McCain did not understand the reason for this guard’s sympathy until next Christmas Day when the prisoners were given the special treat of being allowed to stand outside their cells for five minutes. During those few short minutes, the guard walked up to McCain and stopped just before him to draw the sign of a cross in the dirt. They both stared silently at the cross for a moment before the guard walked away.
That cross looks a lot like the one Coulter wears around her neck as she excoriates a war hero she says “has no honor.”
I must say that I was also touched by the part of McCain’s book that discussed the offer to release him on July 4th of 1968. Had he accepted he would have served less than a year in prison. But he turned down the offer saying “We must be released in the order of our capture, starting with Everett Alverez.” One has to wonder what McCain would have done were he a man of “honor.”
After John McCain was released from solitary he had one cellmate named “Mike.” Mike used a needle to sew scraps of red, white, and blue cloth into a small American flag during his spare time. After he finished, he, McCain, and a couple of other prisoners would salute the flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance. Unsurprisingly, when Vietnamese prison guards found the flag they dragged Mike from his cell and beat him to a bloody pulp.
After Mike had been beaten senseless and left to sleep on the floor he woke up and crawled across the room to find his needle. He wanted to immediately sew another flag for McCain and his other cell mates to salute in defiance. Mike’s was among the greatest acts of heroic defiance one could imagine. But McCain displayed a similar defiance on many occasions – defiance that could only be mustered by a man of honor.
Of course, not everything of honor that John McCain has done was done as a prisoner. Years after his release, the Senator’s wife Cindy brought home a dying little girl from Southeast Asia. Shortly after seeing the little girl the Senator agreed that he and his wife should adopt her. Today, she is their teenaged daughter. Few could doubt that it was an act of sacrifice and honor that helped save the little girl’s life.
I hope that no one reading this column misconstrues my point. I agree with Ann Coulter on every policy difference she has with John McCain. But in the personal battle between the two I must side with Senator McCain. In the heat of the battle, he has conducted himself with greater honor.