A Political legend John Sidney McCain III loses battle with Cancer

Anagha Telang

Born on 29 August,1939 John Sidney McCain III was the U.S. senator and stood against Barack Obama during the 2008 Presidential elections. McCain represented Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives (1983–87) before being elected to the U.S. Senate.

He was a self-described conservative “foot soldier in the Reagan revolution,” McCain clashed with his party’s right wing on a wide range of issues. Media admired what they saw as he was a very direct leader and he was known as a political maverick.

Career as a Naval Officer

His father and Grand-father both served the the U.S. Navy. He continued his family tradition and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in the year 1958. He then served in the navy as a ground-attack pilot. 

In the year 1967, during the Vietnam War, McCain was nearly killed in a severe accidental fire aboard an aircraft carrier USS Forrestal, on active duty in the Gulf of Tonkin.

In the same year McCain’s plane was shot down over Hanoi, and he was badly injured. He was then captured by the North Vietnamese. During that time he was tortured under years of solitary confinement. 

In 1968 his father was appointed as the commander of all U.S. forces in the Pacific, the North Vietnamese, as a propaganda ploy, offered early release to the younger McCain, but he refused this offer and demanded the release of all the Americans captured before him. 

He was released in the year 1973. After returning back he received a grand welcome and many other awards including the Silver Star and the Legion of Merit.

McCain retired from the U.S. Navy in 1981. In 1977, he became the navy’s liaison to the U.S. Senate, which he later called his “real entry into the world of politics and the beginning of my second career as a public servant.” 

Political Career
In 1982 he was elected to the House of Representatives. After serving two terms. He successfully ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1986. 

McCain also got involved in the most spectacular case to arise out of the savings and loan scandals of the 1980s, as a result of his connections with Charles Keating, Jr., the head of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association of Irvine, California, who was engaged in the fraud. Although cleared by the Senate in 1991 of illegalities in his dealings on Keating’s behalf, McCain was mildly rebuked for exercising “poor judgment.” Duly embarrassed, McCain became a champion of campaign finance reform; he collaborated with the liberal Democratic senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, and, after a seven-year battle, the pair saw the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act signed into law in 2002. The legislation, which restricted the political parties’ use of funds not subject to federal limits, was McCain’s signal achievement on Capitol Hill.

On most issues including military spending, labour legislation, abortion, and gun regulation his ideology was conservative. He led unsuccessful efforts to enact a new federal tax on tobacco products that would fund anti-smoking campaigns and help the states pay for smoking-related health costs. 

On immigration reform, health care, restriction of so-called greenhouse gas emissions reduction of pork-barrel government spending, regressive tax cuts, and the political power of religious conservatives, McCain stood out. 

In 2000, he promised the country “straight talk” and extensive government reform, McCain contested for the Republican presidential nomination, competing against Texas Governor. George W. Bush. In which he lost.

McCain recovered from his devastating defeat, campaigned hard for Bush’s re-election in 2004. He gave constant support to the Iraq War, and, after initially opposing Bush’s tax cuts, voted against their repeal.

McCain announced that he would once again seek the Republican presidential nomination in the year 2007.  McCain lost to Obama. 

McCain returned to the Senate, where he continued to play a prominent role. In 2013, as part of the “gang of eight” group of Republican and Democratic senators, McCain pursued a bipartisan solution to immigration reform that included a “path to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants. 

After Trump won the Presidency, McCain was among a small group of Republicans who were critical of the new chief executive’s warm overtures to Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, in the face of the consensus within the U.S. intelligence establishment that the Russian government had meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. McCain joined Democrats in calling for the creation of a special committee to investigate the Russian intervention in the election and the possible collusion by the Trump campaign in that effort.

Awards & Honours
  • In 1997, Time magazine named McCain as one of the "25 Most Influential People in America". 
  • In 1999, McCain shared the Profile in Courage Award with Senator Russ Feingold for their work towards campaign finance reform.
  • In 2005, The Eisenhower Institute awarded McCain the Eisenhower Leadership Prize.The prize recognizes individuals whose lifetime accomplishments reflect Dwight D. Eisenhower's legacy of integrity and leadership. 
  • In 2006, the Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award was bestowed upon McCain by the National Park Trust. The same year, McCain was awarded the Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, in honor of Senator Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson. 
  • In 2007, the World Leadership Forum presented McCain with the Policymaker of the Year Award; it is given internationally to someone who has "created, inspired or strongly influenced important policy or legislation". 
  • In 2010, President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia awarded McCain the Order of National Hero, an award never previously given to a non-Georgian. 
  • In 2015, the Kiev Patriarchate awarded McCain its own version of the Order of St. Vladimir. 
  • In 2016, Allegheny College awarded McCain, along with Vice President Joe Biden, its Prize for Civility in Public Life. 
  • In August 2016, Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine, awarded McCain with the highest award for foreigners, the Order of Liberty. 
  • In 2017, Hashim Thaçi, the President of Kosovo, awarded McCain the "Urdhër i Lirisë" (Order of Freedom) medal for his contribution to the freedom and independence of Kosovo, and its partnership with the U.S.
  • McCain also received the Liberty Medal from the National Constitution Center in 2017.

McCain received several honorary degrees from colleges and universities in the United States and internationally
  •  Colgate University (LL.D 2000), 
  • The Citadel (DPA 2002)
  • Wake Forest University (LL.D May 20, 2002), 
  • The University of Southern California (DHL May 2004),
  • Northwestern University (LL.D June 17, 2005),
  • Liberty University (2006),
  • The New School (2006), 
  • and the Royal Military College of Canada (D.MSc June 27, 2013). 
  • He was also made an Honorary Patron of the University Philosophical Society at Trinity College Dublin in 2005.


  • Faith of My Fathers by John McCain, Mark Salter 
  • Worth the Fighting For by John McCain, Mark Salter 
  • Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life by John McCain, Mark Salter 
  • Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember by John McCain, Mark Salter 
  • Hard Call: Great Decisions and the Extraordinary People Who Made Them by John McCain, Mark Salter 
  • Thirteen Soldiers: A Personal History of Americans at War by John McCain, Mark Salter 
  • The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations by John McCain, Mark Salter 

In mid-July 2017, following surgery to remove a blood clot over McCain’s left eye, it was announced that McCain was suffering from glioblastoma, a common but extremely malignant brain tumour.

McCain's family announced on August 24, 2018, that he would no longer receive treatment for his cancer. The next day on August 25, 2018 at 16:28 MST (23:28 UTC), he died with his wife and family beside him at his home in Cornville, Arizona, four days before his 82nd birthday.

McCain will lie in state in the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix on August 29 (McCain's birthday), followed by a service at North Phoenix Baptist Church on August 30. 

His body will travel to Washington to lie in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol on August 31, before a service at the Washington National Cathedral on September 1. He will be buried at the United States Naval Academy Cemetery, next to his Naval Academy classmate Admiral Charles R. Larson.

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