John McCain, long time US senator, presidential candidate, veteran, and Vietnam war hero, died this week, at the age of 81. He had fought a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. The day before his death, he had shared the announcement that he’d no longer be receiving treatments.
His death was confirmed with the following statement:
“Senator John Sidney McCain III died at 4:28pm on August 25, 2018. With the Senator when he passed were his wife Cindy and their family. At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for sixty years.”
Known as “the Maverick,” McCain leaves behind his wife of 38 years, Cindy, and 7 children, along with a legacy of great courage and strength for our country. He was willing to take a stand on issues that were difficult. He was authentic, he was real. He was willing to act even in the midst of uncertainty. He believed in his country, and when asked about that in an interview with Tom Brokaw just a year before his death, he said this, “I believe in America, I believe in its people…I am not a pessimist about the future, I still think we’re still a shining city on a hill.”
McCain first stepped into the public spotlight as a Navy fighter pilot during the Vietnam War when his plane was shot down. He was then taken prisoner and sadly suffered five and a half years of torture and confinement before his release in 1973. McCain earned a number of awards for his service to our country, the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
In one of his last interviews, McCain was asked how he would like to be remembered by the American people, he quickly stated, “He served his county…I hope, we could add, honorably.” In another interview he added, “And he loved his family.”
His daughter Meghan McCain, co-host of The View,shares these powerful words, "I was with my father at his end as he was with me at my beginning. In the thirty-three years we shared together, he raised me, taught me, corrected me, comforted me, encouraged me and supported me in all things…He loved me, and I loved him. He taught me how to live. His love and his care, ever present, always unfailing, took me from a girl to a woman -- and he showed me what it is to be a man. All that I am is thanks to him. Now that he is gone, the task of my lifetime is to live up to his example, his expectations and his love."
Former President George W. Bush described Sen. John McCain as "a man of deep conviction,” and adds, "He was a public servant in the finest traditions of our country. And to me, he was a friend whom I'll deeply miss.”
“The nation mourns the loss of a great American patriot, a statesman who put his country first and enriched this institution through many years of service,” Mitch McConnell shared in a statement.
The New York Times referred to John McCain by these headline words: A Symbol of Courage in Half a Century of Battles.
"John never took the easy path in life - and through sacrifice and suffering he inspired others to serve something greater than self," Sarah Palin tweeted.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has shared that John McCain’s body will lie in state at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix on Wednesday. There will be a service for him in Arizona this week, and afterwards, his body will be brought back to Washington where McCain will lie in state at the US Capitol. There will be a full funeral service for him at the Washington National Cathedral. Following the Washington ceremonies, McCain will be taken to Annapolis for a private service where he will be laid to rest.
10 Powerful Quotes from John McCain:
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the capacity to act despite our fears.”
"Americans Never Quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We Make History."(2008 Presidential Concession Speech)
“In prison, I fell in love with my country. I had loved her before then, but like most young people, my affection was little more than a simple appreciation for the comforts and privileges most Americans enjoyed and took for granted. It wasn't until I had lost America for a time that I realized how much I loved her.” (Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir)
"We are a country with a conscience."
“Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you but is not defined by your existence alone.” (Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir)
"Our shared values define us more than our differences. And acknowledging those shared values can see us through our challenges today if we have the wisdom to trust in them again."
“We are Americans first, Americans last, Americans always. Let us argue our differences. But remember we are not enemies, but comrades in a war against a real enemy, and take courage from the knowledge that our military superiority is matched only by the superiority of our ideals, and our unconquerable love for them.” (2004 Republican National Convention speech)
“It is your character, and your character alone, that will make your life happy or unhappy.” (Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember)
"Our political differences, no matter how sharply they are debated, are really quite narrow in comparison to the remarkably durable national consensus on our founding convictions."
“I don’t have a complaint. Not one. It’s been quite a ride. … I made a small place for myself in the story of America and the history of my times.” (The Restless Wave)
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/William Thomas Cain/Stringer