I come from a strong military family. I was raised to think very highly of serving your country. This is the image I always think of when I think of the late John McCain.
Even when he did something in Senate that I did not agree with my brain went back to this. I obsessed on what possessed a man to stay behind to be tortured for 5 and-a-half years when he could have simply hopped on a plane home. He had a golden ticket. His dad was an admiral. To the Vietnamese, he was a prince.
He refused. He would not go home unless they released his brothers in arms, too.
For 5 and-a-half years he was tortured, his arms were broken over and again. He was placed in solitary. They paraded him in front of cameras and asked him to turn against the U.S. and his brothers in arms.
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I guess it’s hard for some who don’t have skin in the game to understand this aspect of John McCain. He stayed. He didn’t have to. He stayed for my grandfather’s, my cousin’s, my husband, and his brother’s and now sister’s in arms.
As I grew older and my husband joined the Air Force, I realized something. I would wake up wondering when he would be called to leave? When there is a war going on you always wonder if your husband or wife will be next to go and if they go will they come back? Will they get to see your child be born? Will they be the same person you knew when they come home? Every family that serves goes through this sacrifice. His wife’s sacrifice was immense. He never buckled.
There are people in this world that didn’t like John McCain. This makes my heart sink. To me a great force for good died Aug. 25. You can dislike his politics and that’s OK; Sometimes I did, too. I hope you take a moment to remember this man the way so many of us do. Remember in his passing he represent my grandfathers, my cousins, my husband, and the brother’s in arms he refused to leave behind so many years ago.