On August 25, 2018, Senator John Sidney McCain III passed away.
A Republican senator from the First District of Arizona, John McCain served for thirty-five years. He also ran twice for the office of president on the Republican ticket. The first time he dropped out during the primaries and the second he became the Republican Party’s nominee, paired with Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. During the twilight of his career, he broke with party lines and openly worked with Democrats to solve some of our nations most pressing issues. But this wasn’t the first time he was a maverick.
Even as far back as his days in the United States Naval Academy, John McCain was known as a rebel. He received enough demerits to become legendary, but not enough to get expelled. This “devil-may-care” attitude served well as a Naval Aviator and officer.
During the Vietnam War, he served with distinction. He flew missions into North Vietnam for a year before being struck by a surface-to-air missile and ejecting. After being shot down, he suffered and survived five years of imprisonment at the hands of the North Vietnamese. On the day he was shot down, McCain had dark hair, on the day of his release, his hair had gone completely white.
Although he had the option for early release, he chose to stay in captivity until all his fellow POW’s were released. His five years of captivity would plague him with physical ailments for the rest of life.
After his release, he worked hard to regain flight status and return to active duty as an aviator. Until the early eighties, he served with distinction and rose through the ranks until he was the assigned as the Navy’s liaison to the US Senate.
Given his father and grandfather’s military status and clout, it seemed natural for him to enter politics upon his discharge from the Navy.
End of Service
In 2017 he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. Despite the treatment and the toll it took on his body, McCain returned to his duties at the Senate and remained head of the Armed Services Committee.
On May 22nd, 2018, he published his final memoir, The Restless Wave. In it, he expressed his contentment with the successes of his life but said: “I hate to leave it.”
On August 25th he passed away due to complications related to brain cancer.
In preparation for his final exit, McCain planned out his own funeral services.
On Wednesday, August 29th, his body will lie in state at the Arizona State Capitol. The next day, the 30th, a memorial service at North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix, AZ.
On Friday 31st, McCain will lie in state in Washington DC. The next day will be another memorial service at the National Cathedral. Finally, on Sunday, September 2nd, he’ll be buried in the cemetery of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
His family is in our thoughts and prayers.