Former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey is remembering former colleague John McCain and their time together in Congress. Kerrey says McCain had been in Senate a few years before he was elected in 1988 and says it started out a a difficult relationship. They are both Vietnam War veterans and a project they worked on brought them closer.
Kerrey says, “We got quite close during the process to normalize relations with Vietnam. It was a very difficult process. John is one of those examples because he was a POW he probably took more grief than the rest of us. We became close friends after that.”
Kerrey says it is a personal loss but also an end of an era. He is the last of the Vietnam veterans in Congress. Kerrey says McCain didn’t live in the past and very concerned about the future of the military. He cared deeply about the decisions made by the Armed Services Committee as that would impact soldiers for years to come.
There are some veterans who criticize McCain’s time as a POW. Kerrey says, “That is unfortunate. That is sad actually. He was beaten. He was tortured. He was given for early release and he said no. He gave this beautiful speech to the cadets and he talked about the weakness he yielded to from time to time. He is all alone. He is in pain. He was tortured. He said there were some things he regretted but even then he served even then with considerable honor.”
McCain will lie in state in the Arizona State Capitol on Wednesday. He will then lie in state at the U.S. Capitol on Friday. A private national memorial service will be held Saturday. McCain will be laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland.