlying values that mattered.

Biden said Thursday at the memorial service for the longtime Arizona senator that McCain "could not stand the abuse of power wherever he saw it, in whatever form, in whatever country."

He says McCain embodied basic values including fairness, honesty and respect.

Biden referenced how McCain fought for civility between politicians even if they disagree.

___

11:05 a.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden says both he and Sen. John McCain knew how painful life could be.

Biden said Thursday at the memorial service for the longtime Arizona senator that the same aggressive brain cancer that claimed McCain also claimed their friend Ted Kennedy and Biden's son Beau.

Biden told McCain's family he understood that there was nothing anyone could do to ease their pain.

He said, "I pray you take some comfort knowing that because you shared John with all of us your whole life, the world now shares with you the ache of John's death."

___

10:55 a.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden says he thought of Sen. John McCain as a brother, with 'a lot of family fights.'

The Democrat dabbed his eyes early in his speech Thursday at the Phoenix memorial service for the longtime Republican senator.

Biden says the two men got to know each other while making overseas trips together. They'd talk about family, politics and international relations. Biden says they were both "cock-eyed optimists."

Biden says that they understood it's all about trust and that he would trust John with his life.

___

10:45 a.m.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald says he felt the need to visit Vietnam to see what his friend, Sen. John McCain endured.

Fitzgerald also talked at McCain's funeral Thursday about how on the surface they could not have been more different: "He ran for president. I ran out of bounds." The NFL star says McCain was the epitome of toughness and he does everything I could to avoid contact.

But he says that while from very different worlds, they developed a meaningful friendship. He says it was the perfect example of what made him an iconic figure of politics and to the fellow man.

Fitzgerald says McCain celebrated differences and championed humanity. He says McCain didn't judge individuals on color of skin, gender or their bank accounts but the merit of their character and content of their hearts.

___

10:35 a.m.

A friend of Sen. John McCain's says the longtime Arizona senator works across the aisle.

Tommy Espinoza, president and CEO of the Raza Development Fund, said at McCain's memorial service in Phoenix on Thursday that he was a maverick.

He says during McCain's first race for Senate, McCain called him to ask if he would co-chair his campaign. Espinoza said he responded, "You know I'm a Democrat," drawing laughs.

Espinoza, then head of Chicanos Por La Causa, says McCain told him they were friends and he wanted his help.

He mentioned McCain's work for comprehensive immigration reform and says he believed it cost him a presidential campaign.

___

10:25 a.m.

Sen. John McCain's longtime chief of staff says the Arizona senator believed that "this Republican-Democrat thing is not that important."

Grant Woods said Thursday at McCain's memorial service in Phoenix that the senator believed that in the end, we're all Americans.

He drew laughs with stories about McCain, including a time he got in hot water for calling retirement communities that he needed to woo when he first ran for office "seizure world."

Woods said everyone would miss McCain's humor. He called McCain "America's hero" and said the senator believed in the Constitution and worked to defend it.

___

10:15 a.m.

Sen. John McCain's daughter Bridget read a bible verse at her father's memorial service in Phoenix before the longtime Arizona senator's chief of staff started the speeches.

Grant Woods drew laughs Thursday as he said McCain was a bad driver and would introduce Woods to new staff members by saying, 'You'll have to fire half of them.'

He said the 35 years he spent with McCain were a little harrowing, a little wild, a little crazy, but a lot of fun.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald are among other speakers at the church service.

___

10:05 a.m.

People who packed a Phoenix church for Sen. John McCain's memorial service have stood as his flag-draped casket was carried inside.

The crowd of 3,500 inside stood silently as the casket was placed before a set of floral arrangements Thursday and McCain's family entered behind it.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and other speakers, including Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, stood on stage.

A pastor opened the service with a prayer and the Brophy Student Ensemble sang "Amazing Grace."

___

10 a.m.

Military members have removed Sen. John McCain's casket from a hearse and carried it into a Phoenix church for his memorial service as the wife and children of the longtime Arizona senator watched.

Two of McCain's sons are in military uniform and daughter Meghan was crying Thursday.

Honorary pallbearers stood with the family Thursday and include the first Native American woman to serve on the federal bench and two popular Arizona athletes.

U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa, who is Hopi, retired Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzales and former Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan are among 14 friends acting as pallbearers.

McCain was an avid sports fan and supporter of Arizona's teams. He became friends with many of the athletes in the area.

___

9:50 a.m.

The hearse carrying Sen. John McCain's casket has arrived at a Phoenix church for a memorial service.

The motorcade came Thursday from the Arizona Capitol where he laid in state. It passed saluting firefighters and dozens of well-wishers waving campaign-style McCain signs and American flags.

It passed a school where kids peered through the fence to catch a glimpse.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is among speakers at the church service, which will be attended by dozens of senators, other politicians and some professional athletes.

After it ends, McCain's body will be taken to the airport and flown to Washington, D.C. There will be a viewing at the U.S. Capitol before a memorial service featuring former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and burial at the U.S. Naval Academy.

___

9:30 a.m.

Several firefighters are standing on top of a firetruck on an overpass above a Phoenix freeway saluting a motorcade with a hearse carrying Sen. John McCain's casket.

Dozens of people, including schoolchildren of all ages, are holding McCain signs and American flags as they waited for the motorcade to arrive Thursday at a church for the longtime senator's memorial service.

McCain's staff says the campaign-style signs are replicas of his 2008 presidential campaign.

Raymond Celaya of Phoenix and others around him held the signs as they waited along a roadside. Celaya said he was most impressed with McCain's willingness to fight for his beliefs.

He says McCain "represented all of Arizona, not just Latinos like me."

___

9:20 a.m.

A hearse carrying Sen. John McCain's casket is driving in a motorcade along a Phoenix highway on its way to the memorial service for the longtime Republican senator and two-time presidential candidate.

Michael Fellars stood on a roadway outside of North Phoenix Baptist Church on Thursday waiting to see the funeral procession. Firetrucks were positioned along the route.

Fellars was the fourth person in line Wednesday to attend the public viewing honoring McCain at the Arizona Capitol.

As a veteran of the Marine Corps, Fellars said he was most impressed with McCain's advocacy on behalf of people who serve in the military.

He says McCain "was about the only politician that I have ever known who cared for the people in his country, and he tried his level best to make it a better place in which to live."

___

9:10 a.m.

A hearse carrying Sen. John McCain's casket has left the Arizona State Capitol and is taking the body of the longtime lawmaker, two-time presidential candidate and former POW to a Phoenix church for a public memorial service.

People carrying campaign style placards with the word "McCain" and holding U.S. flags lined part of the part of the 8-mile (13-kilometer) route the motorcade was taking Thursday to the North Phoenix Baptist Church.

The hearse is accompanied by Arizona Highway Patrol motorcycle troopers and vehicles with family members.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is among speakers for the church service.

After it ends, McCain's body will be taken to Sky Harbor International Airport and flown to Washington D.C., where it will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol building before a funeral service featuring former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

McCain died Saturday of brain cancer at age 81.

___

9:00 a.m.

Mourners have entered the North Phoenix Baptist church ahead of the arrival of Sen. John McCain's casket for a memorial service.

The church has is a spacious, half-circle indoor amphitheater with purple fabric seats and benches that holds 3,500. Red and blue lights illuminated two rows of chairs on the stage, which was lined by lilies and adorned with greenery and white rose floral displays.

Mourners were given programs with an image of a sunset.

Former Vice President Joe Biden will speak at the service, expected to be attended by 24 current U.S. Senators and four former senators and many Arizona politicians.

People holding U.S. flags and campaign style placards with the word "McCain" lined part of the 8-mile (13-kilometer) route that the motorcade with McCain's casket will take from the Arizona State Capitol to the church.

He died last Saturday of brain cancer and was 81.

___

8:10 a.m.

People are starting to line the route that a motorcade will take to bring John McCain's coffin from the Arizona State Capitol to a church for his memorial service.

Part of the 8-mile (13-kilometer) route was lined with U.S. flags and campaign-style placards that simply read "McCain."

A man with a white beard stood on one corner holding a sign saying "Senator John McCain: Because character counts."

Someone left a stuffed animal clinging to a nearby lamppost holding a sign reading "we will miss you."

McCain will be commemorated at Thursday at North Phoenix Baptist Church by former Vice President Joe Biden and other speakers. He died last Saturday of brain cancer at age 81.

His coffin will then depart for the airport and be flown to Washington, DC, where it will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol building before a funeral service featuring former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

___

7:30 a.m.

Several of Sen. John McCain's adult children thanked people who visited the Arizona State Capitol to pay respects to their father.

Sons Doug, Jack and Jimmy, daughter Sidney and daughter-in-law Renee shook hands Wednesday with some of the thousands of people who viewed McCain's flag-draped casket in the Capitol's rotunda

The afternoon and evening casket viewing followed a private service Wednesday morning.

A public memorial service will be held Thursday at North Phoenix Baptist Church before McCain's body is taken by motorcade to an Arizona Air National Guard base at Sky Harbor International Airport to be flown to Washington.

___

12 a.m.

The celebration of Sen. John McCain as a former prisoner of war and maverick politician enters a second day with a church service and a military salute before his casket departs his adopted state of Arizona for Washington.

A motorcade with McCain's casket leaves Thursday morning from the Arizona Capitol, where McCain has been lying in state so thousands of people could say goodbye.

Family and friends gathered there Wednesday for a private service, where Cindy McCain pressed her face against her husband's coffin.

Following a service at North Phoenix Baptist Church, McCain's casket will go to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for a salute from the Arizona Air and Army National Guard.

Friday's visitation at the U.S. Capitol will be followed by a service Saturday at Washington National Cathedral.

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