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The Faith of our Fathers

The Faith of our Fathers

By David G. Duggan
Special to Virtueonline.org
August 28, 2018

Though much has been and will be said and written about John McCain, there are two features of his life and example which I believe have been under-reported. The first is his faith, and the second was his athletic ability.

McCain attended Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA, a prep school for children of the Washington Establishment, the first school he attended for more than one year as his Navy parents moved constantly. There he played tennis, wrestled at 127 (he had the school record for fastest pin) and played football (a bit light, but he could probably play wide-out or cornerback).

More significantly, he signed on to the school's honor code (I will not lie, cheat or steal), and to the daily chapel required of all students. Years later, while at the Hanoi Hilton, he was able to recite from memory the Episcopal liturgy, which gave his fellow POWs perhaps as much encouragement during their years of captivity as his refusal to jump the line of POWs released, offered to him alone because his father was CINCPAC commander. McCain's 2008 speech to an assembly of Episcopal High School students can be found at:
John McCain: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=77113

I mentioned McCain's athletic ability, and though he did not pursue intercollegiate athletics at the Naval Academy, he was on the boxing team (not an NCAA-sanctioned sport), as well as a member of the Century club for receiving 100 demerits per year. He was 5th from the bottom of his class of nearly 900, but qualified for flight school. People who say that hitting a curve ball is the hardest feat in athletics have never landed a plane on a carrier. You are coming in at a speed at which the aircraft is not stable, rotating on three axes, trying to hit a postage-stamp sized surface also rotating on three axes in the middle of an ocean.

McCain had a few crashes and brushes with death, including the USS Forrestal disaster of July 1967 but nevertheless took off in his A-4 Skyhawk on Oct. 26, 1967, at the age of 36, as part of Operation Rolling Thunder. Who says that while there are old pilots and bold pilots, there are no old, bold pilots? Known for their ability to fly "low and slow," McCain's A-4 was hit in the wing by a Soviet surface to air missile, but nevertheless he ejected while his plane was upside down. Talk about kinetic sense (the ability to orient yourself when upended).

The arm and shoulder injuries McCain suffered in the crash prevented him from playing tennis after captivity, but he followed the sport, along with NFL football. Larry Fitzgerald, an Arizona Cardinal constituent, and McCain were good friends, and Fitzgerald was a panelist at one of McCain's global summits held at his Sedona ranch. Though known as a maverick for his political stances against the prevailing political orthodoxy, later in life John McCain worshiped at North Phoenix Baptist Church because that sect had not departed from orthodoxy in faith and morals.

Contrast that with the faith which had sustained him and others through five years of brutal torture at the Hanoi Hilton. After a service this Thursday at North Phoenix Baptist, his body will be air-lifted to the Capital, where it will lie in state in the Capitol's rotunda on Friday.
To be buried at the Naval Academy's cemetery after a service Saturday at Washington's National Cathedral, McCain joins that great company of angels with not only the gossamer wings of those spiritual beings, but the wings of gold of a Navy aviator.

John McCain RIP.


Three Lessons We Can Learn from the Brave Life (and Quiet Faith) of Sen. John McCain
You would be hard pressed not to find something truly admirable in this man who served so faithfully

August 28, 2018

It was only Friday that the family of Senator John McCain announced that he was ceasing treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer. Today, this American hero is dead at the age of 81.

Regardless of your views of his politics, you would be hard pressed not to find something truly admirable in this man who served faithfully, and with conviction, in American politics for more than 40 years. Today's CNN article said it this way:

McCain, who has died at the age of 81, was a naval bomber pilot, prisoner of war, conservative maverick, giant of the Senate, twice-defeated presidential candidate and an abrasive American hero with a twinkle in his eye.

Since so many can talk about his courage and his views, I thought I'd take a different approach.

McCain did not talk a lot about his faith, but he was a believer. He held to his convictions and his understanding of the humanity of all in good times and bad. And, he sought to live his life with passion and urgency as he fought for the good of others.

You can read the full story here: https://www.christianitytoday.com/
Here is another link worth your consideration: https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/30/politics/mccain-faith-service/index.html

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