Americans mourned the passing of Senator John McCain this week with many conversations about his character, his service and his outspokenness. The public was allowed to mourn along with his family and government colleagues as he laid in state in Arizona and DC. Then, finally there was a 3 hour service in the National Cathedral with eulogies from so many leading Americans-colleagues from the Senate, former Secretary of State Kissinger, and 2 former US Presidents. And, of course, his incredibly eloquent daughter, Meghan McCain.
Watching Meghan McCain memorialize her Father with poise, eloquence and may I say fierceness, I pondered what it means to be called to greatness. John McCain was born to be a leader. The family legacy of naval service at the highest rank was a heavy responsibility. He rebelled against the requirements even as he honored the duty. McCain was called to leadership and he did not duck it. He just did it his way. He had plenty of ego and was the first to admit that did not always make good decisions.
It is in the tough choices he made that we see where he was called to greatness. He choose to remain a POW and not get a special release due to his rank and family connections. When he was released, instead of dwelling on the past, the pain, the injustices, he choose to move on. He continued to serve. He stood up for treating people fairly in the military, in the senate and in the world. McCain knew how to collaborate, how to get the best out of himself and others, and would get in the face of Presidents when he didn’t agree. His stubborness and courage in expressing what he believed was right for the country despite the unpopularity of his beliefs was part of his greatness.
McCain believed the US could be better than we were and he showed it in the bipartisan legislation he sponsored and the votes he cast. George Bush described McCain as a man of courage and decency. Not only was he called to greatness, he challenges us to accept our own call to greatness.
In the spirit of John McCain, what would you do, that you know you are called to do, if you only had his courage?
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