Senator John McCain on Puerto Rico

The nation is remembering Senator John McCain (R-AZ) as a statesman who served his country with valor and integrity.

in 2011, Senator McCain’s website carried this statement demonstrating his sentiments about Puerto Rico and island’s proud tradition of military service: “Senator McCain has great appreciation and respect for the people of Puerto Rico, including the nearly four million Puerto Ricans living in the mainland, and for the many that proudly serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.”

Puerto Rico has one of the highest percentages of military participation among U.S. states and territories.

Puerto Rico has sent soldiers to fight alongside the U.S. military since the American Revolution. Soldiers from Puerto Rico joined the U.S. Army during the Civil War, and again for both world wars. The Borinqueneers, a regiment made up almost entirely of men from Puerto Rico, distinguished itself during the Korean War, and individual soldiers and sailors from Puerto Rico have earned honors in the Gulf War and other recent conflicts.

McCain, himself a Navy aviator, fought in Vietnam. His plane was shot down and he spent more than five years as a prisoner of war. After returning to the United States at long last, McCain worked to recover his health and then returned to serve his country.

He was the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, a Member of the House of Representatives for two terms and a senator for six terms. Throughout his tenure in the legislature, he supported American veterans, from Puerto Rico as well as from the 50 states.

McCain recently lost his battle with brain cancer. He was 81 years old.

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