One Mans Struggle To Stay Alive


. he prisoners. After being ordered to participate, McCain spoiled the service because he knew that it was propaganda. Returning to his cell, he received the beating he knew would come. Then on Christmas Eve 1970, McCain was finally let out of solitary and placed with fifty other American soldiers. McCain could not believe his good fortune; it was the perfect Christmas present (Timberg 102).McCain spent most of his remaining imprisonment there, though he was moved for a time to a small camp near the Chinese border.

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Orson Swindle remembered the John McCain of this period: He looked sort of funny when he talked to you. He just couldnt move his arms very much, nothing above his shoulders. Yet, the rascal was over there doing push-ups. They were a funny sort of push-ups, sort of tilted.And he would run in place. We occupied a lot of our time with exercises, and he was stiff-legged, bouncing as best he could running in place. And an absolute chain-smoker. Ive seen John have two or three cigarettes lighted at the same time.

(Norman 189) On March 14, 1973, John Sidney McCain was released from the POW camp.He had survived near death experiences and years of torture. Using the skills, he had learned, such as perseverance and quick thinking, and believing that the United States is the best country in the world, he was ready to put his dreams into action. The war and its aftermath ushered in troubled times for those who served in Vietnam. Unlike veterans of other wars, many came home to hostility, hatred, laughter, and at best indifferences. Yet, thousands of men came home maimed or emotionally shattered by the war.In the confusing aftermath of the conflict, these veterans found little meaning in their lives. John McCain belongs to yet another group, probably the largest, and the one that waited patiently for America to come to its senses.

Unlike most Vietnam veterans, McCain and other POWs were welcomed home as heroes. To many Americans they were. To others, they symbolized the national drama that effectively marked the end of the nations participation in the Vietnam War. As in Hanoi, McCain was also one of the best-known prisoners.McCain using his fame and fortune returning to the United States would use his POW experience as a stepping-stone to start his career in politics. John McCain started the long process of a promising political career by taking odd jobs in Washington.

For four years, McCain did the dirty work for Senators. Never the less, he gained the trust and admiration of the Senators, developing special relationships with some of the Senates most powerful figures. McCains popularity was wide and deep, and he was in demand for overseas escort duty of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees.In the spring of 1979, McCain became a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committee to represent the United States. While on one of his overseas trips, McCain met a beautiful woman by the name of Cindy. Cindy was the daughter of a wealthy Anheuser-Busch distributor, who was teaching disabled teenage children.

Before John met Cindy, he had been previously married for fifteen years. McCain loved his first wife dearly, but he lost five and a half years of his life to Vietnam. In an interview with Sam Donaldson McCain said, Im responsible for the breakup of my first marriage, and I will always bear that responsibility.And I am not proud of it (McCain Interview).

However, how understanding would voters be if McCain decided to run for a political office due to marital problems or would they not consider McCain as a hero, but rather, as just another Vietnam veteran? McCain considered all the objectives, but he had decided to start his life over again. I think he was determined that his future was not going to be controlled by those five and a half years and his POW experience, said former POW. He saw Cindy as the focus for his regeneration (Timberg 132). After his Armed Services and Foreign Relations committee job came to a halt, McCain went on with his political career quietly but effectively assisting Senator Jim McGovern for the next two years.After McCains two years with McGovern, he decided it was time for a change.

Carol and John moved to Arizona to gain residency so he could run for Congress in 1982. The year leading up to McCains congressional victory in Tucson, Arizona, he took an active role in the state Republican Party. He helped with fund raising, local campaigns, and dinner speeches to raise his profile.

McCain also led a grueling schedule of door-to-door campaigning six hours a day, six days a week.In the end the hard work paid off and on Election Day, McCain won. McCain had done it! Over the next sixteen years, John McCain would win two more elections, not as a congressional representative, but as a US Senator of Arizona. McCains political success does not end yet, on April 13, 1999, McCain announced that he was a candidate for President of the United States. Although McCains Presidential candidacy was short-lived, he continues to be a prominent figure on the American political landscape. Through all of John McCains experiences in life, he exemplifies a true American hero.

His resistances to complacency with the guards made all of the other POWs respect him.As the stories spread to the American people he went from a nobody at the bottom of his graduating class at the United States Naval Academy, to a United States Senator from Arizona, to a former candidate for the upcoming presidency. He has shown qualities like no other U.S.

presidential candidate before him. He has turned his experiences into positives and has proven his leadership skills through each. Perseverance, quick thinking, and the love of his country are just a few.John McCain is not only an American hero but also the most qualified man for America as the next U.S. President. Bibliography Works Consulted Alter, Jonathon. White Tornado.

Newsweek 15 Nov.1999; 43. ( Howes, Craig. Voices of the Vietnam POWs: Witnesses to Their Fight. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

McCain, John. Interview.20/20. ABC News.

8 Sept. 1999 20 990908 mccain trans.

html —. Faith of My Fathers.Online posting. 4 April 2000

htm —. From a speech What So Proudly We Hail. Online posting June 1999. 4 April 2000 of allegiance.htm Norman Geoffrey.

Bouncing Back: How a Heroic Band of POWs Survived Vietnam. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990. Rochester, Stuart I. And Frederick Kiley. Honor Bound: The History of American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia.Washington D.

C.: Historical Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1998. Timberg, Robert. John McCain An American Odyssey. New York: Touchstone, 1999.