John McCain: The Milestones From Six Decades Of Service To The United States

A look back at 60 years of John McCain's service
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Senator John McCain died Saturday at the age of 81-years-old from brain cancer. He leaves behind over six decades of service to his country and a legacy of bringing honor and dignity into the sometimes brutal world of politics. As Americans mourn the loss of the six-term Arizona Senator, they also reflect on his accomplishments.

In 1954, John McCain entered the Naval Academy and graduated as a naval aviator in 1960. In 1967, his plane was shot down over Hanoi while he was serving in the Vietnam War. He was held as a prisoner of war for over five years, two of which he spent in solitary confinement. He was tortured, beaten, and forced to sign a false confession. In March of 1973, he was finally released and spent months recovering from his injuries.

After retiring from the Navy in 1981, he ran to represent Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives and won, taking office for his first of two terms in 1982. Afterward, he was elected to replace the seat vacated by Barry Goldwater in the Senate. He acted as Senator for Arizona from 1987 until his death in 2018.

Senator McCain ran for president in 2000, seeking the nomination from the Republican party. As Wavy reported, his candidacy was overshadowed by George W. Bush, who ultimately received the party nomination and went on to win the election against Democrat candidate Al Gore. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, McCain supported the military encounters in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq.

In 2008, McCain made his second bid for the presidency. This time he was able to secure the nomination of the Republican party. He chose Alaskan governor Sarah Palin for his running mate against Barack Obama and Senator Joe Biden. He lost both the popular vote and the Electoral College, 46 percent to 53 percent, and 174 to 365 respectively.

McCain’s final accomplishment in the Senate was becoming chairman of the Armed Services Committee, a position he had always wanted to hold. In some ways, it was coming full circle from the start of his service to his country, with involvement in the armed forces. He was also a member of the “Gang of Eight,” a bi-partisan group that worked to reach a compromise in proposed immigration reform.

He authored six books, including The Restless Wave, released in 2018, leaving behind words of inspiration and integrity that will be a lasting legacy to the man who was one of America’s most respected politicians.