Across his long life, John McCain demonstrated greatness.
Perhaps the most remarkable moment of this greatness came when his North Vietnamese captors offered him an early release from his prisoner-of-war camp.
In 1967 Navy pilot McCain suffered severe injuries after his A-4 Skyhawk jet crashed behind enemy lines. These injuries were compounded by the serious torture he endured after capture.
McCain’s father, Admiral John McCain Jr., was commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam. In 1968, the North Vietnamese, in an apparent gesture of good will, offered to release Admiral McCain’s son.
The younger McCain could have accepted the offer of his communist captors. Few would have questioned the wounded airman coming home for medical care.
Instead of accepting the offer, young McCain flatly declined, leaving him imprisoned for five more years.
McCain later said that he could not do so under the military’s Code of Conduct.
"I just knew it wasn't the right thing to do," he would later say. "I knew that they wouldn't have offered it to me if I hadn't been the son of an admiral.”
"I just didn't think it was the honorable thing to do."... McCain told the commander of his prisoner camp, urging him to release prisoners in the order they were captured.
John McCain was a man of honor.
We saw it then and many times after.
In 2000 after a rough primary battle for the presidency with George W. Bush, McCain was furious about the campaign attacks made against him.
Still, he went on to embrace President Bush and support many of his policies, especially his war on global terror. Past grudges were put aside and both men worked for a strong America.
When McCain did get his party’s mantle to run for President in 2008, he again acted with honor after losing a difficult race.
It was in this time after his 2008 run that I first got to know Sen. McCain as a friend.
I respected the fact McCain ran for president as a Reagan conservative.
Critics on the right have long claimed McCain was no conservative. But his presidential bid and his long voting record showed otherwise. (The ACU says he has an 81 percent lifetime rating and 88 percent rating for last year.)
And after he lost the presidential race to Obama we again saw McCain’s mettle. Many failed presidential candidates have moved quietly into the background, exiting stage left. Not McCain.
From his perch in the Senate, we witnessed as he went into full war mode against President Obama and his policies. He became a ferocious critic of Obamacare as he championed strong defense policies.
Watch how a person acts in defeat and you will see their true character.
We got proof of McCain’s character in 1968. His true grit was evident many times after, even in his final battle with brain cancer.
John McCain never wavered as a man of honor.
Christopher Ruddy is CEO of Newsmax Media, Inc., one of the country's leading conservative news outlets. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.