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John McCain: a Tragedy and Beacon of Hope

American senator and military officer John McCain passed away at age 81 on August 25th, 2018. McCain was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War and was brutally tortured for five years. Thirteen years after being released, McCain became a U.S. Senator and eventually ran as a Republican in the 2008 Presidential Election. While campaigning, McCain supporters directed their queries about Obama towards him at a town hall meeting, one woman even saying “He’s an Arab,” with a negative connotation. McCain interrupted her, grabbing the microphone and defended Obama. Once Obama won against McCain and became President, he still held the utmost respect for Obama, even while disagreeing on most topics.

President Trump’s disdain for McCain can be traced back to 1999, when in an interview he said “[McCain] was captured… does being captured make you a hero? I don’t know. I’m not sure.” Trump made this same point at a summit in 2015, and again in the Republican presidential primary in 2016. After McCain passed away, Trump released his statement on Twitter, it was short and not so sweet.

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After lowering the flags at the White House to half-staff, they were raised again the next morning. Receiving backlash and harsh criticism for raising the flags again so soon, they were lowered back to half-staff. Senator John McCain and his family did not invite Trump to the funeral, instead McCain asked Barack Obama and George W. Bush to offer eulogies. His daughter, Meghan, offered a eulogy as well. Here were some of her comments:

We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served.

The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great.”

While McCain is no longer present on earth, he still stands for people with opposite views working together for a greater good, and he withholds respect towards his previous contenders. This is a reminder to the United States and to President Trump that things are so much more harmonious when not so polarised.

By: Addie Tiller

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