The Independent Women's Forum mourns the loss of Arizona Senator John McCain, who died Saturday, and extends our condolences to the Senator's family.
The Arizona Senator and Navy hero was a paragon of old-fashioned values the likes of which we see too rarely nowadays.
Former Arizona senator Jon Kyl, who served with McCain from 1995 until 2013, celebrated his remarkable life by quite simply calling him "the conscience of the Senate."
If there was one word that described Senator McCain, the GOP's 2008 presidential standard bearer, who represented Arizona in the in the U.S. Senate since 1987 and before that in the House of Representatives, it was honor.
After then Lieutenant Commander McCain, Annapolis graduate and the son and grandson of Navy admirals, was shot down over Hanoi in 1967, with both arms and one leg broken, he was captured by the North Vietnamese and spent more than five years as a POW, much of this time in the "Hanoi Hilton," the notorious prison camp, where Senator McCain endured severe torture.
Seeing a propaganda opportunity, the North Vietnamese offered to release McCain after his father was promoted to commander of all Naval forces in North Vietnam in 1969. McCain refused the release unless all the men taken prisoner before him were also released in accord with the military Code of Conduct. McCain was not released until 1973.
We admired Senator McCain as an American hero, but we did not always agree with his votes.
We were especially disappointed when the Senator announced that he would vote against repeal of the Affordable Care Act last year, a fatal blow to the GOP promise of repeal. Senator McCain said he would do this because he believed both sides of the aisle should come together to negotiate on the legislation, conjuring up a genteel Senate that simply does not currently exist.
But we agree with Senator Lindsey Graham, perhaps Senator McCain's closest friend and ally in the Senate and coauthor of the defeated piece of legislation, who tweeted after McCain announced his opposition," My friendship with John McCain is not based on how he votes but respect for how he’s lived his life and the person he is."
Flags are being flown at half mast at the Washington Monument, a poignant honor the Vietnam vet would certainly appreciate.
Senator McCain will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, an honor reserved for only the most eminent. The funeral will be at Washington's National Cathedral with burial in Annapolis.
Senator John McCain, R.I.P.
Your honesty and integrity were an adornment to the world's greatest deliberative body, Senator McCain.