UNF lowers flags in honor of the death of Senator John McCain

Steven Thompson

On Aug. 27, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation to fly the United States flag at half-staff in honor of the death of Republican Senator John McCain.

Students walk by UNF’s flags held at half-staff. Photo by Sam Chaney.

McCain lost his battle with brain cancer on Saturday, Aug. 25, just 13 months after he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. He was 81 years old.

“I’m deeply saddened about his passing,” UNF student and Navy spouse Karen Johnson said. “John McCain was a true patriot, which is something always upheld in my family.”

McCain entered politics in 1982 when he was elected to the House of Representatives. He became a senator in 1986 and was hailed as the embodiment of conservatism.

He sought the Republican nomination for U.S. president twice. In 2000, McCain lost the Republican nomination to George W. Bush. In 2008, he won the Republican nomination but lost to Former President Barack Obama.

Prior to McCain’s rise to the position of U.S. Senator, where he served the people of Arizona for more than 30 years, he was a decorated Naval officer and former Vietnam prisoner of war.

After McCain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958, he was assigned to the now defunct, NAS Cecil Field on Jacksonville’s Westside.

In the fall of 1967, McCain’s Skyhawk dive bomber was shot down in Vietnam.McCain was held captive by the Vietnamese in a North Vietnam prisoner of war camp where he was tortured for more than five years. He was released in 1973 after the Paris Peace Accords.

“He was a role model as a P.O.W, as a citizen, and in death, as he showed how to do it all with dignity,” Director Bob Buehn of UNF Military Veterans Resource Center said.

McCain returned to NAS Jacksonville after his 1973 release, where he underwent three surgical operations. He spent three months at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Jacksonville.

McCain will be honored across the nation beginning on Aug. 29, when his body will lie in state in the Arizona state capitol.

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