'American patriot and hero': Tributes flow for John McCain

The war hero and towering figure of US politics, John McCain, died on Saturday following a battle with brain cancer. He was 81.

Tributes continued to pour in Sunday for John McCain, the former US presidential candidate, veteran senator and war hero who has died at age 81. 

Here is a selection of key quotes from home and abroad:

March 2009: Barack Obama and John McCain at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
Source: AAP

US presidents

- President Donald Trump:

"My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!"

- Former president Barack Obama:

"We shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher - the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched and sacrificed." 

- Former president Bill Clinton and secretary of state Hillary Clinton:

"Senator John McCain believed that every citizen has a responsibility to make something of the freedoms given by our Constitution, and from his heroic service in the Navy to his 35 years in Congress, he lived by his creed every day." 

1965: John S. McCain III (lower right) posing with his Navy squadron during flight training.
Source: AAP

- Former president George W Bush:

"Some lives are so vivid, it is difficult to imagine them ended. Some voices are so vibrant, it is hard to think of them stilled. John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order."

- Former president George HW Bush: 

"Few sacrificed more for, or contributed more to, the welfare of his fellow citizens - and indeed freedom-loving peoples around the world." 

- Former president Jimmy Carter: 

"Americans will forever be grateful for his heroic military service and his steadfast integrity as a member of the United States Senate."  

Global leaders

- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

"Senator John McCain was an American patriot and hero whose sacrifices for his country, and lifetime of public service, were an inspiration to millions." 

- German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

"Senator McCain was one of the great political figures of our time and a tireless fighter for a strong transatlantic alliance; his importance stretches far beyond his own country."

- French President Emmanuel Macron:‏

"John McCain was a true American hero. He devoted his entire life to his country. His voice will be missed. Our respectful thoughts go to his beloved ones."

1973: Naval Aviator John McCain, centre, as he is being released with other prisoners of war from detention in North Vietnam.
Source: AAP

- British Prime Minister Theresa May:

"John McCain was a great statesman, who embodied the idea of service over self. It was an honor to call him a friend of the UK. My deepest sympathies go to his family, and the American people." 

- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

"I will always treasure the constant friendship he showed to the people of Israel and to me personally." 

- Jens Stoltenberg,  secretary general of NATO:  

"John McCain - soldier and senator, American and Atlanticist. He will be remembered both in Europe and North America for his courage and character, and as a strong supporter of NATO. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones." 

Friends, colleagues and family

- Senator Lindsey Graham - who along with McCain and former senator Joe Lieberman formed a trio dubbed the "Three Amigos":

"America and Freedom have lost one of her greatest champions. ….And I've lost one of my dearest friends and mentor. I will need some time to absorb this, but I want Cindy —and the entire McCain family — to know they are in my prayers."

- Joe Lieberman:

"America has lost one of the greatest patriots and public servants in our history. And I have lost a dear friend."

- Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin:

"Sen. John McCain was a maverick and a fighter, never afraid to stand for his 

- Former secretary of state John Kerry:

"John McCain was an American original — guts, grit, and ultimately grace personified. All of us were blessed by the example he shared with us of a life in service to country....To John I wish the peace he deserves with fair winds and following seas, my friend."

- Former senator Harry Reid‏:

"John and I both ended our final call a few weeks ago by telling each other, 'I love you,' and that was how we felt about one another. There will never be another John McCain."

- Meghan McCain, his daughter:

"He was a great fire who burned bright, and we lived in his light and warmth. We know that his flame lives on in each of us."  

- Cindy McCain, his wife:

"My heart is broken. I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years. He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the place he loved best."


Published 27 August 2018 at 12:53am
Source: AFP - SBS