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