Activities honoring the life of GOP Sen. John McCain began Wednesday in his home state of Arizona, with a private ceremony at the state Capitol followed by an opportunity for constituents to pay their respects.
Former Sen. Jon Kyl — who has been working on the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — was among those who delivered formal remarks.
“John McCain believed in America. He believed in its people, its values and its institutions,” Kyl said. “He said he came to this realization during his time as a POW in Vietnam. ‘I fell in love with my country,’ he said, ’when I was a prisoner in someone else’s.’”
Kyl also said that in his experience in public life, McCain “had a better grasp of history than any other American official, including our secretaries of state.”
Gov. Doug Ducey also spoke. The Republican now has the monumental task of choosing a successor to the late American icon.
“None of us were ready for this. We never would have been ready for this. But John McCain often said of Americans — ‘We never surrender,’” Ducey said. “So while we grieve today — as a state and as a nation — John McCain’s fight for America isn’t over.”
Jeff Flake, who will briefly hold the title of senior senator from Arizona before retiring at year’s end, offered a prayer at the close of the service in the state capitol.
“Now as we go forward, let us remember thy humble servant with gladness, cheerfulness to answer his call to summon the better angels of our nature, to see and appreciate the humanity in our opponents, to more freely forgive so that we might be forgiven,” he said.