By Katrina de Schiffert
Millions of people around the world are commemorating the life of an American war hero and Maverick Republican – John McCain.
He died on Saturday August 25 at the age of 81.
McCain lived a full life as a longtime Arizona senator, two-time presidential candidate, and former veteran and prisoner of war.
His wife Cindy, and his children were by his side at his Cornville, Arizona ranch when he died.
On the day of his passing, Cindy McCain, tweeted, “My heart is broken. I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years. He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the place he loved the best.”
Although McCain did not often speak publicly about his faith, he attended North Phoenix Baptist church in Arizona. He shared his experience as a POW in an interview with the Trinity Broadcasting Network about being captured after his jet was shot down, and he managed to parachute to a lake near the City of Hanoi.
During the interview, McCain said, “If there is a recipe for success in an environment like that, you have to have three things; one, to love your country, that’s obvious, another is to love your fellow prisoners because they are always trying to turn us against each other, and third is a faith in God. There were many times when I didn’t ask to last one more day, or one more hour, but I asked to last for one more minute and that’s why I am here today.”
Another experiences he talks about is when a Vietnamese prison guard loosened the ropes that McCain was being tortured with, and later tightened them again at the end of his watch so the next on duty guard wouldn’t find out. And, on Christmas day, the prisoners were allowed to stand outside their cell for only a few moments. That same prison guard stood in front of McCain and drew a cross in the dirt between them. The guard then quickly wiped it away with his foot.
McCain describes this short moment as, “Just two Christians celebrating Christmas together.”
Click here to watch the full interview.
The quiet and resilient faith of a man who endured five and half years in a Vietnamese prison camp is not only miraculous, his life has inspired millions. McCain was the son and grandson of two army Admirals and he was granted early release from the tortures of the POW camp, but he refused.
In another 2008 interview with Rick Warren at Saddleback church in California, McCain was asked, “What does it mean for you to be a follower of Christ?” McCain answered, “It means I’m saved and forgiven. And we’re talking about the world. Our faith encompasses not just the United States of America, but the world.”
Amongst political corruption, unrest, violence, and poverty in our world, the straight-forwardness of McCain’s answer reminds us of how a steadfast, resilient faith will lead us through the trials and challenges that we will all face in our lives.
~With files from Susan Ponting