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Senator John McCain was honored Friday in a private ceremony in the US Capitol. Speakers included the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, Parliament Speaker, Paul Ryan, and Vice President Mike Pence.
USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – One Amazing number of political, military, diplomatic and cultural leaders of the nation paid tribute on Friday to the late Senator John McCain – "a drum master of Courage, Truth and Justice" – as he lay in the prosecutor's US Capitol Rotunda

The grim assembly began with three days of ceremonies in honor of McCain, a former naval aviator and prisoner of war in Vietnam, who won six years in the Senate and before it's over, McCain joins the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Washington National Cathedral and the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

In a fitting testimony, the sky exploded in a downpour when McCain's flag-draped casket was raised Inside, the marble steps of the US Army's Capitol tears rose among the mourners when they were seated in 1865 on the simple, 1865-built pine catafalque to hold the body of Abraham Lincoln.

At that moment, the 81-year-old Senator became only the 31st person in the state for 166 years. Senators who served with him for decades stood attentively, hands on hearts; Senator Jeff Flake, his colleague from Arizona, fought tears.

Vice President Mike Pence – representing the President, with whom McCain met frequently, Donald Trump – welcomed the Senator as a man of iron will who never resigned

"The President asked me, on behalf of a grateful Nation to be here to honor and respect a man who served his country throughout his life, "said Pence. He mentioned Trump twice, but The President declined to answer tormented questions when he left the White House for events in North Carolina in the early afternoon.

A former member of Congress, Pence recalled traveling overseas with McCain, who later became chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee "I never traveled with a colleague who was better at our subordinates or our generals," he said.

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