House floor fervently honors McCain
Godspeed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
That was the message House Minority Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) made sure the ailing U.S. senator received on Wednesday during the House floor debate when presenting HR1077.
“One of the true joys and perks of the job is to be able to meet so many amazing people from all walks of life,” Durkin began.
McCain is most definitely one of those men, he said, adding McCain is the definition of a patriot and an American hero.
Durkin discussed when he first met McCain in 1999 when the senator was running for president. He said McCain invited him to an intimate, private fundraiser with leaders of the Chicago business and social community. At the dinner, one of the attendees asked all of the guests what their favorite movie was.
To his surprise, Durkin said though he assumed McCain would mention an avant-garde and thought-provoking film like the other guests, he said the movie that influenced him the most was the 1963 Spencer Tracy comedy "It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."
“Everyone’s jaw in the room dropped and it was silence for 10 seconds and then Sen. McCain burst out laughing,” Durkin said.
At that point, Durkin realized McCain was his kind of guy and began working hard to get McCain on the presidential ballot.
“It was worth attaching my name to this great man’s candidacy,” Durkin said.
Aside from politics, the two shared a friendship over the years, he added.
“As other members of this body have had for years,” Durkin said.
McCain’s love for Illinois is well documented, he said. Durkin then read U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis' recent tributary speech to McCain, saying he too felt the same about the giant presence he has had in the U.S. Capitol and in refugee villages worldwide.
“We need to look no further than his work as an international statesman to see that he can surmount any obstacle,” Durkin read.
Concluding, Durkin said he believed McCain was watching the live broadcast from Arizona and spoke personally to his friend.
“I just want to say thank you for your service, your mentoring and for your friendship," Durkin said. "God bless you, sir."
When the loud applause lowered, the reverence from the other side of the aisle was spoken through Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago).
“I would just like to request from my colleague that you add us all to this resolution because we too are very proud of Sen. John McCain’s service in the United States,” Flowers said.
Following her sincere sentiments, Flowers requested a moment of prayer for McCain’s healing. After all members on the floor bowed their heads for a moment to reflect, Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) thanked Durkin and Flowers.
Wheeler detailed how the McCain Institute at Arizona State University, which was started by the senator and his wife, Cindy, has greatly dealt with human rights and trafficking.
“They have done a tremendous amount of work, and it is because of his leadership and his wife’s leadership that have quite an impact across the world,” Wheeler said. "Thank you, Sen. McCain."
Next to rise in respect, Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights) asked the floor to think for a second what McCain has accomplished, beginning with how at the call of his country, McCain got into an F-101 jet and flew it over enemy territory in Vietnam only to be shot down.
“He spent six years in the Hanoi Hilton suffering incredible torture and harm to himself, and was offered the opportunity to leave and choose not to because he refused to leave his comrades behind,” Harris said.
When released, McCain continued to serve with distinction, according to Harris, who said after being elected McCain understood the “grease” of compromise and was willing to work with both sides of the aisle without rigid ideology.
Addressing the elephant in the room, Harris was bold enough to bring up the rude comment made by White House aide Kelly Sadler that McCain’s opinion should not matter anymore because he is dying from a brain tumor.
“An apology is warranted by an individual in staff in the White House to this distinguished outstanding public servant who has given his life to the United States of America,” Harris said.
Rep. Dave McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) gave tribute to the line of fearless McCains.
“This is really about a family that has died for this country, his grandfather, his father and himself,” McSweeney said, adding McCain’s son, who also served in Iraq.
Durkin concluded the tribute asking all members of the body be added as co-sponsors to the resolution to be delivered to McCain’s home in Arizona.