People stood in Arizona heat to get a chance to honor Sen. McCain

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- Wednesday was an emotional day for many, as the state honored the life of John McCain.

The last mourners were allowed inside the Capitol rotunda, shortly before 9:00 p.m., and according to officials with Sen. McCain's office, as many as 15,000 people visited the Capitol to pay their respects.

For many people, Senator McCain's name and face have been almost synonymous with Arizona, and people came from all over the country and all walks of life with one thing in common: their admiration for Sen. John McCain.

All of them say they feel a special connection to him, whether it's because they served in the Vietnam Conflict with him, or had a shared love of music.

"There are not many of us still left around. The numbers are diminishing, so we have to support each other. And it's truly an honor to come out and support him," said Bill Ward, a veteran of the Vietnam Conflict. He was on a shuttle bus that took people to the Capitol.

McCain took office in Arizona in the early 80's, first as a congressman, then as a senator. Curtis Whipple, who works as a DJ, says he first voted for McCain in college. He never imagined he would one day be hired to work at McCain's youngest son's wedding among other events.

"Senator McCain and Cindy McCain were always, particularly when I was at their home for events, I was not a hired hand," said Whipple. "I was a guest in their home. Always made sure I was fed and hydrated."

Instead of talking politics, he says they talked about their love of classic rock and music in general.

"He's a big lover of John Coltrane, more jazz and big band from back in the day," said Whipple.

After getting off these buses, many people were having to wait for hours in over 100°F weather in line at the Capitol. Late Wednesday night, Cpt. Kenny Overton with Phoenix Fire said crews responded to 25 calls at the Capitol, and took three people to the hospital.

"I'm just extremely grateful to even be able to stand out here and show my respect," said Dr. Vernet A. Joseph.

"Although his views maybe weren't what I would have liked I still valued his, the dignity and pride that he showed and his representation of this state and the country," said Cynthia Engstrom.