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McCain set standard for military service

The upcoming July 4 is considered by many the most patriotic day on our nation’s holiday calendar.

It is a day to remember, among other things, the contributions and sacrifices of men and women who served our county in time of peril. Many of them died in the effort and others suffered unspeakable hardships in service to their country.

One such man was Navy Lieutenant Commander John S. McCain III during the Vietnam War.

McCain’s treatment as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam was brutal and unforgiving. His attack aircraft was shot down near Hanoi in October 1967, and he suffered broken arms and a leg when ejecting from the stricken craft.

On the ground, he was beaten and prodded with rifle butts and dragged to a prison dubbed the “Hanoi Hilton.”

For almost six years, McCain kept faith with America and his fellow captives by resisting North Vietnamese demands for expressions of regret for his role in the war. He was hoisted by his arms, tied behind his back, from rafters in the prison, a torture that would affect him for the rest of his life.

He continued his resistance and was universally admired by his fellow POWs for his steadfast resolve.

After release in 1973, McCain recovered and continued to serve his country as a senator from Arizona. He died in 2018.

James E. Wentz

McLean, Virginia

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