The afternoon of August 25, 2018 marked the end of a life for an exemplary American citizen.
A United States Senator, decorated naval veteran, and 2000/2008 Republican presidential nominee, the late John McCain left a legacy only few men in history have come close to matching.
Born to a future naval admiral on August 29, 1934, John Sidney McCain III learned early on the importance and lifestyle of the armed forces. He quickly enlisted in the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, a tradition carried by both his father and grandfather.
McCain began his combat duty in 1967 as a naval aviator, following a request for a combat assignment to serve in Vietnam. However, about four months following his deployment, Lieutenant Commander McCain was flying his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam when his aircraft was struck by a missile over Hanoi.
The badly injured airman was quickly captured by the Vietcong and taken to a prisoner of war (POW) camp. Here, he was bound and beaten on schedule. This monotonous, painful routine eventually drove McCain to come only moments away from suicide.
Still suffering from massive bodily damage, McCain was eventually released from the POW camp. From here, he returned home to the U.S. where he underwent treatment for his injuries and continued his military career as the Navy’s liaison to the Senate.
His ambitious attitude and experience as a liaison led McCain to a victorious run for Senate as a Republican in 1982, representing Arizona’s 1st congressional district.
McCain quickly began to gain popularity throughout the political world. Much of this came from his support of President Ronald Reagan’s “Reaganomics,” as well as increasing advocacy for Indian Affairs.
Throughout his next three terms as an Arizona Senator, McCain continued his support of Native Americans by joining the Indian Affairs committee and pushing to further represented their rights in Arizona. In addition to this, he was unfortunately involved in a shady scandal regarding financial donations that were ill-spent during the 1980s. This infraction was only met with a slap on the wrist by the Senate Ethics Committee and had little effect on McCain’s political popularity.
However, one of McCain’s most notable feats as Senator regarded strengthening diplomatic relations between the United States and Vietnam. Not only was he a large contender at establishing peace, but he also urged more detailed POW and missing in action (MIA) lists to be created to confirm suspicion of U.S. troops still being detained in Southeast Asia.
The determination of John McCain displayed itself once again in the year 2000 when he ran for President. This campaign proved to be unsuccessful in the primaries, as McCain couldn’t keep up with the delegate count of Texas Governor George W. Bush.
This defeat had little effect on McCain’s devotion toward representing his state in the Senate for the next eight years.
Again, in 2008, McCain began another presidential campaign which proved quickly to be met with much more success than the previous. Nonetheless, the nominated Democrat Barack Obama came out victorious in the general election, thus becoming the 44th President of the United States.
Following his second unsuccessful run for president, McCain once again continued his role in Senate until his sixth and final term. His last years in Congress were met with inter-party controversy, as he openly didn’t endorse many Republican candidates and voted against many of sitting President Donald Trump’s proposed bills to repeal Obamacare.
The last years of McCain’s life were met with hardships, as he was diagnosed with the severe and aggressive brain cancer, glioblastoma. It was recently announced on August 24 that McCain would discontinue all treatments regarding his condition.
A day later, on August 25, John McCain passed away at his Cornville, Arizona home, accompanied by those closest to him.
The legacy left by McCain is nearly untouchable. His approval and admiration displayed by both Democrats and Republicans display just what kind of man he was, especially in today’s world. He was a selfless uniter who put his beloved country before himself. McCain truly was both a model citizen and American hero who showed, without question, the immense importance of self-integrity and patriotism.