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tv   Remembering John Mccain  MSNBC  September 1, 2018 7:00am-8:01am PDT

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to be remembered. what do we want to think about as we think about all the people that we maybe have competed against or who we've lost to or even won against. i think when i look at this and i look at these faces, it reminds me that even as we go back to tuesday and people go back to partsonness and arguing over judge kavanaugh, we're all americans and all fighting for the good of this nation. bipartis bipartisan. is bipartisan it's not that one of us had to do something with. this something that had to be decontaminate instead politics and lightened up a bit. i think the country just didn't have the same visceral negativity it had right before
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that assassination. i think we're seeing a bit of that now. there's something going to be different tomorrow than today. we've been through the turns of events before. we'll be right back at the beginning of the hour for beginning of this service. john mccapable designed and crypted most of it. who he wanted to say good-bye to him. scripted. scripted
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you know, i've been seeing interesting personalities. there's hillary clinton reading something to former president bill clinton together. always interesting to see couples together in these moments. natural moments. and i just saw chuck robin. linda johnson president johnson's daughter there along the end of the aisle. for this, of course, lindsey graham looking at pat. his wife marcell. it's just astounding. there's jared kushner and his wife ivanka. they're there for the president who is not here. i think it's john mccain's day, not the president's. i think that's the way he wanted it. trying to keep it that way.
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this is an amazing moment.
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whoever has faith in me shall have life even though he die. and everyone who has life and has committed himself to me in faith shall not die forever.
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as for me, i know that my redeemer lives. and at the last, he will stand upon the earth after my awaking, he will raise me up. and in my body, i shall see god. i myself shall see and behold him who is my friend and not a stranger. for none of us has life in himself. and none becomes his own master when he dies. for if we have life, we are alive in the lord. and if we die, we die in the
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lord. so then whether we live or die, we are the lord's possession. happy from now on are those who die in the lord. so it is says the spirit for they rest from their labors.
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ please be seated.
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good morning, my name is randy. i'm dean of washington national cathedral. on behalf of mary ann, the bishop of the diocese of washington and all of us who serve our lord at this cathedral, welcome. welcome to this house of prayer for all people. it is an honor to host this service for senator mccain. to senator mccain's wife, cindy, and his mother, roberta, and the entire mccain family, our hearts are with you and with all those across our country and around the world who grieve the loss of this great american patriot and statesman. today we give john sidney mccain the third back to the god of
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love who gave him to us. while we mourn his death, our faith tells us that beyond this life, there is indeed more life. and god never lets us go. as the old prayer says, we gather to give thanks for all the goodness and courage that have passed for john mccain's lives and lives of others. and have left the world. kindly generousty. for sadness met without surrender and weakness endured without defeat. may the lord bless him and keep him this day and always.
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thank you. the world is a fine place and worth fighting for and i hate
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very much to leave it. for whom the bell tolls lies wounded and waiting for last fight. these are among his final thoughts. my father had every reason to think the world was an awful place. my father had every reason to think the world was not worth fighting for. my father had every reason to think the world was worth leaving. he did not think any of those things. like the hero of his favorite book, he took the opposite view. i am here before you today saying the words i have never wanted to say. my father is gone. john sidney mccain the third was many things. he was a sailor.
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he was an aviator, he was a husband, he was a warrior, he was a prisoner, he was a hero, he was a congressman, he was a senator. he was a nominee for the president of the united states. these are all the titles and the rolls of a life that has been well lived. they are not the growthest of h greatest of his titles nor the most important of his rolls. he was a great man. we garther here to mourn the passing of greatness. the real thing. he gave so willingly. nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served. he was a great fire who burned bright. in a past few days my family and i have heard from so many of those americans who stood in the warmth and light of his fire.
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and founded it illuminated what is best about them. we are grateful to them because they are grateful to him. a few have resented that fire, for the light it cast upon them. for the truth it revealed about their character. my father never cared what they thought and even that small number still have the opportunity as long as they draw breath to live up to the example of john mccain. my father was a great man. he was a great warrior. he was a great american. i admired him for all of these things, but i love him because he was a great father. my father knew what it was like to grow up in the shadow of greatness. he did just as his father had done before him. he was the son of a great admiral who was also the son of a great admiral. when it came time for the third john sidney mccain to become a man, he had no choice, but in
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his own eyes to walk in those exact same paths. he had to become a sailor. he had to go to war. he had to have his shot at becoming a great admiral as they also had done. the pass of his father and grandfather led my father directly to the harrowing hell of the hilton. this is the public legend that is john mccain. this is where all the biographies, campaign literature and public remembrances say he showed character, patriotism, faith and endurance in the worst of possible circumstances. this is where we learned who john mccain truly was. all of that is very true except for the last part. today i want to share with you where i found out who john mccain truly was. it wasn't in the hanoi hilton. wasn't in the cockpit of a fast and legal fighter jet.
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it wasn't on the high seas or the campaign trail. john mccain was in all those places, but the best of him was somewhere else. the best of him, the greatest of his titles and most important of his roles was as a father. imagine the warrior the night of the skies gently carrying his little girl to bed. imagine the dashing aviator that took his aircraft hurdling off pitching decks in the south china seas kissing the hurt when i fell and skinned my knee. imagine the distinguished statesman who counselled presidents and the powerful singing with his little girl in oak creek during a rainstorm to singing in the rain. imagine the senator fears conscious of the nation's best self taking his 14-year-old daughter out of school because he believed that i would learn more about america at the town halls he held across the country.
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imagine the elderly veteran of war in government whose was dom and courage were sought by the most distinguished men of our time with his eyes shining with happiness as he gave blessing for his grown daughter's marriage. you all have to imagine that. i don't have to because i lived it all. i know who he was. i know what defined him. i got to see it every single day of my blessed life. john mccain was not defined by prison, by the navy, by the senate, by the republican party or by any single one of the deeds in his absolutely extraordinary life. john mccain was defined by love. several of you out there in the pews who cross swords with him or found yourself on the receiving end of famous temper or were at a cross purposes to him on nearly everything right at this moment doing you're best to stay stone faced.
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don't you know if john mccain were in your shoes here today he would be using some salty word he used in the navy while my mother jabbed him in embarrassment. he would keep grinning. she was the only one who could do that. on their first date when he still did not know what sort of woman she was, he recited a robert service poem to her called the cremation of sam mcgee about an alaskan prospector who welcomes his creation as the only way to get warm in the icy north. there are strange things done in the midnight son by the men who want gold. he had learned it in hanoi. a prisoner in the next cell had wrapped it out in code over and over again in the long years of capt captivity. my father figured if she would sit through that, she just might
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sit through a lifetime with him as well. and she did. john mccain was defined by love. this love of my father for my mother was the most fierce and lasting of them all, mom. let me tell you what love meant to john mccain and me. his love was the love of a father. he was endlessly present for us and though we did not always understand it, he was always teaching. he didn't expect us to be like him. his ambitions for us urn warned from any worldly achievement was to be better with him. armed by his wisdom and informed by his experiences long before we were even able to assemble our own. as a girl i did not fully appreciate what i appreciate now. how he suffered and how he bore it with a stoic silence that was
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once the mark of an american man. i came to appreciate it first when he demanded it of me. i was a small girl thrown from a horse and crying from a busted collarbone. my dad picked me up, took me to the doctor and got me all fixed up and immediately took me back home and made me get back on the very same horse. i was furious at him as a child, but how i love him for it now. my father knew pain and suffering with an intimacy and immediacy most of us are blessed never to have endured. he was shot down, crippled, beaten, starved, he was tortured and humiliated. that pain never left him. the cruelty of his communist captors made sure he would never raise his arms above his head for the rest of his life. yet he survived, yet he endured, yet he triumphed.
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and there was this man who had been through all that with a little girl who simply didn't want to get back on her horse. he could have sat me down and told me all that and made me feel small because my complaint and fear was nothing next to his pain and memory. instead, he made me feel loved. maegan, he said, his quiet voice that spoke with authority and meant you had best obey, get back on the horse. i did and because i was a little girl, i resented it. now that i am a woman, i look back across that time and see the expression on his face when i climbed back up and road again and i see the pride and love in his eyes as he said, nothing is going to break you. the rest of my life, whenever i fall down, i get back up. whenever i am hurt, i drive on. whenever i am low, i rise.
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that is not because i am uniqueunique ly virtuous or strong or resilient. it is simply because my father, john mccain, was. when my father got sick, when i asked him what he wanted me to do with this eulogy, he said, show them how tough you are. that is what love meant to john mccain. love for my father also meant caring for the nation entrusted to him. my father the true son of his father and grandfather was born into an enduring sense of the hard one character of american greatness and convinced of the need to defend it with vfor faith. he was born an outpost of power. understand america as a sacred
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trust. understood public's demand's responsibilities even before it defends its rights. he knew navigating the line between good and evil was often difficult, but always symbol. he grasped in a meaning stretching back centuries. just as americans looked upon a world of grand experiment and freedom in self government. so their descendents have a responsibility to defend old world from its worst self. the america of john mccain is the america of the revolution. fighters with no stomach for the summer soldier and sunshine patriot making the world anew with the bells of liberty. the america of john mccain is the america of abraham lincoln. fulfilling the proposition of the decoration of independence that all men are created equal and suffering greatly to see it through.
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the america is the boys that rushed to the war knowing in them is the life of the republic and particularly those by their daring as ronald reagan said, gave up their chance as abeing husbands and grandfathers. and gave up changes to be revering old men. the america of john mccain is the america of vietnam. fighting the fight even in the most forlorn cause and grim circumstances and even in the most distant and hostile corner of the world. standing in defeat for the life and liberty of other people in other lands. the america of john mccain is generous and welcoming and bold. she sfl resouris resourceful an confident. she speaks quietly because she is strong. america does not boast because she has no need to. the america of john mccain has
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no need to be great again because america was always great. that fervent faith. that proven devotion. that abiding love. that is what drove my father from the fiery skies above the red river delta to the brink of the presidency itself. love defined my father. as a young man, he wondered if he would measure up to his distinguished lineage. i miss him so badly. i want to tell him he did. i take small comfort in this. somewhere in the great beyond where two warriors go, there are two admirals meeting their much loved son. they're telling him he's the
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greatest among them. dad, i love you. i always have. all that i am, all that i hope, all that i dream is grounded in what you taught me. you loved me and you showed med what love must be. an ancient greek historian wrote the great men is woven in the stuff of others live lives. dad your greatness is woven into my life. it's woven into my mother's life. it's woven into my sister's life and woven into my brother's lives. it's woven into the life and lirkt of t liberty of the country you sacrificed so much to defend. i know you're not perfect. we live in an era where we knock down old american heros for their imperfections. you were an exception and gave us an ideal to strive for.
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look, i know you can see this gathering here in this cathedral. the nation is here to remember you. like so many other heros, you leave us draped in the flag you love. you defended it. you sacrificed it. you have always honored it. it is good to remember that we are americans. we don't put our heros on pedestals just to remember them. we raise them up because we want to emulate their virtues. this is how we honor them and this is how we will honor you. my father is gone. my father is gone. and my sorrow is immense. i know his life and i know it was great because it was good. and as much as i hate to see him go, i do know how it ended.
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i know that on the afternoon of august 25, in front of oak creek in cornville arizona, surrounded by the family he loved so much, an old man shook off the scars of battle one last time and arose a new man to pilot one last flight up and up and up busting clouds left and right, straight on through to the kingdom of heaven and he slipped the earthly bonds, put out his hand and touched the face of god. i love you dad.
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>> i laid me down with the will. be this the verse you grave for me. here he lieings where he long to be. home is the sailor, home from the see. and the hunter home from the hill.
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sweet land of liberty. let freedom ring. >> john, it was something to be so close to the mccain family
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there with megan's words and you always wonder about public figures and how they are at home and who they are in life. that was something. his view of the current state of the nation to which her father gave his life. and i think some of the words he did not want to speak, she did for him about the current state of affairs. i thought she was speaking with the passion that i think he even at the end requests about what's going on in our country. >> unquestionably. john mccain in the stately
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moment we think of him rightly as the embodiment of certain kind of american order, but remember he won the hearts of the country not least because he was a maverick and he had the courage to address the elephant in the room. he had the courage to speak truth to power. to speak his mind. and clearly that is a genetic capacity that he passed to his daughter. you know, so many public figures shared their country at the expense of their family. seemed as a father he was attentive and loving and a real dad. excite all the pressures of politics. that's nice to know. i don't think that's the norm. i don't know if that's the norm. >> i agree. randolph churchill. once said, it's very difficult to grow in the shade of a mighty
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oak. and i think we owe a special measure of gratitude to those who do so well with their families. we're going to hear from one of his long time allies. all the other honored guests that are here, ladies and gentlemen, becoming john mccain's friend is one of the great blessings of my life. being asked to pay tribute to him today is one of the great honor honors i thank cindy and the entire mccain family. i also want to thank them. including the seven wonderful children for the love and support you gave john throughout his life and service. none more than than in the last
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year of his life and you cindy have been absolutely thank you saintly and we his friends cannot thank you enough. you all heard them a lot as well. for him, we know they were not just words in a speech. they were the creed that he lived by. and the greater cause to which he deevovoted his life was amer. not so much the country defined by the borders, but the america of our founding values. human rights. the equal judge under law.
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and john's life he nobly served and advanced these american values. and remarkably his death seems to have reminded the american people that these values are what makes us a great nation. not the triable partisanship and personal attack politics that have recently characterized our life. this week's celebration of the life and values and patriotism of this hero, i think you've taken our country above all that. in a way, it's the last great that john mccain gave america. and i want to suggest today that we can give a last great gift to him, which is to nurture these values and take them forward
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into the years ahead to make america the better country john always knew it could be. i pray that we will and i ask you to do so as well. let me pay tribute to this great man by describing and sharing stories from friendship that began in the early 1990s as part of a bipartisan group pushing the government to stop the aggression a aggressi aggression a aggression in bosnia. really our friendship deepened with our third amigo. lindsey graham. when you traveled with john, even with lindsey along, the purpose was not to have fun.
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in fact sometime it seemed the purpose was just to survive the schedule. he had organized. john had a restless energy every day, including the days we traveled to get the most out of every day he possibly could and he did. and so did we who were privileged to know him. john travelled to learn so he could be a better senator. he travelled to represent america as best he could wherever we went and he did and he traveled to support the men and women of our armed services whether in war or at peace wherever they were and they in turn welcomed him in not just respect, but awe as the hero john mccain was, is, and always will be. in shared experiences and long
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conversations on these trips, john and i got to know and trust each other as friends in a way that doesn't happen because it can't happen much anymore in the f washington life of senators. our friendship taught me many things, including i must add, some jokes that i otherwise never would have known. john loved to laugh. and make others laugh. when he found a joke that people liked, he told it over and over and over again. one of my favorites was about the two inmates going through the food line for dinner at the state penitentiary. one says to the other, the food is terrible here. and the other says, it was a lot better when i was governor.
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yes. i heard that one often. and i laughed every time because john laughed so hard every time he told it. the range of john's mind, interest and experience was impressive and often surprising. you couldn't characterize this man. he loved to read history and fiction and talk about it, argue about it. he had a pervasive curiosity about just everything in life. he loved the outdoors. in all of god's creatures, large and small who lived there. most people would be surprised by how much pleasure this combative senator got from watching the humming birds at the mccain family home outside sedona arizona, but of course john's great strength was his
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character. he was honest, fair, and civilized in all the times we were together, i never heard him say a by gigoted word toward anyone. saw this most clearly during the 2000 campaign when the woman made an offensive statement against then senator barack obama. to me what was most impressive about john's reaction was that it was peer reflex. it was who john was. he didn't need a consult anyone. he immediately defended his opponent's name and honor and thereby elevated for that moment our politics and made us a more perfect union. personally, i can tell you that john was a real friend and accommodating to him what were my unusual practices as a religiously observant jew. whether it was walking with me
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on a saturday to an important meeting or turning down a popular friday night dinner invitation at the munich security conference we went to every year because it was too far to walk, we would stay in the hotel and have what john learned to call our peaceful sabbath dinners. with john they weren't that peaceful. john naturally grumbled all the way of what i was putting him through. right now he's probably deriving some pleasure from the fact it turned out that his funeral was held on a saturday and i had to walk to get here. i'm sure if he were here now, he would tell me that's define justice.
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he ultimately turned these interfaith experiences into a truly hilarious comedy routine. it began with a solemn pronouncement by john that he was converting to judaism. then he explained much less solemnly, i do this not because of any particular liking for the religion, it's just that for so many years i've had to go along with all of joe's religious nonsense, i might as well convert and get the benefits. one of his favorite targets was the sabbath elevators in israeli hotels which are preprogrammed to stop at every floor. you know, john had many virtues, but patience was not one of them. therefore, a ride on those elevators was not the happiest times we spent together.
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i say this both to say and stories how full and genuine was john's acceptance of my religious practices, which were different from what he knew, but also to make a larger point, because i can tell you in everything we did together, around the world and here in washington and across america, he showed that same acceptance, respe respect, curiosity about everybody's religious observances and everything else about them that was different from himself and his own experiences. i said that patience was one virtue john didn't have. forgiveness was a great virtue he did have. and here's a story to make that clear. once on a trip to hanoi, as we
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were touring the hanoi hilton a group of college students recognized john and they began to chant wildly, mccain, mccain. they wanted to take his pictures and have him sign autographs. when it was over, i asked him why he got such a rock star reception in hanoi. and with classic directness, he said, well, first, because they've been taught that i was treated a lot better here than i really was. and, second, it's because of the normalization of relations between the u.s. and vietnam. that was a classic mccain understatement. along with president clinton and john kerry, john mccain was the leader in congress in bringing about the normalization of relations between the u.s. and vietnam. an extraordinary personal act of
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forgiveness when you consider what the vietnamese did to him during his 5 1/2 years as prisoner of war. after his injuries in vietnam, he could not pursue his ambitions in the navy. so, he turned to government service as his greater american cause. of course, i didn't know john in his youth, but i don't think that i heard he was born with the natural skills of a legislator, and yet he learned them and became a great one. he knew when to be immovable and when to negotiate and compromise to get something done. he regularly reached across party lines because he knew that was the only way to solve problems and seize opportunities for the people of our country and his state. as a result, his legislative record is extremely impressive.
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he also fought and lost some big battles. to stop climate change, to close the gun show loophole, to broadly reform our immigration laws. but that nerve seemed to get him down or diminish his ardor for the next battle. he loved aid just cause, even if it didn't ksucceed. overall, he won more than he lost and all of his wins were achieved with bipartisan support. in 2008, when john was the republican nominee for president, he had this far-out idea of asking a democrat to be his running made. can you believe that? let me explain it to you. as he did. when he first talked to me about it, i said, you know, john, i'm really honored, but i don't see how you can do it. even though i won my last
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election as an independent, i'm still a registered democrat. and john's response was direct and really ennobling. that's the point, joe, he said with a certain impatience. you're a democrat. i'm a republican. we could give our country the bipartisan leadership it needs for a change. when john returned to the senate after his surgery last summer and voted against the republican health care bill, some people accused him of being disloyal to his party and the. the. but that was not the case. if you listen to the speech he gave that day, you'll know it was not the case. that speech made clear that his vote was not really against that bill, but against the mindless partisanship that has taken control of both of our political parties and our government and produced totally one-sided
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responses to complicated national problems like health care. and, of course, he was right. in his remarks last july, john also spoke eloquently of our position in the world, of america's continuing responsibility for principal leadership in the world. it was as if he thought that might be one of his last better opportunities to move his colleagues and his country. it's a speech worth reading, but i just want to quote one sentence. what greater cause could we hope to serve than helping keep america the strong, inspiring, inspirational beacon of liberty and dignity and defender of the dignity of all human beings. that in short was the mccain american foreign policy. moral, engaged and strong.
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and, again, these words were not just rhetoric for john. he acted on them. he lived them. in our travels around the world, i can tell you he always reassured our allies and unsettled our enemies. standing for america's best values, attacking totalitarian governments, whether in moscow, tehran, pyongyang or anyone where else. if we were going to a country that was not fully free, john insisted that we meet with the local human rights activists as well as the government. i will never forget that day in myanmar during the military dictatorship there. we met three men who had just been released from political prison and showed terrible signs of physical and psych loblg cal apsychological abuse. and yet they told us that they would never have survived if
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they had not heard in jail that the great american senator, john mccain, had supported their cause, read their names on the u.s. senate floor and demanded their release. on another occasion, we visited a refugee camp for syrians who had been forced out of their country into turkey by the brutal aggression of assad, the iranians and the russians. we were the first members of congress to visit that camp, and there was some concern about the reception we would receive. earlier in the day, in fact, an official of the u.n. had been there and was booed and had shoes thrown at him. when we arrived, a large crowd of syrian refugees had formed and was, in fact, chanting. but rather than booing and throwing shoes, they were
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cheering, and cheering, and cheering and chanting words of welcome and thanks. and the two words they chanted most were john mccain. what is most remarkable about these two stories, and i could tell you many more, is how unremarkable they are. and that's because the name john mccain, based on the actions of the man john mccain had become a source of hope and inspiration for oppressed people throughout the world. as it was aid source of security for allied countries that share our values. one last story. one of john's favorite cities in the world was jerusalem. and one of his favorite things to do there was to stand on the balcony with lindsey and me of
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our hotel, looking out at the old city and discussing all the religious and political history that had happened there over the centurie centuries. so, when i first told john that i had decided not to run for the senate again in 2012, he was puzzled and, frankly, even a little bit angry. but then the next day he called me, and this is my best recollection of the conversation. he said, you know, i've been thinking, if you go out into the private sector, you're going to make some more money. and then you and hadassa can afford to buy a second home in jerusalem that has an extra room for me. with a balcony, where we can look out and talk about that city and its history. since then when i

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