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Joe Biden on John McCain: "We are part of something much bigger than ourselves"



PHOENIX – Thousands of Arizonans gathered Thursday morning for a memorial service in honor of Senator John McCain, with honors from sports stars, family members, and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to an adoptive son of that state, one of his most famous figures ,

One day, after his family, friends, and fellow lawmakers paid tribute to Mr. McCain while lying in a state in the Rotunda of the Capitol of Arizona, he remembered the late Senator for his 35-year career in Congress in a service steeped in the culture of the Southwest.

A Navajo flutist, Jonah Littlesunday, played a hymn and remembered McCain's relationship with the indigenous tribes of his state; Tommy Espinoza, a leader of the Hispanic community in Arizona, made comments; and the Lardin of Arizona Cardinals, Larry Fitzgerald, also spoke from the pulpit of the sprawling North Phoenix Baptist Church, where Mr. McCain once attended.

He then praised Mr. McCain with words that seemed to contrast with him, President Trump, who was not present. He recalled McCain's dedication to a country and politics "organized not by tribal but by ideals." He spoke of the values ​​of "fairness, honesty, dignity, respect, hatred, no hiding place, no one to leave behind and understand this. As Americans, we are part of something that is much bigger than ourselves."

"With John "Mr. Biden said," It was a value that was neither selfish nor selfish. "

After the service The coffin carrying Mr. McCain was transferred from the motorcade to the Air National Guard airport at Phoenix Airport where he was taken to military aircraft for a final trip to the capital. In Washington, McCain will lie on Friday before a funeral service on Saturday in the National Cathedral in the Capitol. He will be buried near his alma mater, the Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Maryland, on Sunday.

The events on Saturday in Washington will include eulogy from the two former presidents, who have their own ambitions of the White House, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. But first Mr. McCain was reminded in the state where he served and the place where he spent his last months.

Before he married his wife Cindy and moved to Arizona in 1981, McCain had lived longer in Hanoi prisoner of war camps than he had anywhere else, a point he made with devastating effects when he talked about his connections in his first house campaign was questioned about the state. But Arizona voters elected him the following year and supported him every time he was on the ballot, including two failed presidential applications, until he was re-elected to the Senate two years ago.

"I wanted to let him know how much I love him and how much he cares about me and how much I admire his integrity and courage," Mr. Biden said in an interview earlier this year.

Thursday's service started with an honor guard who met Mr. McCain's family and coffin. Hundreds of members of the deceased senator were invited and another thousand seats were made available to the public.

The schedule included readings from the scriptures of two of his seven children; a tribute from a close confidant and former chief of staff, Grant Woods; a bagpiper; and a singing of "Arizona" by an ensemble from the school, who visited two of his sons.

And in an allusion to Mr. McCain's affection for tradition and rebellion, the service began with the singing of "Amazing Grace" and ended with a rendition of Frank Sinatra's "My Way".

Maggie Astor contributed contributions from New York.


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