M-. President, Today I would like to honor the late Senator John McCain.
I appreciate having this opportunity to celebrate the life and accomplishments of John McCain and to mourn him as he has lost his battle with cancer. His loss will be deeply felt by all of us here in the Senate, not only by those of us who served with him, but also by the many staff and individuals he has worked with over time.
Senator McCain was a true patriot who dedicated his life to serving others. His dedication to his country and its defense was unmatched. After graduating from the Naval Academy, he served for two decades in the Navy. He was tested as only few men ever are after his plane crashed in Vietnam. He showed incredible resilience and moral fortitude during his time as a prisoner of war. After leaving the Navy he represented the great state of Arizona in Congress for 35 years, first in the House and later in the Senate. His sense of duty, loyalty, honor, and compassion were bedrock strong and served to guide him in his long career of public service.
He rightfully earned his Maverick moniker during his long public career with his iron strength of will to stand up and fight for what he believed was right, no matter the political consequences. He was renowned for his support of the military. John showed unwavering support to freedom, democracy and the country he loved. He found it in himself to push to reopen ties to Vietnam, believing that was how we could begin to heal the wounds of war. He was a lively speaker, a straight talker, and a prodigious leader but more than that he was a good man. I had the opportunity to work with John on several pieces of legislation over time and every time I was impressed with his ability to cut right to the heart of an issue. He always put what he thought would be best for his constituents and America above any political concerns or niceties. He was passionate throughout his long years of service to the people of Arizona.
John was a man of faith. He had a quiet faith, one that was beyond simple expression. It meant when he did speak of his faith it made it that much more impactful, he once recounted how it was his faith in God, faith in his fellow prisoners, and faith in his country that helped him make it through his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. In an interview John gave in 2008, he shared what it meant to him to be a Christian, “It means I'm saved and forgiven.” During that same interview, he mentioned a guard at that prisoner of war camp in Vietnam who shared his faith one Christmas. “He stood there for a minute, and with his sandal on the dirt in the courtyard, he drew a cross and he stood there, and a minute later, he rubbed it out, and walked away. For a minute there, there were just two Christians worshipping together.” His moral compass was guided strongly by his faith in God and it meant that he always did what he thought was right rather than doing what was easy. I know that his quiet devotion and many of his other qualities earned him respect from members on both sides of the aisle.
While America is remembering a war hero, veteran, senator, and presidential candidate, his family is remembering a husband, a father, a brother and experiencing a world that seems incomplete without him in it. My wife Diana and I send our thoughts and deepest prayers to his wife Cindy and the entire McCain family as we mourn the passing of an American hero.
How can I adequately praise the life of a man who has had such a long and storied career, one with so many accomplishments? In an interview, John talked about how he would want to be remembered. He wanted people to remember him as a guy who “served his country.”
I intend to do just that. John McCain, served his country. He served it well. America will never forget that service. Thank you. God bless you. May you find peace.
I yield the floor.