After having spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Hanoi,
U.S. Navy Lt. Commander John S. McCain III was welcomed by then-President Richard Nixon on May 24, 1973.
Photo credit: Getty CBS News
– Editor’s note:
I was in high school in the early 1970s when I first recall hearing of John McCain for his refusal to accept release from the “Hanoi Hilton” prisoner of war detention center ahead of POWs who had been there longer. His captors had learned that his father was an important figure in the U. S. military (who would eventually be made the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific command) and offered to relase him early for what they thought would be political purposes. McCain refused to leave unless his comrades were as well. In 1973 at the end of my freshman year in college, what impressed me was his stoicism when he was finally released with his fellow POWs and deplaned the military transport aircraft from Vietnam at the then-U. S. Clark Air Base in the Philippines, televised live to the nation. A battered body from years of torture and improper treatment for his injuries, U.S. Navy Lt. Commander McCain met and was honored by President Nixon, barely able to walk. Though not agreeing with some of his hawkish views, I always appreciated his advocacy for a free press and denouncing use of torture on U. S. prisoners, two major issues where his voice lent great weight.
Last September, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked McCain, “How do you want the American people to remember you?” McCain replied, “He served his country. And not always right, made a lot of mistakes. Made a lot of errors. But served his country, and I hope you could add honorably.”
This nation is greater for having been served honorably by Sen. John S. McCain III!
– “‘Meet the Press’ record holder McCain remembered as a passionate patriot”
McCain, who died Saturday at the age of 81 after a battle with brain cancer, appeared on “Meet the Press” 73 times over the course of his career, more than any other guest in the show’s history.”
“When asked whether he agreed with President Trump’s declaration that the press is the “enemy of the American people,” McCain offered a stern warning.
“I hate the press,” he joked. “But the fact is, we need you, we need a free press, we must have it. It’s vital. I’m very serious now, if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free, and many times adversarial, press. And without it, I’m afraid we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.”
“I’m not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator, I’m just saying we need to learn the lessons of history,” by NBC News, Meet the Press.
– “One moment from McCain’s 2008 run made clear his character and foretold Trump’s rise”
“Played and replayed constantly since the senator’s death on Saturday at age 81, the [2008 Presidential campaign] moment seems to presage the rise of the ‘birther movement,’ the era of ‘alternative facts’ and the presidency of Donald Trump less than a decade later.
“At a high school about 30 miles south of Minneapolis, a blond woman in a red shirt addresses McCain, who is in the final weeks of what will be his second failed run for the White House.
“‘I gotta ask you a question,’ she says. ‘I do not believe in, I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him, and he’s not a . . . he’s an Arab.’
“‘No, ma’am,’ McCain replies, shaking his head and taking the microphone from her. ‘He’s a decent family man and citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is all about,'” by Greg Jaffe, MSN.