Arizona senator, former Republican presidential candidate and Vietnam prisoner of war John McCain died on Saturday, over a year after his diagnosis of a malignant brain tumor known as glioblastoma.
McCain died at 4:28 p.m. local time, according to a statement from his office. He was 81.
In his farewell statement, McCain reflected on his career of service, from his time serving in the Vietnam war to his many years as a senator of Arizona.
“I’ve tried to serve our country honorably,” McCain said. “I’ve made mistakes, but I hope my love for America will be weighed favorably against them.”
McCain said he often considered himself to be the luckiest person on Earth and was very thankful for the life he led.
“I’ve had experiences, adventures, friendships enough for ten satisfying lives and I am so thankful,” McCain said. “Like most people, I have regrets but I would not trade a day of my life in good or bad times for the best day of anybody else’s.”
McCain also used his statement to comment on the current state of politics in America, saying in part that Americans have always had much more in common than in disagreement.
“We are 325 million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates,” McCain said. “But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country, we’ll get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do.”
McCain ended the statement by reflecting on his concession to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign and his feelings that night.
“Ten years ago, I had the privilege to concede defeat in the election for president. I want to end my farewell to you with heartfelt faith in Americans that I felt so powerfully that evening. I feel it powerfully still,” McCain said. “Do not despair of our present difficulties; we 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. Farewell fellow Americans. God bless you and god bless America.”
Max Turgeon, University of Connecticut College Republicans vice president, said the club was saddened to hear of his passing.
“Senator McCain is a true American hero whose service to this country will probably never be rivaled,” Turgeon said. “Whether it was protecting our country in the Navy or standing up for his beliefs in the Senate, Senator McCain always did what he believed was best for all Americans. We send our thoughts and prayers to his family at this difficult time.”
Gabriella DeBenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.