John McCain’s career as a soldier and a politician earned him respect from both sides of the aisle.
On August 25th, the state of Arizona suffered a memorable loss, as longtime Arizona senator John McCain passed away after deciding to end medical treatment a day earlier. Senator McCain lost his battle to a deadly form of brain cancer called glioblastoma, which he had for over a year. McCain served on Capitol Hill for over 30 years – first with two terms in the House of Representatives from 1982 to 1987, followed by the beginning of his lengthy Senate career that same year. McCain’s political career only grew with age. His career peaked twice with presidential bids in both 2000 and 2008, the latter of which he won the Republican nomination for, but lost to Illinois Senator Barack Obama in the general election.
Before his era in politics began, McCain served his country valiantly in the Vietnam War. He participated in Operation Rolling Thunder, which was designed to bomb various parts of North Vietnam. On his 23rd mission, McCain’s plane was shot out of the sky and crashed in a lake near Hanoi, resulting in his capture by Vietnamese forces. He subsequently spent several years in a prisoner of war (P.O.W) camp, enduring torture and starvation. Despite an offer from his father that would’ve allowed him to leave, McCain declined due to the detriment it would have on his fellow prisoners as well as the propaganda victory it would’ve given North Vietnam. McCain, along with other inmates, was released in the winter of 1973, and McCain returned to the U.S. as a celebrated war hero.
McCain’s funeral took place on September 1st at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, where family and elected officials paid respects. Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush gave eulogies at the service, remarking on their past rivalries and disputes with the deceased senator while also honoring him for his good character and service to the country. Both presidents encouraged unity around the greatness and potential of America, while also declaring that throughout his life McCain had been an unwavering custodian of those values. Senator McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, also gave a unique and heartfelt speech about emphasizing not his legacy in politics, but his role as an upstanding parent. McCain was finally laid to rest with full military honors at the United States Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland.