U.S. Senator John McCain passes away at the age of 81

Hunter Gill, Editor-in-Cheif

Arizona Senator and former Presidential candidate John McCain passed away at his home in Arizona Aug. 25. The 81-year-old had been undergoing treatment for glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer, since 2017.

McCain, the son and grandson of two four-star Navy Admirals, began his career in the Navy. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958 and Navy flight school in 1960. McCain then volunteered for the Navy at the outbreak of the Vietnam War.

During his 23rd mission in Vietnam McCain’s plane was shot down over the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. He was able to eject out of the plane before crashing but sustained two broken arms and a broken leg, as well as being captured and taken prisoner.

McCain spent the next five and a half years as a prisoner of war. After his captors learned that his father was a high ranking military official he was repeatedly offered release, but refused unless other prisoners were also released. Many feel that he is a war hero for these actions.

“He was a P.O.W. for almost 6 years, enduring brutal torture throughout that time.  McCain experienced way more in Vietnam than he ever signed up for, yet he remained a loyal patriot and soldier throughout his imprisonment. McCain was absolutely [a hero]  in my personal opinion.” said Conner Bayer, lessons of Vietnam teacher.

McCain’s first experience with politics came in 1976 when he was named a Navy liaison to the U.S. Senate. He then ran for the House of Representatives in 1982 and 1984, winning both elections.

After his two terms in the House, he then ran for a Senate seat in 1986 and won. McCain was re-elected to the Senate five times, serving the state of Arizona for almost 36 years. He also attempted a Presidential run in 2000, where he was defeated in the primaries by George W. Bush and in 2008, where he was defeated by Barack Obama.

McCain gained a reputation in Congress for not being afraid to voice his opinion, breaking away from Republican leadership on multiple issues, including casting the decisive vote against a Republican-backed

John McCain speaks at a campaign rally in Arizona during his senate re-election campaign in 2016.

bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“I think something that did set McCain apart in politics, however, was his experience in the U.S. military and as a Vietnam P.O.W.  McCain was never afraid to speak his mind (whether it went against his party’s beliefs or not) and always had the best interests of America in mind.  Another amazing feat in McCain’s life, though he was never elected, was his pursuit of the U.S. Presidency. Going from a POW to a presidential candidate is impressive,” said Bayer.

McCain was also well known for his ability to keep his work and personal relationships separate, demonstrated through his continued friendship with political opponent Joe Biden and well-known defense of his presidential opponent Barack Obama in 2008; During a campaign rally a woman told McCain she did not trust Obama because “he’s an Arab,” McCain then replied: “No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.”

McCain will be remembered by many for his heroism in combat and years of dedicated service to America over his lifetime.

“I think he will be remembered as a great politician who accomplished many great things as a senator, as well as an American hero after serving as a POW in Vietnam and working to secure the release of his fellow soldiers,” said Harman Martin, senior.