Senator John McCain has lost his one year battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer, and has passed away at the age of 81.
John McCain was a “Spirited young aviator” and a “fierce campaigner.” McCain once said that “we face many dangerous threats in this dangerous world, but i’m not afraid of them. I’m prepared for them.”
Through everything, John McCain carried himself as a joyful warrior saying, “I’ve enjoyed it, every single day of it. The good ones, and the not so good ones. I’ve been inspired by the service of better patriots than me.”
His patriotism was rooted in family. His father and grandfather, both admirals, passed down his name and navy career.
More than 50 years ago, on his 23rd mission over Vietnam, enemy fire downed his plane.
He was a prisoner of war for almost 2000 days, tortured and beaten. “I’ve been taken to the hospital. Where I almost died.” Said then prisoner McCain, who refused early release to deny communist North Vietnam a propaganda victory.
In 1973, he received a celebrated welcome home and the courage from war, forged his national identity. “I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s”
When McCain remarried in 1980 his wife Cindy’s home state of Arizona became his political base. He was elected to Congress and served six terms in the U.S. Senate. Where he became known as “The Maverick”.
McCain often angered conservatives over issues like immigration, railed against Washington’s pension for pork barrel spending, and challenged his own parties president, George W. Bush, to change strategy in the Iraq war. “Early on I came out and said this could be not only a long struggle, but a losing one. Unless we change the strategy.” Said McCain.
McCain’s presidential ambition boarded his Straight Talk Express twice. In 2000 he won the New Hampshire primary, but had to wait another 8 years to become the Republican candidate for president.
Trailing behind Barack Obama, McCain rattled the race by propelling Sarah Palin under the ticket. But history had another plan.
McCain returned to the Senate and remained a prominent voice, “probably I’m proudest of being able to contribute to the security of this country and the men and women who serve it.” Said McCain.
His fame led to fun, cameos, and comedies. McCain loved to get a laugh. He often referred to himself as an “imperfect” public servant.
Facing a dire diagnosis, like brain cancer, fired his independent streak. Calling out a gridlock Senate, ” we’re getting nothing done my friends, we’re getting nothing done.” Said McCain.
The fighter also turned reflective, “I celebrate what a guy who stood 5th from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy, has been able to do. I am so grateful. Every night when I go to sleep I am just filled with gratitude.” Said McCain.
With hard earned stars and an enduring wit, John McCain made service to country a cause of his life.