WASHINGTON — John McCain's body arrived to lie in state Friday beneath the soaring Capitol dome, a short walk from the Senate floor where he was a national fixture for three decades.
A military honor guard of eight pallbearers slowly marched up the steps of the Capitol in a steady rain, carrying McCain's flag-draped coffin. Inside, they placed it atop the same platform on which Abraham Lincoln's body rested when he lay in state in 1865.
McCain's daughter, Meghan, fought back tears as Capitol Police officers circled the coffin, saluting in turn.
"Generations of Americans will continue to marvel at the man who lies before us," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said at the ceremony, which continued days of events honoring the war hero, senator, and onetime Republican presidential nominee.
It was part of a national outpouring for a senator who to many has come to symbolize a style of more respectful, decent politics, different from the current climate of hardened polarization.
Outside, thousands of everyday people waited in a snaking line amid sweltering heat and humidity to pay their respects. They came from both parties, many wearing military paraphernalia or dress uniforms, with McCain's Navy heavily represented.
"I'm a Democrat but fully support the ideals of Sen. McCain. He represented all of America in the way he conducted himself," said Al Muller, 76, a former Army physician from Maryland, who wore a "Vietnam Veteran" hat.
McCain, a senator from Arizona, became the 31st person to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, surrounded by statues of American giants including Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson.
Gathered at the first formal ceremony for McCain in Washington were his family, including his 106-year-old mother, Roberta; current and past members of Congress; old friends; staffers, and current and former national leaders.
President Trump was a notable absentee, unwelcome at the week of services in honor of a senator whose tributes and final statements have included pointed calls for unity and decency.
The administration was represented by Vice President Pence, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a former McCain Senate colleague, other cabinet officials, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
"The president asked me to be here on behalf of a grateful nation to pay a debt of honor and respect," Pence said.
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge approached McCain's coffin, slowly saluted, and then rapped it twice with his knuckles. They entered Congress together in 1983, and bonded over their shared service in Vietnam, where Ridge was an Army infantry sergeant.
"For me, it was saluting an officer, a patriot, and a friend," Ridge said later, joking that McCain outranked him. But he said it was also meant to show appreciation on behalf of fellow Vietnam veterans. "You salute leaders."
U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson, a Texas Republican who shared a prison cell with McCain, approached the casket Friday with help from Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats' House leader. Together, they placed their hands upon it.
McCain's body was to lie Friday in the Capitol Rotunda, then be taken to the Washington National Cathedral for a Saturday funeral that will feature eulogies by former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who each defeated McCain in elections.
Ridge, a fellow Republican, will be a pallbearer.
"This is one of the bravest souls our country ever produced," said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.). "However you choose to do your part, I hope you do it in the way he did: with energy and urgency, playing for keeps, never back on your heels."
McCain lay in a building where he compiled a complex record that included both scandal and a nomination for president, combativeness and compromise, and a reputation as a hot-tempered but wisecracking Republican who could frustrate leaders in both parties with his rebellious streak.
The resting place at the center of the Rotunda is just a few hundred feet from the Senate floor, where last year he delivered a speech that has served as something of a coda to his public life, calling for humility, cooperation, and trust among leaders.
That sentiment has suffused McCain's farewell services, beginning Wednesday in Arizona and continuing Friday in Washington.
"We are a stronger nation when we don't personalize and demonize those who disagree with us," Ridge said. "It's a powerful message." He said McCain's final challenge to the country was for people to truly honor McCain by acting that way.
Therese Addington, 65, a self-described liberal Democrat, wore an Obama T-shirt as she waited to see McCain's casket.
"This is a protest," she said of the outpouring of people in line, seeing it as a rebuke to the way Trump has grudgingly acknowledged McCain. "This is how you behave when someone of the stature of John McCain dies."
She had traveled Friday morning from Richmond, Va., with Aric Brandon, a 38-year-old Iraq War veteran who hailed McCain's integrity.
"We need more of that," Brandon said. "His death brought more people together than [Trump] ever could."
Jared Wastler drove from Littlestown, Pa., just north of the Maryland border in Adams County. Now a school principal, Wastler, 38, recalled volunteering on McCain's 2000 presidential campaign, and learning by watching.
"I've always felt indebted, particularly watching him listen to every story," Wastler said.
Among the Pennsylvania lawmakers in attendance were Sen. Bob Casey and Reps. Brendan Boyle, Dwight Evans, and Brian Fitzpatrick. Former Rep. Charlie Dent was there as well.
Fitzpatrick, a Bucks County Republican, said McCain's "independence and integrity will forever serve as a model for public servants."
McCain is the first former official to lie in state in the Rotunda since former Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye in 2012. Earlier this year, evangelist Billy Graham lay in the Rotunda in honor, a designation for prominent figures who were not elected officials or military officers.