McCain’s daughter Bridget delivered a scripture reading, and his longtime chief of staff Grant Woods, a former Arizona attorney general, offered a eulogy in which he talked about McCain’s “terribly bad driving” and his wicked sense of humor, which included calling the Leisure World retirement community “Seizure World.”
The music chosen for the recession was Frank Sinatra’s signature song, “My Way,” paying tribute to a man who became known for following his own path based on his personal principles.
The much smaller service at the Capitol was filled with affecting moments and demonstrations of deep respect for the statesman and Navy pilot who was held prisoner by the North Vietnamese for 5½ years after being shot down over Hanoi.
Gov. Doug Ducey remembered McCain as “Arizona’s favorite adopted son” on what would have been his 82nd birthday.
The Capitol was then opened to the public in the afternoon, allowing visitors to walk past the closed casket after waiting in line outside in temperatures that reached 104 degrees (40 Celsius).
Ray Riordan, an 87-year-old Navy veteran who fought in the Korean War, came from Payson, Arizona.
“I grew up where a handshake was a contract and your word was your bond,” Riordan said. “He represented the last of that as far as I’m concerned.”
After Thursday’s church service, a military aircraft was scheduled to take McCain’s body back east for a lying-in-state at the U.S. Capitol on Friday, a service at the Washington National Cathedral on Saturday, and burial at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Associated Press writers Anita Snow, Jacques Billeaud and Nicholas Riccardi in Phoenix contributed to this report.