Leadership and Courage
for More than Forty Years
October 26, 2007 -- Forty years ago today, Arizona Senator and Presidential hopeful John McCain was shot down on a bombing mission over Hanoi. McCain had just released his bombs over the power plant when his A-4 was hit by a surface-to-air missile, ripping off one of the wings.
As the jet spiraled out of control, McCain was forced to eject over downtown Hanoi. He broke both arms and one leg when the ejection seat fired, leaving him completely defenseless. He was lucky enough to land in a lake in downtown Hanoi, and after sinking all the way to the bottom, was somehow able to inflate his life vest by pulling on the fitting with his teeth.
He was immediately surrounded by Vietnamese, who bayonetted him before transporting him to Hao Lo Prison, the infamous "Hanoi Hilton."
After an unsuccessful attempt to reset his right arm, without benefit of anesthesia, McCain was fitted with a plaster cast from the waist up, holding his arm up at an awkward angle. (If you watch when McCain lifts his arm, you can tell that something is not quite right, because it raises from a point below the shoulder, as a result of those injuries and the lack of proper medical care.)
Certain that McCain would not survive his injuries, prison officials placed him in the care of USAF Col. George (Bud) Day, a move which would allow them to say he died in American hands.
But McCain was determined not to die, and Medal of Honor recipient Bud Day was determined not to let him. Day nursed McCain back to health, at least as close as they could come, and as soon as McCain was able to walk on crutches, Day was removed from his cell.
McCain would spend the next 31 months in solitary confinement. That gives a man plenty of time with his own thoughts, to learn who he really is. And John McCain was, and is, a man of faith, integrity, and courage.
When his captors learned that the 31-year-old McCain was the son of a high-ranking Navy Admiral, he became eligible for "special treatment." He was routinely tortured, brutally.
The only time he was allowed out of his solitary cell was to attend a Christmas Eve service. After being ordered to participate, and despite the knowledge that it would result in a severe beating, McCain spoiled the service because he realized it would be used as propaganda, as "proof" of their humane treatment.
As a result of his father's rank, McCain was offered early release. Again, determined not to be a propaganda tool for the Communists, he refused to leave before the men who had been captured earlier than he was.
When he was shot down, McCain's mother and wife both believed he had died, because no one had seen a parachute. Roberta McCain, known as "Johnny's mother," says learning that her son was a prisoner of war was "the best news she'd ever received."
A stirring tribute to McCain by fellow POWs, including Medal of Honor recipient Bud Day.
Back to top of Leadership for more than 40 years
The 2008 Presidential Election
Senator Joe Lieberman urges non-partisanship and explains why this election is so critical, and why we must vote as Americans, not Republicans, Democrats, or Independents.
The Middle East Imperative.
Of the major Presidential candidates, only John McCain has military experience. Will that be important in this election?
Senator John McCain speaks with the voice of experience.
Leadership for more than 40 years
War is Personal for McCain and Me
John McCain's True Voice
Who is Barack Obama?
Barack Obama's Mother
Is Barack Wright?
Do you feel Rev. Wright's fiery sermons, with their controversial subject matter, have a place in the election debate? Tell us what you think.
The Real Candidate behind Obama's Superficial Appeal
Hamas Likes Obama.
We've not had a chance to check its claims for authenticity, but we found this interesting commentary on Obama's extended family, including a number of photos. We advise you to conduct your own check for authenticity of these assertions.
Senator Hillary Clinton is a polarizing candidate. Most people either love her or hate her. Very few are ambivalent about her.
Former Clinton Advisor Dick Morris on Hillary's Legacy of Lies.
Hillary's Deception is Nothing New. She was fired in 1974 for being an "unethical, dishonest lawyer."
To find out which candidate's views are closest to your own, take the survey at the Minnesota Public Radio site. You can also view the cumulative data and the candidates' positions on the major issues by clicking on the tabs. The issues covered include: the war in Iraq, Iran and nuclear power, immigration reform, tax cuts, collapse of the mortgage industry, education, social security, and health care, among others.
Presidential Primary Calendar
Links to the candidates' campaign sites.
Regardless of which candidate you support, be sure to VOTE!
Military Absentee Voting
Restrictions on political activities by military members
Informed voters can learn what's really happening on the ground in Iraq
Bad Voodoo's War
Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it
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