All Alaska and U.S. Flags in the state were being flown at half-staff from Aug. 27 through Aug. 31 in honor of Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who died on Aug. 25 after battling brain cancer.
McCain, 81, was a naval bomber pilot who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, then went on to become a U.S. Senator and presidential contender.
“We respect that his actions were guided by what he believed was best or the people he represents, rather than what would advance his personal political goals,” said Gov. Bill Walker, who ordered the lowering of the flags in McCain’s honor. “One great example of Sen. McCain’s willingness to put his country ahead of politics happened last year when he was one of three Republicans – alongside Sen. Lisa Murkowski – who voted to protect health coverage for countless working Americans, including more than 40,000 people here in Alaska.”
McCain was born on August 29, 1936, at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone, under American control. After graduating from the Naval Academy in Annapolis and then flight school, McCain volunteered for combat duty with the outbreak of the Vietnam War. While serving in Vietnam his plane was shot down, and he spent five years as a prisoner of war.
McCain was elected to the House of Representatives in 1982. After the retirement of Sen. Barry Goldwater in 1986, McCain won the U.S. Senate seat that he held until his death. In 2008, McCain was the Republican nominee for president, and chose then Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.