The US has lost a great American, and we have lost a humanitarian.
The death of Senator John McCain, aged 81 to brain cancer is a loss for us all.
No matter what your political persuasion, Republican or Democrat, you have to admire the man for his bravery, his heroism and above all his patriotism- his love for his country and his fellow countrymen.
As a non-American, I first came to hear of Senator McCain in 2008 during the United States Presidential race, when he, along with Sarah Palin (we can excuse him for some bad judgment) stood against a Senator from Chicago who would soon become a household name worldwide. The Republican’s lost that election and a star was born in the name of President Barack Obama.
Hearing the tributes flow for Senator McCain, the man was so much more than a Presidential candidate. He was a true American war hero.
A Naval Academy graduate who became a trained fighter pilot he was shot down over North Vietnam, breaking both arms and a leg.
He spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war in Hanoi, where he was denied medical treatment, tortured and kept largely in solitary confinement. He refused North Vietnamese offers of early release, insisting on waiting until fellow US prisoners of war who had been held longer were freed.
An outspoken critic of Trump, Senator McCain was seen as a maverick, a politician who wasn’t afraid to cross party lines when he thought justice demanded it.
In a tribute to Senator McCain over social Media, Maria Shriver summed it up well.
‘Senator McCain’s voice has always risen above the noise. It has always been clear, and it has always struck me as one that put country over party. He is a true public servant- a true American hero, and he deserves to be honoured as such by us all’.
In a time when both the United States and indeed Australia are grappling at unfolding events, are disillusioned and disappointed and are thirsty for leadership we should remember Senator John McCain and how his actions and his life embodied sacrifice and duty, and that is what true leaders are all about.