Today’s news from the Office of Sen. John McCain, that his yearlong battle with a very progressive brain cancer is coming to an end, is sad news for his wife, Cindy, and his children. It is also sad for America.
His family announced Friday that Sen. McCain, who was diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year ago, is ending medical treatment.
Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, you likely know that Naval Aviator John McCain was a prisoner of war. Beaten by his captors, his body broken, they never broke McCain’s spirit.
After returning home, Capt. McCain was assigned to a Naval Liaison posting in the U.S. Senate. This is where I met this amazing man. All of the military personnel serving in the Military District of Washington had great respect and admiration for Capt. McCain. Simply put, he was a legend.
After his honorable discharge from the Navy, McCain sought a congressional seat in Arizona. He walked precincts and with his wife, Cindy, at his side, he won his election.
Most of us remember John McCain for his service in the Navy, his years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, his service in the Senate, and even his unsuccessful bid for the presidency.
Sen. McCain voted his conscience. He voted in a way that did not always please his party or those who voted for him in Arizona. He reached across the aisle on a number of occasions to craft compromise. After all, that is what the Senate is. A deliberative body, one that moves at what many think is a glacial pace.
McCain, as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, was never afraid to take on the Service Chiefs or the Joint Chiefs of Staff. With a son in the Navy and another in the Marine Corps, the Senator knows the Department of Defense and has at heart the best interest of its soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen.
As the nation begins to look back on the service to his nation, the Senator will be remembered by his colleagues for his willingness to lead, his willingness to work across the aisle, his courage to oppose a sitting president of his own party, and a man who served this nation with honor and distinction.
Sen. McCain, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, lives by a simple code: Lead and serve with honor, integrity, and stand your ground.
He was not a perfect man. His personal and policy missteps are well-known.
Sen. John McCain is an American treasure and hero. For all of us who wore the uniform of the nation and earned the title of veteran, we salute you and thank you for the example you set of personal sacrifice, honor, and putting service about self.
McCain is a sailor’s sailor. He remains in our thoughts and prayers.
The following is a radio spot that I cut for Sen. McCain during the last campaign. It aired across Arizona in the last three weeks of his campaign.
Editor’s Note: Tom Freeman served in Washington, D.C., during the Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan years in the United States Air Force. He holds the distinction of being the only active duty member of the Armed Forces to take his enlistment oath on the floor of the United States Senate. He is a regular contributor to Uken Report.