John Sidney McCain III, born August 29th, 1936, died just four days before his 82nd birthday. In the days after his passing, America reflects on his time as a dedicated civil servant in the United States Air Force and as a U.S. Senator to Arizona.
He followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and enrolled in the United States Naval Academy. McCain quickly gained the reputation of a troublemaker at the Academy and became apart of the Century Club, which is an unofficial club for those who get more than one hundred demerits during their time at the Academy. That mischievous nature of his had to take a backseat when he was deployed to Vietnam to fight as a fighter pilot in the Vietnam War. In 1967, while bombing the city of Hanoi, McCain’s plane was shot down and he was taken by the North Vietnamese as a prisoner of war. McCain was tortured and almost left for dead but refused to give any information to the enemy. In his memoir , McCain recalls his time as a POW saying, “Nothing is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you but is not defined by your existence alone." McCain claims in his memoir that during his time as a prisoner of war, he fell in love with his country more than ever. This love was carried into his life as a U.S. Senator for Arizona.
In 1986, he was elected to the Senate after serving two years in the House of Representatives. Throughout his time in Congress, he was known as a “maverick politician" because of his quick temper and hard stance on certain issues. In 2008, McCain placed his bid in the Presidential race. Although he was unsuccessful in his quest for presidency, he became a well-respected member of Congress that all presidential nominees sought the support of.
In his final months, as one of his last acts as a U.S. Senator, he vetoed the bill that his party presented that would repeal the Affordable Care Act. His vote to not repeal the act became the pivotal vote which ultimately blocked the appeal.
McCain spoke a lot about ending partisanship in Congress and working towards compromise. In his farewell message that was released after his passing he said “We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe… Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here." John McCain served the country he loved for the majority of his life and has seen it rise and fall. His legacy will carry on in our nation as a hero and a dedicated civil servant who only wanted to see his country succeed.