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John Kerry: "John McCain showed all of us how to bridge the divide"

John Kerry talking with John McCain
Secretary of State Kerry speaks to Senator McCain in 2013. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Former Secretary of State John Kerry — longtime Senate colleague with John McCain, and a fellow Navy veteran — remembers his friend across the aisle:

  • "John McCain was an American original — guts, grit, and ultimately grace personified. All of us were blessed by the example he shared with us of a life in service to country. I loved John’s will to fight but respected even more his power to forgive."
  • "We met 32 years ago. We both loved the Navy, but had opposite views about the war of our youth. We didn’t trust each other, but really we didn’t know each other. After a long conversation on a long flight, we decided to work together to make peace with Vietnam and with ourselves here in America."
  • "John investigated the POW issue with passion and purpose. In the process, he was savaged by lesser men but words could never hurt a man who was, as Hemingway wrote, 'stronger at the broken places.'"
  • "We traveled together to Vietnam and together, we found common ground in the most improbable place. I stood with John, the two of us alone, in the very cell in the Hanoi Hilton where years of his life were lived out in pain but always in honor."
  • "If you ever needed to take the measure of John McCain, just count the days and years he spent in that tiny dank place and ask yourself whether you could make it there an hour."
  • John always said 'a fight not joined is a fight not enjoyed.' He loved to debate and disagree. But one thing John always believed was that at some point, America’s got to come together."
  • "John McCain showed all of us how to bridge the divide between a protester and a POW, and how to find common ground even when it was improbable. I will be grateful for that lesson every day of my life."
  • "Teresa and our children send Cindy and the entire McCain family our love and  prayers."
  • "To John I wish the peace he deserves with fair winds and following seas, my friend.”