John McCain, a U.S. senator from Arizona for over three decades, lost his battle against glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer on Aug 25, a year after he was diagnosed.
McCain was a former prisoner of war in Vietnam who ran unsuccessfully for president as a self-styled maverick Republican in 2008 and became a prominent critic of President Donald Trump.
The late senator’s last words were made public recently by longtime aide Rick Davis. McCain’s letter to the United States was reportedly dictated by the late senator himself just days before his demise. The letter had called for Americans to unite and not focus on divisions.
In the last message, McCain talked about his love for the country and also issued words of caution.
“We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been,” read the letter.
McCain further said that he loved his life and said he tried to serve his country with honor.
However, he admitted making mistakes and said later on he did regret them but hoped his love for the country would overweight those mistakes.
The late Republican added that he was thankful for all the opportunities that life gave him and said he had both good and bad days but said he wouldn’t trade a day of his life “in good or bad times, for the best day of anyone else's.”
“Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history,” the letter further read.
After his demise, Trump being himself didn’t put aside his petty grievances and nixed a White House statement calling him a war hero.
The president posted a brief tweet that became lost among the plethora of much wordier messages on his Twitter feed. Furthermore, as people grieved, Trump went on to play golf at his resort.
Trump and McCain have had a turbulent past.
McCain’s plane was shot down during the Vietnam War in 1967 and he was taken captive in Hanoi. As a prisoner of war for two years, he suffered torture that resulted in his arms, legs and shoulders being broken reportedly. When he returned to the United States, he refused an offer of early release, in solidarity with his fellows POWs.
Trump, who deferred from service in Vietnam five times, citing “bone spurs” in his foot, has mocked the former army pilot, claiming, McCain only became a war hero “because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”
The president also mocked McCain when he voted “no” to the GOP’s skinny Obamacare repeal by reportedly mimicking the senator’s thumbs-down motion in private.
Trump also signed a military finding bill named after McCain but in his remarks discussing the new legislation, the petty president made his contempt clear by not once mentioning the ex-POW’s name.
Earlier this year, the late senator said that he didn’t want Trump to attend his funeral. Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will be the eulogists at the eventual funeral.
McCain’s family confirmed that Trump will not be attending his funeral.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Aaron P. Bernstein