Prior to his death last Saturday at the age of 81, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) planned the details of his various funeral services, which began today in Arizona. However, despite his efforts to have every nuance accounted for, McCain was unable to plan for what unfolded as pallbearers slipped up with the late senator’s casket.
Family, friends, and constituents gathered at Arizona’s Capitol to pay their respects to Sen. John McCain on Wednesday, the first of two days of services there 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. The viewing will go on as long as people are waiting in line, Rick Davis, McCain’s former presidential campaign manager, said Monday. [Source: TIME]
Crews spent the past several days prepping the Capitol for the visitors, hauling in chairs, cleaning up the building, and assembling dozens of flags. However, they could not prepare for the near-disaster which befell McCain’s casket as it was being carried into the Capitol by members of the National Guard.
The National Guard, serving as the pallbearers today, slipped up on their long walk with the senator’s casket, very nearly dropping it on the ground as his family looked on:
The Washington Post reported on Meghan McCain’s reaction to seeing her father’s casket:
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.
McCain will also lie in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, DC, a gesture reserved for the country’s “most eminent citizens,” and receive a full dress funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) office.
“The nation mourns the loss of a great American patriot, a statesman who put his country first and enriched this institution through many years of service. The Senate is keeping Cindy, the McCain family, all John’s friends and staff, and the people of Arizona in our prayers at this tremendously difficult time,” McConnell said in a statement. “I appreciate my colleagues and the entire Senate and House family’s assistance with this honor.”
Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama are expected to deliver eulogies at McCain’s funeral, which the late senator helped to plan before his death. Meanwhile, those close to McCain have informed the White House that they plan to have Vice President Mike Pence attend the senator’s funeral — but not President Donald Trump.
Perhaps the incident with McCain’s coffin today was a bit of karma on the senator’s way out the door. After all, he refused to let bygones be bygones, choosing to instead hold onto his grudges against his political opponents even after his death by banning President Trump from his funeral. Seems a bit petty, if you ask me.