John S. McCain, a Naval aviator, prisoner of war in Vietnam, a Republican congressman and senator from Arizona, and a two-time contender for the presidency, died on Saturday. He was 81.
He served two terms in the House of Representatives and six in the Senate. He was a maverick who defied his party’s leaders. He compromised with Democrats.
Senator McCain returned to the floor of the Senate in July 2017 after being diagnosed with brain cancer and addressed the Senate after casting a critical vote to proceed to debate on the Senate’s Obamacare repeal legislation.
“What greater cause could we hope to serve than helping keep America the strong, aspiring, inspirational beacon of liberty and defender of the dignity of all human beings and their right to freedom and equal justice? That is the cause that binds us and is so much more powerful and worthy than the small differences that divide us,” he said.
John McCain was sincere and principled. These were his essential qualities. His character reflects the character of our nation.
In a speech at National Constitutional Center last year, he said, “We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil. We are the custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to.”
John McCain’s character and service to America defined his life and legacy.