During the Vietnam War, John McCain’s aircraft was shot down. McCain ejected but the process broke both of his arms and a leg. He was taken prisoner, and one of his captors broke another bone in his shoulder.
Initially, he was granted no medical treatment, until the North Vietnamese learned that his father was a ranking U.S. military officer. They apparently thought that they had a bargaining chip.
McCain was offered release. He refused, demanding that all prisoners who had been held longer than he had been be released first.
McCain was tortured, sometimes severely. He was placed in solitary confinement for two years.
McCain was a prisoner of war for five years.
Senator John McCain’s wife visited an orphanage in Bangladesh and saw a girl who desperately needed surgery. She and Senator McCain adopted the girl and brought her to the United States for surgery and, of course, gave her a home. During the 2000 presidential campaign in South Carolina, George W. Bush’s political manipulator, Karl Rove, engineered a robo call asking voters: “If you knew McCain had an illegitimate child with a Black woman, would that affect how you felt about him?”
During the run-up to the 2016 presidential campaign, candidate Donald Trump, who obtained five deferments to avoid military service in Vietnam, declared that John McCain was “not a war hero,” and his prisoner of war experience was “irrelevant.”
I salute John McCain.
Jack Stevenson is retired, served two years in Vietnam as an infantry officer, retired from military service, and worked three years as a U.S. Civil Service employee. He also worked in Egypt as an employee of the former Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Currently, he reads history, follows issues important to Americans, and writes commentary for community newspapers.