John McCain’s legacy

To the editor:

John McCain, a conservative Republican senator, should easily be remembered as one of our country’s most transformative figures over his lifetime of almost 82 years. An argument can even be made that his stature might tower higher.

For example, though being tortured as a Vietnam war prisoner, when offered the chance to become free because of his rank, McCain did what few of us would have done: He chose to stay there unless all others could join him in returning home to all the comforts we take for granted. And he bore the physical scars and pain for that decision for the rest of his life; he was unable to raise his right hand high enough to comb his hair.

McCain stood above so many of us by never seeking to dignify or capitalize upon the comment that he was not an American hero because he got captured. And as a candidate for the presidency of the United States in 2008 against Barack Obama, McCain took the microphone away from someone who wanted perhaps to praise him but who wanted first to make the case that Obama was not a true American. John McCain spoke up and made it very clear to all Americans that Obama was definitely an American. To this day, there’s probably a voice still shouting that Obama really was not born in America.

Among many other reasons, McCain’s life must be remembered for his passion to do what was right for our country, not necessarily for our political party. He fought tenaciously for his personal views; often they were quite different from those on the other side. But he did not shy away from working to find common ground among us all.

Let’s do the same on occasion.

Booker C. Peek