Republican Senator John McCain died Saturday after a fight with brain cancer. He was 81.
The son and grandson of admirals, McCain entered the Naval Academy as kind of a screw-up. He graduated fifth from the bottom of his class. Nine years later he was serving in Vietnam when his Navy dive-bomber was shot down over Hanoi.
McCain’s refusal to leave a North Vietnamese prison camp ahead of his fellow POWs—despite almost daily physical torture—made him a living symbol of the fighting man’s moral code.
The power of that story helped McCain fashion a role in American politics as the ultimate straight shooter—the man who would always tell the truth, and who wasn’t afraid to buck his own party for the good of the country.
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