John McCain the Republican Senator prided himself in being a man not easily swayed and influenced when it came to opinions and voicing them finally drew his last breath. He was a politician with a focused moral compass who was willing to stand by his party and at the same time admit when he was or even when the party was wrong. He held himself, and everyone around him, to a high standard – one that he, by his own admission, fell short of in some instances.
There are aspects of John McCain that America and the world will never forget. In these moments of McCain's life, he showed courage and a certain extra-ordinariness that is hard to come by for many politicians. Here are those moments in McCain's life that will no doubt shape the senator's legacy.
1. Refusing early release while a Vietnam prisoner of war
Before he became a politician, McCain’s conduct as a prisoner of war in Vietnam ennobled him to the American public. Less than a year into his captivity at the notorious “Hanoi Hilton”, McCain was abruptly offered an early release. But adhering to the POW code, under which officers were to accept release in the order they were captured, McCain refused.
“I knew that they wouldn’t have offered it to me if I hadn’t been the son of an admiral,” McCain told the Arizona Republican in 2007. “I just didn’t think it was the honorable thing to do.”
He was beaten and tortured for his defiance. McCain was released in March 1973, after more than five years in prison.
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