Author: Carolyn P. Simoneaux, Ed.D.
On September 8, 2008 John McCain stood before the Republican National Convention and accepted the Presidential nomination. His speech was the epitome of the man who endured five years of torture and deprivation as a prisoner of war; a man who, without complaint, has endured the results of that experience and has become a leader among leaders in our nation. Whether one agrees with Senator McCain’s politics or not, one must admire his fortitude in hardship. He made up his mind to STAND, and stand he did.
In his speech McCain talked about his experience as a prisoner of war and how it changed his life. He spoke of how he got into his plane on that October morning in the Gulf of Tonkin, his 23rd mission over North Vietnam. He was a young, arrogant fighter pilot with no doubts that he would return from this mission as his 22 earlier missions, without a scratch. But, that all changed when he landed in a lake in Hanoi with both arms broken and a broken leg, to be greeted by an angry North Vietnamese crowd. At first he endured the beatings, poor condition, loneliness, and hunger and thought his arrogance could sustain him. But, he soon found his arrogance and pride was not enough. In his words, “they broke me” (McCain, 2008). He explained how his arrogance gave way to self doubt and despair. It was in that self doubt and despair that he learned to truly love his country. It was in that self doubt and despair that his determination to survive came alive. It was in that self doubt and despair that he learned that he could not go it alone (McCain, 2008).
John McCain survived the five years in Hanoi at the hands of his torturers, and attributes this experience to making him into the man he is today.
The final words of his speech were:
Fight with me. Fight with me.
Fight for what's right for our country. Fight for the ideals and
character of a free people.
Fight for our children's future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all.
Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up for each
other, for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America.
Stand up, stand up, stand up, and fight.
Nothing is inevitable here. We're Americans, and we never give up.
We never quit (McCain, 2008).
After he finished his speech, I could only say, “WOW!” What an inspiration to me as an American, but especially, as a Christian. John McCain was an example and an inspiration to his fellow prisoners because of his selfless determination
"In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15)
He shone as a light in that prison in Hanoi. We, as Christians, (those who are like Christ) can shine through our trials, our difficulties, our good times, and our bad times.
Paul told us – having done all stand!!
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
(Ephesians 6: 13,14 KJV).
As Christians we must stand and say:
Stand with me. Stand with me.
Stand for what's right for our Church. Stand for the ideals and character of a saved people.
Stand for our children's future. Stand against the enemy of our salvation.
Stand up for each other, for this wonderful TRUTH.
Stand up, stand up, stand up!.
We are Christians and we never give up.
We never quit (adapted from McCain, 2008).