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'I Have Fought the Good Fight, I Have Finished the Race': A Glimpse into John McCain's Faith

08-31-2018

The nation is paying a final tribute to the late Sen. John McCain, who passed away last weekend at the age of 81 after a valiant battle with brain cancer.

The late lawmaker's body will lie in state Friday at the US Capitol Rotunda. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to deliver remarks at a ceremony ahead of the public viewing.

On Thursday, the vice president hailed the Arizona senator, noting that he became "one of the most unwavering advocates of our armed forces to ever serve."

“I can assure you, America will always remember and honor the lifetime of service of United States Sen. John McCain," Pence said.

On Wednesday, family and friends had a private memorial service in Arizona's Capitol building.

McCain's widow, Cindy, escorted by the couple's two sons, gave her husband a final farewell, placing a kiss on his flag-draped casket.

Likewise, a visibly distraught Meghan McCain also said a final goodbye to her father.

"My father's passing comes with sorrow and grief for me, for my mother, for my brothers, and for my sisters," the 33-year-old conservative cohost of ABC's "The View" wrote in a touching social media tribute following her father's death.

"He was a great fire who burned bright, and we lived in his light and warmth for so very long," she continued. "We know that his flame lives on, in each of us. The days and years to come will not be the same without my dad — but they will be good days, filled with life and love, because of the example he lived for us."

Thousands of well-wishers also paid their respects, celebrating his life as a former prisoner of war, maverick politician and presidential candidate.

McCain's Faith

While McCain angered some conservatives by opposing President Trump's policies during his final years, he has a deeper legacy as well. Now a little-known facet of the six-term senator's character is coming to the fore – one that was rarely, if ever, on public display during his more than 35-year tenure in Congress: his faith.

According to his longtime friend, Charlie Black, McCain didn't fully rely on that faith until he found himself a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down over Hanoi while serving as a pilot in the US Navy.

It was then, Black recalled, that McCain became the "room chaplain" for his fellow captives.

"When he was out of solitary (his captors) wouldn't give him a Bible, so he would come up with verses from memory that they could study together," Black told CNN in an interview Wednesday.

CNN reports that during his captivity, the young POW urged his fellow prisoners not to pray for release or their own personal interests.

"I pray to do the right thing so I won't look back in regret or embarrassment or even shame that I betrayed my principles and my faith," McCain said.

It was a principle the late lawmaker held fast to until the very end – something that was reflected in Bible verses McCain chose to be read at memorial services being held this week in honor of his passing. The scripture was taken from the book of 2 Timothy:

"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."

McCain's casket will rest in the US Capitol Friday.

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