McCain gives a veteran's perspective on service

Posted by John Kanelis on

I caught up with an interview that helps me understand a little better about the value that military service brings to the building of a great nation.

The interview, broadcast on Nov. 17 with PBS NewsHour co-host Gwen Ifill, is with U.S. Sen. John McCain, whose credentials as a member of Congress, a veteran and a war hero are well-known. He's co-authored a book with longtime collaborator Mark Salter, "13 Soldiers." in which he tells the stories of brave young Americans who went to battle for their country.

The book chronicles the exploits of these Americans from The Revolution to the present. It does not include McCain's own distinguished service, which included air combat as a U.S. Navy aviator in Vietnam and then his capture in 1967 by North Vietnamese armed forces and his five-plus-year imprisonment and torture at the hands of his captors.

McCain said that some of the men profiled in the book served honorably, but some served "less than honorably." I'm curious to read about those who perhaps didn't behave as they should have on the battlefield.

He does mention one of his favorite stories, about Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who McCain said came from a "Brahmin family" in New England. He served during the Civil War, then went on to become chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. McCain told Ifill that Chief Justice Holmes would eat his lunch that he carried in a metal ammo box that he brought home from the war to remind himself of the sacrifices made by those who chose to serve.

One of the more endearing aspects of McCain's continued public service is that he doesn't dwell on his own past and his own sacrifice. He chooses to let others to that. I've done so many times over the years, citing his valor and bravery in the face of unspeakable pain.

I'm glad he's written this latest book and told the stories of others who sacrificed so much on behalf of their country.

I also am glad to have caught up with this interview.

 

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