Thursday, July 20, 2017

The final battle...

"We cannot help you win this one John, but we can pray for you. We can pray for the doctors treating you, and pray that God will give you the strength and comfort going forward."    

I have to say, once the news broke yesterday about Senator McCain, many were shocked, some saddened, and some inexplicably, gleeful. The type of brain cancer McCain has been diagnosed with is one of the worse kinds.

I am on record of saying this before, and I will proudly say it again. John McCain is a hero of mine. Always has been, always will be. It is as plain and simple as that. Has he been a disappointment at times as the senior Senator from Arizona? Yes. Was I disappointed in his campaign to be President in 2008? Yes again. However, that does not diminish the fact he is still a hero to me as well as to many, many others.

John McCain comes from a long line of service. Both his grandfather and his father were four star admirals. Many former sailors my age worked for John McCain's dad at one time or another while serving. He was Commander in Chief of Pacific Forces when I served in Okinawa. John McCain finished his career after being released in 1973 and retired at the rank of Captain. 

John McCain's journey in the Navy was not an easy one. Selected to attend Annapolis, right after graduation and commissioning, McCain wanted to be a naval aviator. And he became one. While stationed on the USS Forrestal in 1967, a massive fire broke out on the flight deck. The ship was almost lost, and men died fighting the fire. McCain was almost one of them. But he survived it to fight another day.

Later in 1967, while on a bombing run over Viet Nam, John McCain was shot down. Injured in the landing, he was taken prisoner by North Vietnamese regulars. He was then sent north and put in the POW camp known as the Hanoi Hilton. He was held from 1967 to 1973. While there, guards beat the hell out of him. So much so, he still has debilitating injuries. All the while, he stayed true to his shipmates, and to his country.

John McCain has been called a Maverick while serving in the United States Senate. And at times, he really has been. At times, has lost the respect of some conservatives and party loyalists. Some feel he is too cozy being in the Senate "club" and having close friends on the other side of the aisle. That may be true, but in these days of constant rancor, at times John McCain appears to be one of the few adults in the room. I know some will disagree with that statement, but I think many times John McCain has shown himself to be a true statesman. 

In any event, Senator McCain is now coming to the end of his journey. A doctor was asked on the news this morning about the prognosis for this type of cancer. Best case - 14 months. And those 14 months will be filled with radiation, chemo, discomfort, and yes, losing capabilities. 

To Captain, and Senator McCain, I say this to you sir - you are one of the toughest men I have seen of in my lifetime. The battles you have fought have been epic - but this one will be the toughest. I know you will fight hard - you always have. We cannot help you win this one John, but we can pray for you. We can pray for the doctors treating you, and pray that God will give you the strength and comfort going forward.    


  1. ps I was air evaced from Vietnam to Okinawa, Camp Kue Hospital in May of 1969. After hospitalization, stationed their for 30 months til I left the service in 1972. My wife and I loved the island.