Senator John McCain died this week. After a long battle with brain cancer he ended a life in which he proved again and again what it means to become a living profile in courage.
The son and grandson of admirals in the US Navy, he was targeted for capture and then torture during the Vietnam War. For five and a half years McCain knew that he was being singled out for this treatment because it would prove to be good propaganda if he showed himself to be less than stoic or honorable. He knew that it would shame his family and his country if he ever showed weakness. His captors knew it too and did their utmost to break his spirit by breaking his body. Senator McCain bore the marks of his torture all his life in his gait and walk.
But he ultimately too tough for his captors. In his weakest moments he proved to be a tower of heroism and a pillar of strength. He became a living example of the philosophy Apostle Paul described when he said, “When I am weak, then I am strong.”
Senator McCain returned to the US to make his home in Arizona and continue to serve through public service. He was elected to Congress from 1982-1986 and then the US Senate for 31 years starting in 1987.
He was measured, conservative, self-aware and dry in his humor. He was kind and thoughtful, and often dared to speak his truth. He gained a reputation as a maverick, but that meant he reached across party lines to try to shape policy and build consensus.
Some of the most telling accolades for Senator McCain this week have come from Democrats, which says a lot.
“John McCain was a warrior, a patriot, and a man of immeasurable courage. What a privilege it was to know him.
An unabashed conservative who relished the opportunity to do battle against his more liberal Democratic colleagues, he was also a willing and able legislative negotiator, unafraid to buck his own party to achieve a goal he thought important. Because of his uncompromising love of country, John was able to be a dealmaker, a true legislator, as he fought for a more perfect union and to advance policies for the public good. He was the maverick who refused to be boxed into a political position merely for the sake of party. For him, it was always country first."
Victoria Reggy Kennedy
I mention him today because it is rare to find statesmen and women these days. So I wanted to lift him up for his valor, his decency and his character.
Blessings, fellow pilgrims,