Notable & Quotable: McCain

‘I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s.’

Sen. John McCain accepts the Republican nomination for president in St. Paul, Minn., Sept. 4, 2008. PHOTO: BOSTON GLOBE VIA GETTY IMAGES
August 29, 2018

From John McCain’s speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination, Sept. 4, 2008:

I was in solitary confinement when my captors offered to release me. I knew why. If I went home, they would use it as propaganda to demoralize my fellow prisoners. . . . I wasn’t in great shape, and I missed everything about America. But I turned it down.

A lot of prisoners had it worse than I did. . . . I always liked to strut a little after I’d been roughed up to show the other guys I was tough enough to take it. But after I turned down their offer, they worked me over harder than they ever had before. For a long time. And they broke me.

When they brought me back to my cell, I was hurt and ashamed, and I didn’t know how I could face my fellow prisoners. The good man in the cell next door, my friend, Bob Craner, saved me. Through taps on a wall he told me I had fought as hard as I could. . . . And then he told me to get back up and fight again for our country. . . .

I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency; for its faith in the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people. I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again. I wasn’t my own man anymore. I was my country’s.


Leave a Reply

Search All Posts