July 29th, 2013
03:32 PM ET
8 years ago

McCain on Vietnam cellmate: 'I will see him again'

Washington (CNN) – Sen. John McCain paid tribute to his Vietnam cellmate on the Senate floor Monday, emotionally describing retired Col. George E. "Bud" Day as a fierce resistor who showed McCain "how to save my self-respect and my honor," he said. Day died Saturday at the age of 88.

In a statement Sunday commemorating Day, McCain called him the "bravest man I ever knew."

As a prisoner of war in North Vietnam's infamous "Hanoi Hilton," McCain shared a cell with Day and another service member, Major Norris Overly. After McCain, a Naval aviator, was shot down and imprisoned, the two men "wouldn't let me die," the Arizona Republican said on the Senate floor.

"They bathed me, fed me, nursed me, encouraged me and ordered me back to life."

For McCain, Day was a friend, a source of inspiration and his commanding officer, the highest ranking of the three men in their prison and thus the authority. From that authority, Day demanded of McCain a constant resistance against their jailors, singing the national anthem even when he had a rifle pointed at his face.

"Those who knew Bud after the war could see how tough he was," McCain said.

"But my God to have known him in prison confronting our enemies day in and day out, never ever yielding, defying men who had the power of life and death over us."

McCain showed the greatest emotion when he talked about seeing Day once more, in what he imagines would be Day's vision of heaven in an Iowa cornfield filled with pheasants. "I will see him again. I know I will," McCain said. "I'll hunt the field with him and I look forward to it."

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Thank you both for your service.

    July 29, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    A moment of silence.

    July 29, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "I will see him again"
    Will you?
    Do you really think you'll end up in the same place that this by all accounts brave soldier will end up in, if you believe in a heaven and a hell?
    That's rather arrogant of you McSenile.

    Here's another one:
    "...describing retired Col. George E. "Bud" Day as a fierce resistor who showed McCain "how to save my self-respect and my honor,"
    Did he McCain?
    I heard that you sang like a canary during your incarceration at the Hanoi Hilton.
    But that's probably just a rightwing nutjob doing what they do best: spreading malicious rumors huh?


    July 29, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  4. Marie MD

    RIP. too bad that his teaching mcnasty about honor and self respect went out the window in 2008!

    July 29, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. Collier

    @ take: Couldn't agree more. And the sooner the better.

    July 29, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. Dixie

    Thank you both for your service. God give him peace and his family and friends strength.

    July 29, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    You'd think the compassion and support McCain was shown would have made him less of an opportunistic dweeb, willing to sell his soul to Karl Rove in his pursuit of becoming POTUS.

    July 29, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. lisaleev

    I don't know where you people get your information. McCain was offered to be freed because his father was an admiral and he refused to go. I dare any of you to be in a prison camp and come out the same person as you were when you went in. I don't agree with Senator McCain's politics BUT he served his country in one of the toughest wars ever and he served it well. That service should not be mocked, he should be honored and respected for it.

    July 29, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I think he was selling his soul and anything or anybody he could wayyy before 2008 ThinkAgain.

    July 29, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    You know I've always thought that somebody had to have something really foul on McShame to make him take the Alaska Seceding Ho' as his V.P.
    Think about it.
    What power on this Earth would compel you to nail the coffin on your last presidential aspirations with the universal symbol for poor white trash as embodied by Sarah Palin and her brood?

    July 29, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. PJ

    Yes, he was a brave man, just as all POWS, MIAS, and those who came home, wounded or not, were all brave
    I hope this man found peace for his participation in the Swiftboat incident against John Kerry, who was also a
    brave man.

    July 29, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |