John McCain, Arizona Senator and former presidential candidate, passed away on Saturday, Aug. 25 after discontinuing treatment for glioblastoma.
Beyond Senator McCain’s political success, he is remembered as a war hero. The senator served in the Vietnam War as a Naval pilot and was held as a prisoner of war for more than five years.
Senator McCain was an influential political leader who left his mark not only on Arizona, but the nation. Local political leaders and public figures from around the country expressed their sympathy and paid tribute to the senator following his passing.
On the day of the senator’s passing, Governor Doug Ducey released a statement that read,
“John McCain is one American who will never be forgotten. He was a giant. An icon. An American hero. But here at home, we were most proud to call him a fellow Arizonan. Like so many of us, he was not born here, but his spirit, service and fierce independence shaped the state with which he became synonymous.”
Gov. Ducey went on to acknowledge Senator McCain’s heroism throughout the Vietnam War, and the persistent patriotism he displayed as a political leader.
Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio said in statement, “Sen. McCain dedicated his life in service to this country, the State of Arizona, and our citizens with honor and courage.”
Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL, took to Twitter to pay his respects to the senator.
At the Arizona Diamondbacks game on Saturday, the crowd gave a standing ovation after a tribute video to Senator McCain played on the jumbotron. The video played soon after the announcement of the senator’s passing.
The baseball team also tweeted the tribute video so those who were not in attendance could appreciate it.
Senator McCain’s legacy was addressed on a national scale, as well. Statements from Vice President Pence to American Airlines were released following the senator’s passing.
Vice President Mike Pence offered his condolences on behalf of him and his wife, Karen Pence.
Former President Barack Obama, who Senator McCain requested to speak at his funeral, also posted a statement sending his condolences to the McCain family. His statement also noted,
“John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest levels of politics. But we shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher- the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed.”
Former President George W. Bush, who the senator also requested to speak at his funeral, expressed that Senator McCain is a friend he will “deeply miss.”
He also stated, “Some lives are so vivid, it is difficult to imagine them ended. Some voices are so vibrant, it is hard to think of them stilled. John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order. He was a public servant in the finest traditions of our country.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan released a statement, and several tweets, acknowledging Senator McCain’s passing and his legacy.
House Speaker Ryan’s statement read,
“This is a sad day for the United States. Our country has lost a decorated war hero and statesman. John McCain was a giant of our time—not just for the things he achieved, but for who he was and what he fought for all his life. John put principle before politics. He put country before self. He was one of the most courageous men of the century. He will always be listed among freedom’s most gallant and faithful servants. Our hearts are with his wife, Cindy, his children, and his grandchildren. This Congress, this country mourn with them.”
Arizona Congresswoman Debbie Lesko sent her thoughts and prayers to the McCain family. In a statement Lesko said, “John McCain’s life was one of service and sacrifice. He will always be remembered for his love of country. My thoughts and prayers are with Senator McCain’s family and loved ones.”
Thomas J. Donohue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, addressed the senator as an American hero in his statement which said,
“Few Americans wills ever mean more to their country than Senator John McCain. He embodied the meaning of service and patriotism and was a true American hero. We will miss the dedication and commitment of John McCain, and it is our sincere hope that his legacy will serve as a reminder to future generations of Americans of a life fulfilled.”
Donohue also expressed his condolences to the McCain family.
In a statement released by American Airlines, chairman and CEO Doug Parker said, “Senator John McCain was a true American hero. He dedicated his life to serving his country and to just causes larger than himself. He fought for the American people and American values with unwavering courage, integrity and honor.”
Parker also addressed the senator’s commitment to the commercial aviation industry, especially following 9/11. He said American Airlines “would not be what it is today without the principled support of Senator McCain and our 130,000 team members are forever grateful.”