This Veterans Day, I want to focus on one veteran that our country is fortunate to have — that’s John McCain. I know a lot of you guys are Obama supporters but John McCain has done a lot for this country too. A lot of men and women who are serving the military in Iraq and Afghanistan have sacrificed a lot. And in times like these when we know that there are people defending us, people out there fighting real wars, people out there trying to keep us secure, days like Veterans Day have a special meaning. That’s why I thought of McCain.
I was watching both the Obama victory speech and McCain’s speech to concede, they both fought the good fight. The elections were the most exciting I’ve ever seen. We had record breaking voter turn out. Obama said in his speech: “[John McCain] fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.” To which I completely agree. I mean do you know that his whole family served in the Navy? His grandfather, his father and then him. During the Vietnam War, he was a prisoner of war for nearly six years, and two of those years he was in solitary confinement. He was tortured in prison, the effects of which he suffers to this day — he cannot raise his arms above his head. He can’t be on the computer or use a cell phone with ease either. The small things most of us take for granted. While he was a POW, McCain was also offered to be released early but he refused. After all this, he still wanted to serve his country so he became a Senator, then ran for President. That’s more than anyone can ask from a man, any country for that matter. Selfless sacrifice, that is the true veteran spirit that I identify in the men and women serving this country.
We have nearly 5,000 dead in these recent wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 43,000 were wounded and injured. Close to 300,000 have filed a disability claim. These numbers are staggering folks. And their families are suffering. They have sacrificed a lot for this country. The meaning of that sacrifice few of us will ever know. So I want to take this moment to thank them, thank them for keeping me safe. I can enjoy the small luxuries that I have because of the men and women in the military. In closing, I want to leave you with a quote from John McCain, he said, “War is wretched beyond description, and only a fool or a fraud could sentimentalize its cruel reality.” There’s no glory in all this, that’s the hard fact. Holla me back with your stories.