The service for the statesman, former prisoner of war and two-time presidential candidate unfolded at North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona, after a motorcade bearing McCain's body made its way from the state Capitol past people waving American flags and campaign-style McCain signs. John McCain, in the Senate chambers this week.
"We'd talk about family", Biden said of his relationship with McCain.
"John's story is the American story, grounded in respect and decency, basic fairness, the intolerance for the abuse of power", Biden said.
Their friendship began decades ago in the 1970s when McCain served as a liaison between the Navy and the Senate "and accompanied then-Senator Biden on overseas trips", according to a statement about their relationship ahead of the memorial. The two foreign policy giants famously tangled on some of the most pressing national security issues.
"John McCain believed in our Constitution".
"I'm Joe Biden. I'm a Democrat".
The memorial came a day after thousands of admirers waited in line for hours in the blazing Arizona sun and triple-digit heat to pay final respects as McCain's flag-draped coffin lay in state in the Arizona Capital rotunda.
Sen. McCain is also survived by his wife, Cindy, and seven children.
Arizona Sen. John McCain dead at 81
McCain was married to Carol Shepp from 1965 until 1980, when the two divorced and he married his second wife, Cindy Hensley. The allusion to the medical deferment that saved a young Donald Trump from serving in that war could not have been clearer.
Sullivan called McCain a "man of courage, a steadfast patriot, an American hero, a warrior of indomitable spirit, who not only believed in American exceptionalism but inspired millions of Americans and millions of people across the globe to believe in it as well".
Biden recalled "the sheer joy that crossed his face when he knew he was about to take the stage of the senate floor and start a fight". Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence are expected to speak. "Because we were both cockeyed optimists".
She said she was especially touched to see leaders from both sides of the aisle speaking, showing just how hard McCain worked to make a difference for all, with Republicans and Democrats. I'm black. He was white. I'm young. He wasn't so young. He lived with physical limitations brought on by war, I'm a professional athlete.
"He ran for president. He was the epitome of toughness, and I do everything I can to avoid contact", Fitzgerald said.
"He was always there to welcome us - just a very special man", Benson said."Maybe we disagreed with what he had to say sometimes, but we always came out of his office feeling good".
There will be a service at the Washington National Cathedral on Saturday, followed by burial at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. A formal ceremony will take place in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. It was about a prison guard in Vietnam who showed McCain unexpected kindness by loosening the painful ropes around his wrists and, much later in his imprisonment, drawing a cross in the dirt for him as a sort of Christmas gift.
Woods concluded with an appeal to everyone in the room, and probably the country.
Nearly a quarter of McCain's fellow senators, Democrats and Republicans, traveled to Arizona to remember him during a carefully executed program that began at the Arizona State Capitol, continued to the Baptist church where he worshiped and ended at the Phoenix airport, where hundreds of Arizona National Guardsmen gave him one final salute. "He would not stand by as people tried to trample the constitution or the bill of rights, including the first amendment".