John McCain Hero Leaves His Mark on the Country and the World

Kevin Thomas

On August 25, 2018, Senator John McCain AZ (R) laid his head to rest for the last time now he belongs to history and will be remembered as a real American hero who sacrificed his life to serve his country as did his father and grandfather before him. John McCain passed away in his home in Cornville, Arizona under the watchful eyes of his family who just one day prior it was decided that he would no longer forgo treatment for brain tumor.   

McCain spent most of his life serving the nation in some capacity even as a child he was often switching schools due to the constant changes in his father’s deployment as an admiral in the Navy, John’s lineage came from a long line of military service it was in his DNA.

Born John Sidney McCain III August 29,1936 at the Panama Canal Zone Coco Solo Naval Air Station he was the son of both his father and grandfather who were four-star Navy Admirals, as a student  john moved around a lot and he attend 20 schools but eventually followed in his father’s footsteps and entered the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. 

During his days in the Naval Academy McCain was known for taking up for those who were bullied by upperclassmen, later on in his military career he became a sailor and naval aviator who flew ground attacks into enemy lines of combat it was after flying 23 combat mission in Viet Nam in 1967 his plane was shot down over Hanoi.

He suffered injuries due to his ejection from his plane he was found in a lake by the Viet Kong who began to beat McCain he was stabbed and taken to prison and tortured in what is known as the Hanoi Hilton the injuries took away his full use of arms and he was often beaten as a prisoner of war.

“McCain became a public figure at age 31 when his bed-bound image was broadcast from North Vietnam in 1967. The North Vietnamese had figured out that he was the son and grandson of famous American military men — a "crown prince," they called him. He was offered an early release but refused. McCain's captors beat him until he confessed, an episode that first led to shame — and then discovery. McCain has written that that's when he learned to trust not just his legacy but his own judgment — and his resilience.   Less than a decade after his March 1973 release, McCain was elected to the House as a Republican from Arizona. In 1986, voters there sent him to the Senate.”  The Military Times Laurie Kellman    

Controversy and Regrets

John McCain had an opportunity to vote for Martin Luther King Jr. birthday as a national Holiday he chose not to support it when he was a congressman he later regretted his decision, he commented on his vote in 2008 while running for president for the second time.   

"We can be slow as well to give greatness its due, a mistake I myself made long ago when I voted against a federal holiday in memory of Dr. King. I was wrong," he said, to a loud reaction from the crowd. "I was wrong, and eventually realized it in time to give full support — full support — for a state holiday in my home state of Arizona. I'd remind you that we can all be a little late sometimes in doing the right thing, and Dr. King understood this about his fellow Americans."

John McCain was known as a war hawk he never met a war he did not want to win or fund, voted to support the George H. W. Bush Gulf War in 1991 and always wanted America to always have a strong military presence in the world.       

In 2000 John McCain ran for president against George W. Bush and he had a strong showing until he was forced to drop out due to George W. Bush money and the personal attacks even a racial attack and rumor that McCain fathered an out of wedlock black child.  It was explained that Mc Cain and his wife Cindy adopted a child from Bangladesh but in the south, the lie took root and hurt his campaign.

The answer to the 9/11 attacks in New York where almost 3000 citizens were killed in the world trade center attack by mostly Saudi’s. In 2003 America entered into a very unpopular war with Iraq who was not responsible for the actual attack, but the lie had once again taken root and America wanted blood for blood.  

John McCain bumped heads with the Bush administration even though he supported the Iraq war and the Afghanistan war he did not agree with the methods of interrogation and it was proven that torture was being used to get information from Iraqi citizens and soldiers.

John McCain built a relationship with Democrats such as former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Senator Joe Lieberman because he was dedicated to America and its values he never saw Democrats as the enemy but a fellow American that he could and would work with on particular bills for the betterment for the nation.

In 2008 John McCain threw his hat in the ring again to run for the highest office in the land he outlasted all of his primary challengers and received the Republican nomination for president.  He once again used his “Straight Talk Express” bus to trek across the nation and speak at multiple town halls. 

His campaign made a choice to offset the Democratic choice to the choice of Senator Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as two minorities who were loved by their base, he chose Sarah Palin the Governor of Alaska to be his vice presidential running mate.

Unfortunately, she was the prelim to Donald Trump and her lack of education and understand American history or working with people from other cultures was a serious detriment to his campaign. 

After Sarah Palin opened the door to racial distrust of Obama McCain was confronted with the fear and racist ideology.  “McCain, in 2008 making his second run for president, quickly intervened when a woman in Lakeville, Minnesota, stood at a town hall event and began to make disparaging remarks about Democratic presidential nominee and then-Sen. Barack Obama. "He's an Arab," she said, implying he was not an American.”

"No ma'am," McCain said, taking the microphone from her. "He's a decent, family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign is all about. He's not."

It was a defining moment for McCain as a leader, a reflection of his thinking that partisans should disagree without demonizing each other. Barack Obama won the race and became the first African American to hold the office of president of the United States.  

John McCain was responsible for bipartisan bills such as campaign finance reform and immigration reform which set him at odds with his own party but nothing made him more of a target then when while he was undergoing cancer treatment during the Trump administration he while very ill returned to congress to vote no on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

It caused Donald Trump who had already made a negative comment about McCain while running for office Donald Trump criticizes military veteran and Senator John McCain, saying, "He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured.

This was one of the last times the Senate and the citizens of the United States would see John Mc Cain, his final act before his death was to plan his funeral and as political pundits are saying he chose to request that Donald Trump not attend any of his memorials. He also invited his two presidential campaign opponents to speak at his funeral George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

As the nation moves to a new chapter without the presence of John McCain it is best to remember another man whom McCain always considered a hero and a patriot Congressman John Lewis who wrote a very fitting memorial to honor McCain.

“We have lost a great warrior who defended this nation’s honor in times of war and peace.  He risked his life for America as a soldier, guarded our integrity as a prisoner of war, and dedicated his entire life to public service.  Only a few will ever be remembered for standing on the courage of their convictions.

“Sen. John McCain was one of those rare people who was never afraid to do what he believed was right.  Our nation is forever indebted to men and women of conscience who struggle—in their own way, according to the dictates of their own hearts—to act on the ideals of democracy and work to build a more perfect union.  I send my deepest condolences to his family.  They are in my thoughts and prayers.”     

Congressman John Lewis                                                                                                                  



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