An American patriot, war hero and
steadfast supporter of democracy
political career of John Sidney McCain III spanned six presidential
administrations over more than 30 years. He served two terms in the
United States House of Representatives, was a United States Senator
from Arizona from 1987 until his passing and was the Republican
nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election.
A Military Upbringing
on August 29, 1936, at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama
Canal Zone, John McCain was the middle child to naval officer John
S. McCain Jr. and his wife, Roberta. Both his father and paternal
grandfather, John Sidney McCain, Sr., were four-star admirals and
his father rose to command all the U.S. naval forces in the Pacific.
graduating from the Naval Academy in 1958 – fifth from the bottom
of his class – McCain graduated from flight school in 1960 and
then volunteered for combat duty during the Vietnam War.
on October 26, 1967, McCain’s plane was shot down during a bombing
run over Hanoi. While he survived the crash with two broken arms and
a broken leg, he was taken prisoner where he was held for five and a
half years in various prison camps – including three and a half
years in solitary confinement. He was released on March 14, 1973.
a member of the Republican Party, McCain was not one to always
adhere to the official party line. In fact, many might suggest that
in addition to his distinguished military career, McCain’s
political career might be most memorable for his moments of
independent streak should not be surprising for someone who earned
the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, a Purple
Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
A Final Farewell
following statement was read on behalf of Senator McCain shortly
after his death:
fellow Americans, whom I have gratefully served for sixty years, and
especially my fellow Arizonans,
you for the privilege of serving you and for the rewarding life that
service in uniform and in public office has allowed me to lead. I
have tried to serve our country honorably. I have made mistakes, but
I hope my love for America will be weighed favorably against them.
have often observed that I am the luckiest person on earth. I feel
that way even now as I prepare for the end of my life. I have loved
my life, all of it. I have had experiences, adventures and
friendships enough for ten satisfying lives, and I am so thankful.
Like most people, I have regrets. But I would not trade a day of my
life, in good or bad times, for the best day of anyone else’s.
owe that satisfaction to the love of my family. No man ever had a
more loving wife or children he was prouder of than I am of mine.
And I owe it to America. To be connected to America’s causes —
liberty, equal justice, respect for the dignity of all people —
brings happiness more sublime than life’s fleeting pleasures. Our
identities and sense of worth are not circumscribed but enlarged by
serving good causes bigger than ourselves.
Americans’ — that association has meant more to me than any
other. I lived and died a proud American. We are citizens of the
world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil.
We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and
advance those ideals at home and in the world. We have helped
liberate more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in
history. We have acquired great wealth and power in the process.
weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal
rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all
the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls,
rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals,
rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have
are three-hundred-and-twenty-five million opinionated, vociferous
individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each
other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much
more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we
remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption
that we all love our country we will get through these challenging
times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do.
years ago, I had the privilege to concede defeat in the election for
president. I want to end my farewell to you with the heartfelt faith
in Americans that I felt so powerfully that evening.
feel it powerfully still.
not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the
promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable
here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from
history. We make history.
fellow Americans. God bless you, and God bless America.”
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