John McCain was an American warrior, period
Image by Dan Raustadt

RIP Senator John McCain.

Today the nation lost a man who served his country for a long time in various ways, and paid the price for it.

I didn’t agree with McCain’s vote against Obamacare. I felt it was petty and hurt the country, in a bid to get back at President Trump for his negative comments on McCain’s war record. In his last few years, McCain’s judgement slipped. His hate for President Trump clouded his decision making. However, the last few years don’t smear the man’s entire life and record of service to America.

Perhaps the best way to understand John McCain is to know he was a rabble-rouser, a loose cannon in many ways. However, when the chips were on the table, McCain showed his inner strength and love for his fellow warriors and for America.

After being tortured for years in the infamous Hanoi Hilton, after being severely injured while ejecting after his jet had been shot down in Vietnam, the son of an admiral was offered the chance to go home, in a propaganda move by the North Vietnamese Communists. Of course many of his fellow warriors would remain in the tortuous prison.

McCain refused, saying only when my fellow prisoners are released. This was during extreme torture of course.

Speaking of torture. McCain couldn’t raise his arms above his head for a reason. He was routinely hung by his arms tied behind his back, resulting in permanent physical damage.

McCain was absolutely spot on when the naive President George W. Bush said he looked in Vladimir Putin’s soul and saw a good man. McCain replied, “When I look into his soul, I see KGB.” He was exactly right of course as recent events have shown the world.

I read with humor many armchair quarterbacks who diminish McCain’s service. Of course many of these people were not shot down, or didn’t serve at all. They didn’t rot for 6 years in a POW camp. They weren’t tortured. Therefore their comments are not serious.

In my humble opinion, you are free to criticize McCain’s voting record, and his years in Congress. However, unless you were in the Hanoi Hilton with him, his war record seems to me to be off limits.

I think America should remember John McCain for who he was – an American warrior, a man who served his country valiantly when the nation called. Many burned their draft cards, got deferments, or didn’t serve at all.

To close, here is a poem from an American POW in Vietnam…this one’s for Senator McCain.

We toast our hearty comrades who have fallen from the sky,and were gently caught by Gods own hands to be with him on high.
To dwell among the soaring clouds they have known so well before,from victory roll to tail chase at heavens very door.
And as we fly among them there, we’re sure to hear their plea: Take care, my friend, watch your six, and do one more roll for me.