Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018

Arizona says goodbye to Sen. John McCain

PHOENIX – In the early morning, as Arizonans prepared to say their last goodbyes to Sen. John McCain, his fellow veterans were among the first to gather at the state Capitol. McCain, who died Saturday after a battle with brain cancer, will lie in state today at the Capitol rotunda.

Here are some of the stories of the people who were saying farewell on Wednesday.

Absent from work to pay her respects

Chasity Pullin from Phoenix took time off from work Wednesday to see Senator John McCain’s body lie in state.

Pullin, who was born and raised in Phoenix, said she grew up watching John McCain and his career.

“Going from being a POW and then becoming our state’s senator, it really shows that anything is possible,” she said.

Pullin said she admired how MCcain always tried to run a clean campaign.

“He showed that when electing our officials it should be about the person,” she said. “He didn’t talk bad about others and try to get voters to buy into negativity.”

Pullin hopes other people will follow in his example by not only speaking up about what they believe in, but also taking action to support these beliefs.

“What we can do is actually take a step forward for something we believe in,” she said. “We need to do something to actually show we care.”

“Going from being a POW and then becoming our state’s senator, it really shows that anything is possible,” said Chasity Pullin of Phoenix.(Photo by Stephanie Morse/Cronkite News)

McCain gets street lights turned on for New York transplant

Joe Meo, 66, Mesa talks about a personal experience he had with John McCain while waiting with his wife, Kathy Meo, at the Arizona State Fairgrounds for a shuttle to the state fairgrounds.

Reaching across the aisle

Susan Moore, 69, drove from Tucson to Phoenix Wednesday morning to see John McCain’s body lie in state at the Arizona State Capitol.

“I watched John McCain my whole life,” Moore said. “I remember watching the Vietnam war unfold on TV and then watching his whole political career. “

Moore said she admired how McCain would always tried to what was right, even when that meant standing in opposition to the Republican Party.

“He reached across the aisle and spoke up for what he believed in,” she said. “He has an intuitive way of knowing what was right.”

She wants other politicians to follow in his example.

“Politicians should look at what he did,” Moore said. “He didn’t side with what he didn’t believe in.”

She wrote a letter inside a card that she hopes to lay near his casket. She considers McCain her hero.

“I have my truth, you have your truth but John McCain spoke the truth,” Moore said.

Sen. Jeff Flake says farewell to colleague

Some people lined up as early as 7 this morning. Doors are set to open to the public at 2 p.m.

Military personnel from all branches lined the streets around the Capitol this morning awaiting the McCain motorcade. Security is tight along the perimeter with guards and dump trucks acting as barricades.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a friend and colleague of John McCain’s, said today is a day of mourning for the entire state but also a day of celebration for a life well lived.

Flying the flag

Patriot Guard Riders conducted a flag salute Monday morning at the Arizona State Capital in anticipation of John McCain’s motorcade.

The salute included prayer and playing the national anthem before the group lined 17th Avenue with flags.

“It’s about honor and respect,” said group member Robi Campbell. “It’s for us to be able to show that a whole nation cares that someone has signed on the dotted line to protect our freedoms and the way of life we know today.”

The salute was not a part of the official procession. The group was there at the request of McCain’s family.

“We’re here for anyone that has served our nation,” Campbell said

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McCain’s sense of humor

Veterans groups gathered at the state capital Wednesday morning to honor Sen. John McCain.

“I’m here to pay tribute to a great man,” said Chuck Byers, chief service officer for Vietnam Veterans in Phoenix. “This is a great loss to Arizona and to the country.”

Byers knew McCain personally and worked closely with him on veterans issues.

“He had a great sense of humor and would give people nicknames,” Byers said. “Most people don’t know that about him. He was really genuine.”

Others veterans said they also felt a close connection to McCain.

“It’s a great honor to stand by our brother,” said David Yriguyen, captain of the Color Guard for the Ira Hayes Detachment. “He really stood by veterans.”

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