While I understand this is a fan page for the Cardinals, I feel that it is necessary to pay our respects to Arizona Senator John McCain, who lost his battle with brain cancer on August 25, 2018.
I have lived in Arizona my entire life, and in the days following Senator McCain’s death, I have come to realize that he has been my senator since the day I was born. He has also been an Arizona Senator for the entire time the Cardinals have called Arizona home. It is a little strange to think these last few days have been our first without Senator McCain serving our state.
It is common knowledge that Senator McCain was a POW during the Vietnam war. In October of 1967, while serving as a Navy aviator, he was captured by the North Vietnamese after his plane was shot down over Hanoi. It was reported that McCain had several broken bones and was held in solitary confinement for over a year. He was also subject to other forms of torture, which had the end goal of extracting information. McCain proved to be tough to break. When asked to give up the names of the men in his squadron, McCain instead listed Green Bay Packers offensive line.
In total, McCain ended up spending five and a half years as a prisoner. He could have been released nearly four years earlier, but he refused to leave until all those captured before him were also released. This is something that McCain’s friend, Larry Fitzgerald, believes is true heroism.
Fitzgerald, who spends his off-seasons travelling the globe, has visited Truc Bach Lake where McCain’s plane was shot down. While visiting Vietnam, Fitz toured the lake, the prison cell, and learned of the conditions and torture that McCain endured.
McCain and Fitzgerald’s friendship grew after this experience. Fitz has toured the Senate in Washington DC, with McCain, and has been a guest panelist at McCain’s global summit in Sedona, AZ. The friendship went both ways, as it wasn’t just Fitz stepping into McCain’s world. The senator had become a mainstay at Cardinals practices and games over the years.
Senator McCain’s passing has caused a wave of grief within the Cardinals organization, with Cardinals President, Michael Bidwell saying, “We are heart-broken by his passing but know that the character, courage and conviction that he demonstrated throughout his life will endure forever.”
Larry Fitzgerald also offered his condolences via Twitter, “Rest in peace to an American hero, statesman, servant of the people, and dear friend. Godspeed Senator McCain. My prayers for Cindy and the beautiful McCain family.”
Fitzgerald joined former Vice President Joe Biden, and other dignitaries speaking at Senator McCain’s Phoenix memorial service. McCain left his mark across other Arizona sports teams as well, as former Coyotes captain Shane Doan and former Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzalez served as pallbearers at the service.
I would like to thank Senator McCain for his service to our state, and to our nation. He has served with dignity, and has earned the respect of his peers on both sides of the aisle. Even if you didn’t always agree with McCain’s political dialogue, it would be difficult to question his courage or patriotism. My heart goes out to the McCain family in this very difficult time.