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Paying Respects to McCain at the Capitol? Here’s What You Need to Know

Expect road closures and long lines

The public can pay its respects to the late Sen. John McCain in the Capitol Rotunda on Friday, Aug. 31. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
The public can pay its respects to the late Sen. John McCain in the Capitol Rotunda on Friday, Aug. 31. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The public can pay its respects as Sen. John McCain lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda Friday, Aug. 31, between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Public viewing will follow a private ceremony at 11 a.m.

How to attend

Visitors must enter through the Capitol Visitor Center on the East Front of the Capitol. Attendees can start lining up Friday morning on First Street Northwest and Southwest, between Constitution and Independence avenues, or on Second Street Northeast and Southeast, between East Capitol Street and Independence Avenue Southeast.

The Capitol will be open to the public starting at 1 p.m. Before that time, entry to the Capitol will be restricted to members of Congress, spouses, invited dignitaries, staff and credentialed guests and media from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The north and south doors will be unavailable to official business visitors until after 1 p.m.

Visitor protocol

Patience will be key for those standing in line. Security screenings and paying respects both take time and high attendance is expected.

Visitor phones and other electronic devices must be turned off while inside the Capitol. Photography and recording will not be allowed for visitors in the Rotunda.

Certain items are not allowed in the Capitol or on its grounds. U.S. Capitol Police have advised visitors to bring as few items as they can to make security screening as quick as possible. Flowers, envelopes and other offerings will not be allowed into the Capitol or Capitol Visitor Center.

Visitors hoping to honor McCain with flowers, flags or other mementos should find another way. Capitol Police will not tolerate makeshift memorials due to security concerns. 

Banned items include:

  • Firearms, including replica guns and ammunition.
  • Pointed objects including but not limited to: razors, box cutters, knives, knitting needles, letter openers. (Pens and pencils are permitted.)
  • Large bags 
  • Liquid, including water.
  • See the U.S. Capitol Police website for a full list

Street closures

Closures are expected to be in effect between 11 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30, to approximately 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1. The affected streets are:

  • East Capitol Street Northeast and Southeast, from Second Street Northeast and Southeast, to First Street Northeast and Southeast.
  • First Street Northeast and Southeast from Constitution Avenue Northeast to Independence Avenue Southeast.

McCain Map-01 (1)

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