Former Vice President Biden salutes McCain as 'a brother'

Thousands pay their respects to US Sen. John McCain | New Hampshire

Senator John McCain's daughter paid tribute to her father on Saturday with a broadside at President Donald Trump, lambasting the USA leader without naming him for using "cheap rhetoric" against a man celebrated as a war hero and statesman.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is among speakers for the church service. "It's unforgiving. And it takes so much from those we love and from the families who love them that in order to survive, we have to remember how they lived, not how they died", Biden said of the cancer.

Many might wonder what young African-American kid from Minnesota, and a highly decorated war hero turned United States Senator might have in common, he said.

An honor guard of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines carried McCain's flag-draped casket up the Capitol's East steps about 10:45 a.m., as heavy rain fell.

McCain's funeral puts him back in the spotlight a few miles from Trump's doorstep, in the city where the senator, who died last Saturday days short of his 82nd birthday, worked and collected friends and enemies - some in both camps at different times.

At the church, a choir from the Jesuit-run Brophy College Preparatory school that two of McCain's sons attended sang "Amazing Grace". Former Attorney General Grant Woods made fun of McCain for his "ridiculously bad driving".

Professional athletes don't often have the opportunity to stand among current and former high-ranking government officials at public memorial services. "It was this approach to humanity that made Senator John McCain so respected by countless people around the world, including me".

But Biden also proclaimed that "McCain's impact on America is not over", and left the audience with another prediction: "To paraphrase Shakespeare, we shall not see his like again".

The church's senior pastor, Noe Garcia, pronounced McCain "a true American hero".

"As an army veteran, an army warrant officer for 20-plus years, serving my country, I would be remiss if I didn't show up to honour who we call our maverick", Dr Joseph said.

At McCain's request, two former presidents - Democrat Barack Obama and Republican George W. Bush - are expected to speak there. Drawing on the tragedies suffered in his own life - the deaths of his first wife and daughter in a vehicle accident in 1972, and his son Beau from cancer in 2015 - Biden offered consolation to McCain's family, calling his absence "all-consuming".

McCain was surrounded by his wife Cindy and his family in Arizona during his final hours.

Sinatra's My Way paid tribute to a politician who was known for following his own path based on his personal principles.

Trump, who in the past has mocked McCain's war record, said he sent his "deepest sympathies and respect".

A military aircraft will take McCain to Washington, D.C., for a public viewing in the U.S. Capitol Friday and a service at the Washington National Cathedral Saturday.

Part of the 8-mile (13-kilometer) route was lined with US flags and campaign-style placards that simply read "McCain".

"We were the ones who were privileged, privileged to have John McCain fighting for us", Ducey said, "privileged to learn from him".

Several firefighters are standing on top of a firetruck on an overpass above a Phoenix freeway saluting a motorcade with a hearse carrying Sen.

One man shouted, "We love you!"

On Wednesday, a private service was held at the Capitol for family and friends. McCain's widow pressed her face against her husband's coffin, and daughter Meghan McCain erupted in sobs.

A motorcade with McCain's remains leaves Thursday morning from the Arizona Capitol, where McCain has been lying in state so thousands of people could say goodbye.

Michael Fellars was among those awaiting the motorcade outside the church. His fight: "legendary. But what made Senator McCain so special was he cared about the substance of my heart rather than where I came from".

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