WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member
of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement on the
passing of Chairman John McCain (R-AZ):
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend
and colleague, John McCain. John endured much, contributed much, and is
much loved by those who know him and those who know what he stands
“As a young naval aviator, he was shot down,
tortured, and mistreated – but his spirit was never broken. Through a
lifetime of service, he bore the scars of war, politics, and cancer, but never
gave in to despair. He was strengthened by trials and ordeals that would
have overcome lesser men. And I think some of his darkest, most difficult
experiences gave him an even greater love for our democracy and American
“John McCain’s devotion to duty and sheer
determination are inspiring. He took on challenges with a sense of
urgency and fearlessness.
“He lived intensely, could be impatient, and
short-tempered. Yet he was always willing to reach out to friend or foe
alike. From campaign finance reform to promoting reconciliation and
normalization between the United States and Vietnam, Senator McCain made it his
mission to serve others and was unyielding in pursuit of his objectives.
“America lost a true patriot and one of the
most unique, hard-charging legislators in modern American history. I have
lost a colleague I am proud to call my friend and Chairman. I will miss
his good-natured jabs at West Point, his fierce independence, and wise counsel.
“Even though we found ourselves on opposite
ends of many debates, I always admired Senator McCain for his courage, candor,
and commitment to serving the public, not just narrow interests.
“At a time when divisiveness is too often
deployed for short-term political gain, John valued patriotism over
partisanship. He understood the importance of working together – and that
by moving forward together we can achieve lasting progress.
“I had an opportunity to travel to Vietnam
with John a few years ago. We visited the spot where he was shot down
outside Hanoi. Senator McCain recounted how, after the missile sent his
plane into the waters of Truc Bach Lake, and with both his arms and leg badly
broken, he had to use his teeth to inflate his life vest to keep from
drowning. Ever resourceful, ever determined, John McCain personified
perseverance and toughness throughout his life.
“There is a saying that a truly great warrior
fights ‘not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what
is behind him.’ For John McCain that was his family, the people of
Arizona, and the United State of America. He will forever be a proud,
beaming father and grandfather. Thank you to his wife, Cindy, his mother,
Roberta, and the entire McCain clan for their generations of dedicated service,
for shaping John, sharing him with us, and keeping his spirit alive.
“John once said his lasting ambition in life
was to earn the approval of his father and grandfather – both highly-decorated,
accomplished Admirals and patriots – and surely his lifetime of distinguished
service would make any family proud.”