US Senator John McCain passed away August 25, 2018 after fighting brain cancer. He was a pilot in the Navy, a Vietnam prisoner of war, a Republican presidential candidate, and served as a United States senator for 30 years. He famously refused to leave his men in a Vietnam prison camp, where he was tortured as a prisoner of war. He was also known as a maverick politician who would buck the party lines, such as his famous "thumbs-down" vote on repealing the Affordable Cart Act in 2018. When he ran for president, he defended his opponent Barack OBama against a voter who made disparaging comments, mistaking Obama for an Arab. McCain said elsewhere, "I want to fight, and I will fight,” he said. “But I will be respectful. I admire Sen. Obama and his accomplishments, and I will respect him.” Obama, who will speak at McCain's funeral said this: "John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics. But we shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher – the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed. We saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world. We saw this country as a place where anything is possible – and citizenship as our patriotic obligation to ensure it forever remains that way. Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt. Michelle and I send our most heartfelt condolences to Cindy and their family."

John Sidney McCain

by Andrew from Leawood

John McCain. Sure, many people have heard of him but few know his real stories and his exciting, inspirational past. U.S. Senator, this is what comes to mind when most people think of him, but there is much more to him than just politics. John McCain has lead a life of compassion and fortitude, reaching out to help his fellow Americans in need. And although some Americans are too narrow-minded by politics to see this, I think this makes him a stronger, more dignified leader. This is why John McCain is my hero.

McCain speaking to a group of supporters. (
McCain speaking to a group of supporters. (

John Sidney McCain was born on August 29, 1936, in the Panama Canal Zone, where his father was stationed by the U.S. Navy. As McCain grew older, he was more and more influenced and interested by the Navy life and he had a great respect for what his father did. When he reached his late teens and early twenties, McCain joined the Navy, just as his father and grandfather had done. After several years of training, McCain graduated from the Naval Academy in the year of 1958. After graduating, McCain began his career as a Naval Aviator. McCain continued to serve his country as a Pilot, until the Vietnam War. There was a call for Pilots to help out, and McCain heroically volunteered for the job. On October 26, 1967, McCain’s plane was shot down during his 23rd air combat mission. His plane plummeted into enemy territory and he was feared dead. Then the Navy received word that McCain and his men had been taken as prisoners of war. McCain was beaten for information for several years, but refused defiantly to give any. Then McCain discovered that because his father was a Navy Admiral, he would have the chance to be released early. This was very uncommon and most men would have been more than happy to leave such a horrific place, but McCain stood up and refused to leave until all of his men were released also. McCain waited more than two years for this moment to come, and when he returned home, he was too badly tortured and injured to continue his life as a pilot.

McCain standing with a group of U.S. Soldiers
McCain standing with a group of U.S. Soldiers

After returning home, McCain married his second wife and moved to Arizona. There he began to discover politics. In 1982, he was elected to Congress, representing the First Congressional District of Arizona. He worked as a representative for several years before moving to the U.S. Senate in 1986. He took the place of Arizona’s great Barry Goldwater and is still the senator today. In the 2000 Republican Primary Election, McCain ran against George W. Bush and suffered a defeat. There are rumors of McCain running in the 2008 Election, but one thing is sure, until then, he will stay Senator of Arizona.

John McCain is many different things to many different people but, to me, he is an ordinary person who has accomplished extraordinary things, a hero. John McCain has served his country greatly through his time in the Navy and as a noble prisoner during his time in Vietnam, and as a political leader in the state of Arizona. And he has also suffered and survived skin cancer twice in his lifetime. John McCain is an extraordinary person and if he isn’t a hero, then I don’t know who is.

Page created on 10/26/2005 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 8/28/2018 7:16:54 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Senator John McCain - Official Senate Website
John McCain - From the McCain family