November 11th, 2007
07:40 PM ET
11 years ago

McCain addresses veterans

McCain speaks to veterans.

BOSCAWEN, New Hampshire (CNN) – Speaking to hundreds at a Granite state veterans ceremony, Arizona Sen. John McCain paid tribute to veterans and thanked the large crowd for supporting those who are currently serving the

"The war in Iraq sadly has divided America," said McCain. "But none of us are divided in our appreciation and our love and affection for those men and women in our military who are serving the cause of freedom."

McCain continued by sharing a personal story of his time in a North Vietnamese prison camp as a prisoner of war. He described a friendship with another POW, Mike Christian, who was beaten for sewing an American flag into his uniform.

"Mike Christian fashioned himself a bamboo needle and got himself a piece of white cloth and a piece of red cloth and sewed on the inside of his shirt the American flag. Every evening in that prison cell we would stand and put Mike Christian's shirt on the wall of our cell and say the pledge of allegiance," McCain told the crowd.

"Pledging allegiance was the most important part of our day," McCain continued.

The Vietnamese guards discovered the shirt and Christian was beaten. The same night Christian made another American flag.

"He wasn't doing that because it made him feel better. He was doing that because he knew how important it was to us, to pledge our allegiance and our love and our faith and our confidence and our futures in that great flag which is the symbol of this great nation."

McCain's story struck a chord with the crowd of older veterans, a key demographic of his campaign, many of whom agree with his conviction to stay the course in Iraq. McCain said of young Americans currently at war: "We will be inspired by them and we will know at the end of the day that they have carried on the tradition and inspiration of those who went before us. "

–CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla

Filed under: John McCain • New Hampshire • Race to '08
soundoff (19 Responses)

    Well, no political message here, but certainly an important reminder of what we have gone through as a country, and what so many of our heroes have given for our freedoms on this day of remembrance.

    Thank you John McCain for all of your selfless service and for paying tribute to the courageous men and women who serve our great country.

    The Dream Endures.

    November 11, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  2. Mark Columbus, Ohio

    I salute you old soldier – Senator McCain. You did fight for our country. Unfortunately though sir, you were never a good Senator.

    November 11, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |

    Amazing how the lead-in wasn't "Supporters Rally for McCain", yet it was an accurate portrayal of the event to me, not touting his supporters, like the story about Dr. Paul did.

    November 11, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  4. Daniel, NY

    McCain is posting some very strong numbers in recent polls, as he is pretty much tied for second in the latest NH poll.

    November 12, 2007 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  5. Jim, Columbus, GA

    I find it interesting that when you go to these other "tickers" you see a bunch of opinions – but, on a "ticker" for the day we honor our Veterans – just a few - Why is that?

    Has America forgot their sacrifice? Do they think Freedom is Free?

    As a Vietnam Vet (173rd Airborne Bde and N Co 75th Rangers) I too salute your service John McCain ... and saw your vid at the National POW/MIA Museum in Andersonville, GA

    It's also interesting to note the Democrates ain't changed from being the surrenderists party since Ted Kennedy (the Hero of Chippaquatic), said the 101st Airborne Div wouldn't take Hamburger Hill in May 69 !!!!

    Sorry John McCain but you lost my vote with the illegal amnesty push

    Go Huckabee and take Liberman with you !

    November 12, 2007 04:58 am at 4:58 am |
  6. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    ... and as I hear McCain speaking to other veterans, I think of Bush/Cheney and all their neocons who never put their lilly-white selves in harm's way but are all for war ... with other people's children. Mitt's five sons are "serving their country" by working to get Dad elected.

    We can't change history, but as we vote for another president, we can learn from its lessons – vote for someone with intelligence and character – not someone you "would feel comfortable having a beer with" or the person your pastor recommends.

    November 12, 2007 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  7. Sam, IA

    The republican party has no credibility with veterans. They waved the flag and screwed them over during thier time in the majority. Here is a little sample . I spoke to a lady who returned from Iraq after her third tour and she was relieved that she would not have to return now for a year and would ETS before that time came. She was waiting on the day of her return when a group of soldiers and herself where wisked off to a hanger where they waited for 7 hours without breakfast or lunch with the statement that someone important was coming. They where told it was Laura Bush finally and when they groaned collectively they where told by the commander that they WOULD applaud and cheer when she arrived and that was an order. There folks is your great love of the veterans by the republican party. Forces audiences and ordered applause.And you take Hillary to task for suggesting questions? Get real

    November 12, 2007 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  8. bret, atl, ga

    McAmnesty "Stay the Course" just wants, what exactly? To reach the same death toll that Vietnam did, and accomplish just as much of nothing?

    Honor Veterans by ADMITTING MISTAKES AND STOPPING these insane actions that make no sense. We protected Seoul Korea better on 9/11 than we did our own capital city, WHY IS THAT NOT CRIMINAL?

    November 12, 2007 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  9. mark wilkes barre pa

    veterans day day shoul be for remembering the sacrifices our brave soldiors have made and endoured through every battle that tested there will to fight for all that we have in this great country. ANYONE who would take this day and use it to spread redirick of hate for political gain by making jokes to McCains speach to veterans on veterans day, should be exiled to some war torn, oppressed country. to all of you haters who take ecceptance to do this sort of thing on every story that is posted on the political ticker ( " AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE " ) These fine men and woman fight for your right to do exactly that ,without fear of someone comming into your house in the middle of the night and killing you. Leave our veterans alone, they carry th burdens and memories of the likes you can't even imagine around with them on a daily basis. It's not cool and it's certainly not funny.

    November 12, 2007 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  10. freetobeme, Rochester, PA

    McCain, I salute you on Veterans' Day, but your past sacrifices don't mean a thing to me when it comes to my choosing a President.

    Your attempts to make me think that voting for you is the patriotic thing to do leave me cold. What vision do you have for America except ensuring that more young people will have to suffer as you did?

    November 12, 2007 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  11. J.Crobuzon

    A lot of guys in jail smuggle in their colors to be one up on the guards. McCain's got some cool jail stories, man, but you can't just shank foreign heads of state.
    If we're ever attacked by tiny Viet Nam, McCain's the guy to run that war. But until then, I'd prefer someone who isn't stuck in the Sixties.

    November 12, 2007 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  12. CK, Arlington, VA

    "We can't change history, but as we vote for another president, we can learn from its lessons – vote for someone with intelligence and character – not someone you "would feel comfortable having a beer with" or the person your pastor recommends.


    Well, that eliminates Hillary and Edwards from consideration. Thanks for the tip!!!!

    November 12, 2007 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  13. marquis

    McCain went on to say that he would increase the number of Veterans in America by sending more teenagers to die in Iraq so that more Republicans can make some money.

    November 12, 2007 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  14. Laura - Tulsa OK

    It Is the Soldier

    It is the Soldier, not the minister
    Who has given us Freedom of Religion.

    It is the Soldier, not the reporter
    Who has given us Freedom of the Press.

    It is the Soldier, not the poet
    Who has given us Freedom of Speech.

    Is it the Soldier, not the campus organizer
    Who has given us the freedom to protest.

    It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
    Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

    It is the Soldier, not the politician
    Who has given us the right to vote.

    It is the Soldier who salutes the Flag, Who serves beneath the Flag,
    And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

    November 12, 2007 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  15. waristhehealthofthestate, Freedom, PA

    We haven't fought a war "to preserve our freedom" since World War II. And, obviously, we are not at war to "find and capture" bin Laden.

    November 11 is my brother's birthday, and that is the only reason why I celebrate that day.

    November 12, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. Samuel, Lincoln, NE

    Although I won't vote for John McCain based on his unwavering support for a war that we should not have gotten into in the first place and his blatant courting of the same religious fanatics who he correctly referred to as "agents of intolerance" a mere 8 years ago, I respect and commend him for his service.

    Of course I also respect and commend John Kerry for his service, despite the scurrilous attacks against him in '04 by the Swift Boat Liars for Bush.

    November 12, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. A Doubting Canadian

    If the veterans were really honoured they would not be sent back to Iraq with mental illness, they would not be homeless, they would not be struggling to find a job and they would not be struggling with your "medical" plan to get the services they need.

    It is easy to wear a poppy and put your hand over your heart, but shameful in the way these men and women have been treated.

    It is easy to support a war from the comfort of your homes, senate, universities and offices. How many of you who post on here that your veterans are heroes and are in support of the Iraq war are encouraging your young men and women to enlist? How many of you are expressing your outrage at their treatment?

    November 12, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. J Houston, TX

    We haven't fought a war "to preserve our freedom" since World War II. And, obviously, we are not at war to "find and capture" bin Laden.

    November 11 is my brother's birthday, and that is the only reason why I celebrate that day.

    WWII? Japan did a preemtive military strike on military targets and nothing beyond that. Germany never attacked US soil. Italy certainly didn't get involved. The President spent 4 YEARS convincing the US to get involved in WWII and continually fought with public disapproval of getting involved with stopping Adolf Hitler.

    This time people kill hundreds of innocent civilians and you want nothing to do with it. Pathetic individuals like you, whom are more afraid of war than actually having an opinion about it, are the reason this country is headed in the direction it is. No backbone, no values, no morals, no stand.

    God bless all veterans, all the men and women whom have fought for this country. Senator McCain is a hero. Absolutely nothing short of the word. See if a nation ever honors you with such a term. I highly doubt anyone will even remember your name, but this man, they will speak it with reverance.

    I wouldn't vote for him...but that doesn't really have anything to do with respect for a soldier. You should learn some.

    November 12, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |


    November 12, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |