WASHINGTON -- American leaders came out to pay their respects to Sen. John McCain on Friday, now lying in state at the U.S. Capitol.

Under a pouring rain, McCain's casket was carried up the steps of the Capitol Rotunda on Friday morning. Eulogies were headed by Vice President Mike Pence.

"In the long history of the nation, only 30 Americans have lain in state in the United States Capitol Rotunda," Pence said. "Today, as a reflection of the esteem that his colleagues and our country hold him, Sen. John McCain joins those ranks."

McCain, who spent more than three decades in Congress as a representative and senator, died last week of brain cancer at 81. He becomes the 31st person to lie in state at the Capitol, joining presidents and Supreme Court justices.

"This day, we honor a true American hero, Sen. John McCain," House Chaplain Rev. Patrick J. Conroy said.

"We celebrate six decades of devotion to the American idea and the cause of human freedom," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).

"Rarely does this glorious Rotunda fall silent at this hour. On a day like this, John would usually be bounding this way or that way, right through here, visitors turning to each other asking if that's who they think it is," said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI).


On top of officials who worked with McCain for decades, people from all over the country made the trip to pay their respects.


Veteran Greg Brock of South Carolina met McCain in Jacksonville during one of the senator's presidential runs. He said the senator -- who, as a Navy pilot, was shot down over Vietnam and spent time as a prisoner of war -- left a lasting impression.

"I'm a veteran. Sen. McCain gave so much to the country, pushed the politics aside. He was a great senator," Brock said. "But what he gave, he can never be paid back for, never. It's more than just a handshake and have a good day. He wants to know your name. He wants to know where you're from. You say veteran, you pretty much got him all day. You got his attention."

The public will have their opportunity to pay their respects in the Capitol Rotunda until 8 p.m. Friday.

Washington is the second city on a three-stop memorial tour honoring McCain's life and legacy. His body lay in state at the Arizona Capitol earlier this week, and hundreds gathered at a memorial service in Arizona, including former Vice President Joe Biden.

On Saturday, there will be a service at the National Cathedral, and on Sunday, he will be buried at the cemetery at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.