Congress salutes McCain

WASHINGTON (AP) — Con­­gressional leaders saluted John McCain Friday as a model of service in war and peace and “one of the bravest souls our nation has ever produced,” in a memorial ceremony at the heart of the political battlefield where he fought for more than three decades.

Then thousands of fellow Americans, who had lined up outside the U.S. Capitol in stifling heat, began filing past in the majestic rotunda to say goodbye as he lay in state.

McCain, the Arizona senator who died Saturday at 81, was remembered as a man who inspired other leaders even as he vexed them with a rebellious streak and impish humor. Absent from the event was President Donald Trump, invited to stay away by the family of the senator, who had deep disagreements with him.

McCain’s service in Vietnam, and his refusal to be released early as a prisoner of war, made the setting of Friday’s service all the more fitting, some said.

“Half a world away, wearing our nation’s uniform, John McCain stood up for every value that this Capitol Building represents,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the crowd of McCain’s family, friends and aides. “Then, he brought that same patriotism inside its walls — to advocate for our service members, our veterans and our moral leadership in the world. So it is only right that today, near the end of his long journey, John lies here.”

Today, McCain’s procession will pause by the Viet­nam Veterans Memorial on the way to a formal funeral service at Washington Na­tional Cathedral.