The World Says Goodbye to a True American Hero John McCain


Caleb Pendleton, Reporter

Senator for Arizona, John McCain, passed away on August 25th 2018 at the age of 81.  McCain has a historical past and is a war hero for being a prisoner of war in Vietnam. On July 14th, 2017 John McCain was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer, Giloblastima, which is a malignant brain tumor, discovered during an eye operation. His daughter Meghan said, “I was with my father at his end, as he was with me at my beginning… 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.”

Who was John McCain and what were his expectations?

John McCain was born on August 29th 1936 in the Coco Solo Naval Air Station that is located in Panama. He was raised in a family where his father and grandfather believed that serving your country was the way to go, so there was no doubt that this is how John McCain would be raised. Following his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, McCain attended a private preparatory boarding school for his high school years, and his entire childhood consisted of moving between many naval bases. John was raised to be a good student in school, but when he got to high school he became very rebellious. He was then moved to a naval academy boot camp where rules needed to be followed and he became known as a really bad student. In 1958 McCain graduated 5th from the bottom of his class at the naval academy in Annapolis and then he graduated flight school right after in 1960. McCain volunteered for combat and started flying planes and doing bomb runs on the Vietnamese.  He survived an incident caused by his foolish actions, when a Navy plane misfired a missile causing explosions and fires on board which killed 134 people on the USS Forestall. In 1967 he was shot down on his 23rd flight mission. He needed to get out of the plane quickly, but the evacuation knocked him out by force. He floated unconscious right into the enemy territory. McCain was captured and put into a prison called Hanoi which was for American soldiers.

McCain was imprisoned and tortured during his 5 and a half year incarceration. When the VietCong soldiers found out who John McCain’s father was, they allowed him medical treatment to use him for propaganda purposes. He was told he could make a video and send it to his family to tell them he loves them. The VietCong told him they would release him, but he chose to stay because he did not want to leave his fellow soldiers behind. McCain was then beaten for a confession. He eventually could not withstand the beatings and he signed a paper confessing he was a war criminal. After McCain was released from prison with many other POWs, he became very famous and became politically involved.

McCain first started getting into politics in 1976 when he became the Navy’s liaison to the U.S. senate. He was then elected into political position in 1982 in the House of Representatives. After McCain married his second wife Cindy Hensley, he retired from the Navy and moved to Phoenix, Arizona. He stated, “My whole life I’ve been moving and the longest place I’ve lived is Hanoi.” This changed many people’s perspective on his political stance and people started thinking about him in a different way. He would go door-to-door and persuade people to vote for him because other candidates didn’t do that. He then won his place in Congress with a 60% margin. He later won the election and became Arizona’s senator. McCain also unsuccessfully ran for president two times, the latest in 2016 vs President Donald Trump. He lived the rest of his life as a U.S. senator for Arizona.