On Monday, August 27, Rick Davis, Senator John McCain’s former campaign manager, read the senator’s farewell letter during a news conference with reporters.
It was the first time McCain’s final words have been publicly read:
“My fellow Americans, whom I have gratefully served for 60 years and especially my fellow Arizonans: Thank you for the privilege of serving you and for the rewarding life of service in uniform and service in public office has allowed me to lead. I have tried to serve our country honorably. I have made mistakes, but I hope my love for America will be weighed favorably against them.
I’ve often observed that I’m the luckiest person on earth. I feel that way even now as I prepare for the end of my life. I’ve loved my life, all of it. I’ve had experiences, adventures, friendships — enough for 10 satisfying lives and I am so thankful.
Like most people, I have regrets, but I would not trade a day of my life in good or bad times for the best day of anybody else’s. I owe this satisfaction to the love of my family — one man has never had a more loving wife or children he was prouder of than I am of mine. And I owe it to America. To be connected to America’s causes — liberty, equal justice, respect for the dignity of all people — brings happiness more sublime than life’s fleeting pleasures. Our identities and sense of worth are not circumscribed but are enlarged by serving good causes bigger than ourselves.
Fellow Americans, that association has meant more to me than any other. I lived and died a proud American. We are citizens of the world’s greatest Republic, a nation of ideals — not blood and soil. We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and advance those ideals at home and in the world. We have helped liberate more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history, and we have acquired great wealth and great power in the process.
We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals rather than trust them to be the great force for change they’ve always been. We are 325 million opinionated vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country, we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do.
Ten years ago, I had the privilege to concede defeat in the election for president. I want to end my farewell to you with heartfelt faith in Americans that I felt so powerfully that evening. I feel it powerfully still. Do not despair of our present difficulties. We believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit, we never surrender, we never hide from history. We make history. Farewell, fellow Americans. God bless you and God bless America.”
McCain, an American war hero, served as a United States Senator from Arizona from 1987 until his death.
During his time in the Navy, McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. While on a bombing mission during Operation Rolling Thunder over Hanoi in October 1967, McCain was shot down, seriously injured, and captured by the North Vietnamese and remained a prisoner of war until 1973.
In 1982 — 9 years after his release from Vietnam — McCain was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served two terms. He entered the U.S. Senate in 1987 and won reelection five times, the last time in 2016.
In 2008, McCain ran for President as a member of the Republican party, eventually losing to democrat Barack Obama. While largely maintaining conservative principles, McCain had a reputation as a “maverick” due to his willingness to disagree with his party on certain issues.
This story is developing.