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John McCain: A Public Serviceman

Photo courtesy of Variety

 

ARINA OBEROI

STAFF WRITER

 

On Aug. 25, renowned war-hero, senator, and former presidential candidate John McCain passed away due to a quickly-expanding brain tumor. McCain was born to John S. McCain Jr. and his wife, Roberta, on August 29, 1936. Both McCain’s father and grandfather were four-star admirals; following in their footsteps, John McCain graduated from the Naval Academy of Annapolis.

When the Vietnam War started, McCain enlisted in combat duty and piloted attack planes. On one flight, a Russian missile took down his plane causing it to crash in Hanoi, Vietnam. There, he was captured by North Vietnamese soldiers. Although they tortured him on several occasions, McCain refused to say anything besides his name, date of birth, serial number, and rank.

While McCain was still in their hold, the Vietnamese found out that his father was an important admiral and offered him an early release. Though most would willingly accept this deed, McCain refused, knowing his release would be used as propaganda for the Vietnamese and would go against the military code of conduct. This selfless action of his is one of the many good deeds that make up McCain’s legacy.

In the 2008 elections, McCain was the official Republican Party presidential candidate and lost to Barack Obama. About a year ago, McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a fast growing brain-tumor. Recently, he decided to discontinue treatment. His family states that they made this choice due to “the progress of the disease and the inexorable advance of age.” Due to his forgoing of treatment, John McCain passed away on Aug. 25.

However, he left wise words for Americans to follow. As a part of his last words, McCain said, “We weaken [our greatness] when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.”

After reading the quote shown prior,  AP Government and Politics and history teacher Jamie Fields said, “besides being a war hero and true public servant, [John McCain] was willing to reach across the aisle and make decisions based on what was best for our country and not solely based on his political affiliations. That’s so refreshing in today’s hyper-partisan climate.”

John McCain lived a life of service, and he will be missed as well as remembered for his selfless deeds.