The Illinois General Assembly Recognizes the Life of U.S. Senator and American Hero John McCain


WHEREAS, U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona was born on August 29, 1936, and during the 81 years since that time, he has been a leader among his fellow Americans; and

WHEREAS, Senator McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone; his family was in the U.S. Navy; his father John S. “Jack” McCain Jr. was an honored naval officer who would eventually rise to the rank of Commander-in-Chief Pacific Command (CINCPAC); after growing up in a variety of locations throughout North America and the Pacific Ocean, he was admitted to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1954; and

WHEREAS, As a midshipman, Senator McCain turned his eyes towards the flying service; after his commissioning as a naval ensign, he trained at Naval Air Station Pensacola and at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi; as an aircraft carrier flier, he served during the Cuban missile crisis and, continuing his rise in the service, was assigned flight-instruction duties at Naval Air Station Meridian (Mississippi); and

WHEREAS, With the intensification of the Vietnam War, Senator McCain requested reassignment to combat duty and, in 1967, was assigned to fly A-4E Skyhawk attack jets based on the carrier U.S.S. Forrestal and then the U.S.S. Oriskany; the Forrestal and Oriskany were assigned to Gulf of Tonkin duties; and

WHEREAS, On October 26, 1967, while engaged in combat over Hanoi, Senator McCain’s Skyhawk was downed by Soviet/North Vietnamese anti-aircraft missile fire; severely injured upon his ejection from the doomed plane, he was immediately captured, beaten, and bayoneted by his captors, and confined as a prisoner of war; and

WHEREAS, In the “Hanoi Hilton” and other places of imprisonment, Senator McCain was subjected to torture and prolonged solitary confinement; after learning that their captive was the son of a high-ranking U.S. admiral, in June of 1968 the North Vietnamese told McCain that he was free to return to the United States; suspecting that this was a propaganda ploy intended to show American elitism in action, and in obedience to the United States Code of Conduct to be followed by all members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are prisoners of war, McCain stated to his captors that he would not leave captivity prior to his fellow prisoners; upon making this statement, he was returned to solitary confinement, which he would endure for a total of approximately two years; and

WHEREAS, Although Vietnam War peace negotiations began in 1969, a cease-fire agreement proved elusive, partly because of prolonged disputes concerning the status of prisoners of war; during the four-year period from 1969 into 1973, Americans carried the prisoners of the Vietnamese War in their prayers and thoughts; the Paris Peace Accords were finally signed in January of 1973, and Senator McCain was released on March 14, 1973, after five and a half years of captivity, returning to active U.S. Navy service; and

WHEREAS, After achieving promotion to the rank of naval captain and commanding a squadron of his fellow fliers, Senator McCain retired from the U.S. Navy in April of 1981 with a determination to enter politics; he moved to Phoenix, the home city of his wife, Cindy Lou Hensley, and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a congressman from Arizona in 1982, where he served for four years; he won election to the U.S. Senate in 1986; and

WHEREAS, As a lawmaker, Senator McCain has specialized in issues of U.S. defense and national security, rising to the rank of chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee; although he has compiled a strongly conservative voting record in the U.S. Senate, he has developed ties of friendship with lawmakers from both parties; and

WHEREAS, In September of 2008, the Republican Party nominated Senator McCain as their nominee for President of the United States; McCain won the votes of more than 59.9 million Americans, which was a plurality of the vote in 22 of the 50 states; and

WHEREAS, After the 2008 presidential election, Senator McCain returned to lawmaking and was elected to two additional terms in the U.S. Senate; he served actively as a drafter of bills and appropriations, and as a committee spokesman and chairman, until his affliction in 2017 with severe illness; the story of John McCain is now familiar to all Americans; and

WHEREAS, Senator McCain is the maverick; he is truly the independent statesman, the patriot which we all know, and the hero we all honor; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDREDTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we commend Navy Captain and United States Senator John McCain for his service, in war and in peace, to the United States of America; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we declare the life and congressional service of Senator McCain to be an inspiration to all Americans; and be it further

RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be presented to Senator John McCain and his family at his home in Arizona and all members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation.