John McCain-Senator and American Hero Dies at age 81

By Bill Phan

Undoubtedly one of the country’s most influential individuals, John McCain, passed away on August 25th, 2018. His life is filled with examples of a love of family, country, and higher values that show the best of humanity.

According to the New York Times, McCain passed away after a long battle with cancer in his home at 4:28 P.M. in his home in Arizona.

John Sidney McCain III was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936. The Zone was an incorporated territory of the United States until 1979 when it was abolished by the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, which granted Panama complete control of the Panama Canal.

With both his grandfather and father having served in the Navy, McCain followed in their footsteps. He became an icon of patriotism and was willing to sacrifice his life for the security and prosperity of his country when he was shot down and endured torture by North Vietnamese military from 1967 to 1973. He famously denied early release until all his fellow POWs were free.

With six out of the eight decades of his life dedicated to public service, according to CNN, John McCain had more than his fair share of political fights and lived through 14 presidents.

In 1983, McCain was elected to the House of Representatives to represent Arizona’s 1st district. After serving on the seat for 4 years, with a political viewpoint that was said to be in line with his hero, Ronald  Reagan, McCain won an election that brought him to the Senate. The Washington Post said that during the 1990s, McCain developed a tendency to be difficult to put in political categories. His independence during this period seemed to have paved the way for his reputation as a maverick.

This reputation was shown in his willingness to “[strike] at the canons of his party,” according to the Washington Post. Some instances of this were when he voted against CIA “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which were viewed as torture, made immigration easier, and perhaps most recently, or simply very memorably, his dramatic late-night thumbs down that tanked a Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, more widely known as Obamacare.

Some critics of McCain say that when it really counted for Republicans, McCain toed the party line. He kept even closer to the principals of the Republican Party when he ran for president in 2008 and 2012. With what is viewed by much of the news media as a conventional campaign, McCain said all the right things about Republican politics, and “came to represent the status quo that he had once promised to topple” according to the Washington Post.

A feud between the late Senator and candidate, now President Trump is well known in the media. McCain has repeatedly criticized Trump on, among other issues, his bad track record of respect towards women. Trump fights back by mocking McCain’s sacrifice to the country, saying that he “was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

This dislike is shown more clearly when reports from CNN, CBS among many others stated that McCain wanted, among others, former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama to deliver eulogies at his funeral service and that he did not want President Trump to attend any of the services. Bush and Obama were McCain’s opponents in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, respectively.

The service took place on Saturday, September 1st at the Washington National Cathedral. His body was also laid in state in the US Capitol (a rare honor that was only bestowed upon 31 people in 166 years, according to USA Today) and in the Arizona Capitol. He was laid to rest at the United States Naval Academy Cemetery on September 2.

An individual lived an extraordinary life of public service to his country, John McCain represented the best aspects of humanity. The country and the world of which he has made a better place will miss him.