ANNAPOLIS (REUTERS) - The body of John McCain arrived on Sunday (Sept 2) at the US Naval Academy, where the Vietnam War hero, Arizona senator and presidential candidate will be buried in a cemetery on the grounds of the school where he graduated six decades ago.
Crowds gathered along the route to Annapolis travelled by the motorcade bearing Mr McCain's body. At one point along the route, a large American flag hung suspended between two cranes on a bridge.
Family and friends, along with the academy's class of 1958 and the current Brigade of Midshipmen, plan to commemorate Mr McCain, who died on Aug 25 at age 81, at the Naval Academy chapel.
Mr McCain will be buried next to his classmate and friend, Admiral Chuck Larson, a former commander of US Pacific Command who died in 2014, according to the McCain family.
Among those paying tribute to Mr McCain at Sunday's private service will be his sons Jack and Don, retired Army General David Petraeus and Senator Lindsey Graham, a long-time political ally and friend. President Donald Trump will not attend.
Mr McCain, an often imposing presence for decades in US defence and foreign policy, was eulogised by former US presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, as well as his daughter Meghan McCain last Saturday at a Washington ceremony.
Without naming Mr Trump, Mr McCain's daughter, Mr Bush and Mr Obama all rebuked the current President, who feuded with the late senator and mocked his military service.
During both the Washington ceremony and the Annapolis burial, Mr Trump was at his private golf course in Virginia.
Mr Graham, speaking on CNN on Sunday, said of Mr McCain's burial: "I'm going to try to focus on the fact that I'm going to admit to what I've lost. I cannot think of anything I've done in politics of consequence, any cause I've engaged in, that John was not there, that I was not his wingman."
Mr Joseph Lieberman, a former US senator, said on CNN, "I say goodbye and my heart will be heavy. I'll shed a tear and yet I'll thank God that I knew a man like John McCain so well."