John McCain, His Way

 McCain, a Navy veteran and prisoner of war, speaking in his home state of Arizona ( source )

McCain, a Navy veteran and prisoner of war, speaking in his home state of Arizona (source)

 

Putting away the last of the clean dishes, Sinatra’s soothing voice hums in the background of my kitchen.

“And now, the end is near

And so I face the final curtain

My friend, I'll say it clear

I'll state my case, of which I'm certain...

A chill went up my spine on the eve of John McCain’s funeral. I thought of him instantly.

My professor had posed the question earlier that week: why did Senator McCain’s death mean something?

My classmates commented on the constant media coverage surrounding his passing, and some were surprised to see how much attention the death of one political figure was receiving.

I've lived a life that's full

I've traveled each and every highway

But more, much more than this

I did it my way...

My classmates’ comments echoed in my mind as Sinatra seemed to answer the question. Senator McCain, he did it his way.

He recognized that many of his fundamental beliefs followed those in line with the Republican Party, but never did he let political ideology encroach on his moral compass.

He was a friend to many people who believed in different political strategies than he did. He was unafraid to be outspoken and bold. His desire to be a public servant was not for the grandeur of the office, but for the possibility of a brighter tomorrow.

To think I did all that

And may I say - not in a shy way

Oh no, oh no, not me

I did it my way...

 
 

His passing reminds us how rare a spirit and demeanor like his really is in the world. John McCain’s death would affect our country exponentially no matter when it occurred, but I think it means more because it happened now, in 2018, when our country is politically divided and uncertain about the future. When leaders who work across both sides of the aisle are few and far in between.

Under the stained glass windows of our National Cathedral, Meghan McCain so eloquently stated, "We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness. The real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served."

 A tribute to McCain in  The Globe and Mail  ( source )

A tribute to McCain in The Globe and Mail (source)

Senator McCain’s passing means something. It would have always meant something, but I think it means more now. In a time where citizens have such exponential distrust in our political leaders, the death of a patriot unites us all: Republicans, Democrats, independents, politicians, students, teachers, minimum wage workers, CEOs, all of us. His death unites our country.

For what is a man, what has he got

If not himself, then he has naught

To say the things he truly feels

And not the words of one who kneels

The record shows I took the blows

And did it my way...

Senator McCain did it his way. I know I sure hope one day that people can say the same about me. I think we all do. To be remembered as a human being who put what is right over what is popular, to be a person who loved their career, family, and friends, to be a citizen who gave it all...what is more honorable than that?

Thank you, John McCain, for your service and for inspiring us all to do it our way.

Yes, it was my way…”