WASHINGTON, DC (November 9, 2021) — McCain Institute Board of Trustees Member General David Petraeus released a new video to honor Veterans Day and Military Family Appreciation Month.
General Petraeus, a 37-year U.S. Army veteran and former Director of Central Inelligence spoke about Senator John McCain’s legacy of fighting on behalf of our country’s veterans and military families, and standing with our men and women in uniform.
“No one had the backs of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines, our veterans, and their family members more than did Senator McCain…No one visited them more in the war zones than he did. No one challenged policies that were not achieving the desired results more than he did,” said General Petraeus. “So, as we celebrate Veterans Day and Military Family Appreciation Month, please join me in doing what Senator McCain did so relentlessly – thanking, embracing, and supporting the veterans and military families in your lives and in your communities.”
To view the full video, click here.
Hi, I’m retired General Dave Petraeus – a member of the Board of Trustees of the McCain Institute – and someone who was privileged to have had a very close relationship with Senator McCain while in uniform, as Director of the CIA, and then in post-government endeavors.
And, as we once again observe Veterans Day and Military Family Appreciation Month, I want to offer a few reflections on the Senator – a great American hero who passed away some three years ago, and the Member of Congress who, more than any other, was absolutely tireless in his support for those who served our Nation in uniform, for those who had served, and for the family members of each group, as well.
Senator McCain’s final book was titled “A Restless Wave.” In truth, it might more accurately have been titled “A Relentless Wave” – for Senator McCain was truly relentless about the issues that mattered most to him.
This was especially true when it came the needs of our men and women in uniform, our veterans, and their family members. In fact, no one had the backs of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines, our veterans, and their family members more than did Senator McCain.
I was privileged to conclude my military career with six commands as a general officer –
five of which were in combat – including the Surge in Iraq, US Central Command, and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. Those positions provided a unique vantage point from which to observe that no one did more than Senator McCain to ensure that those in uniform had what they needed to prevail on the battlefields of the post-9/11.
No one visited them more in the war zones than he did.
No one challenged policies that were not achieving the desired results more than he did.
And no one did more to see to the needs of those who had served – our veterans – and their family members than he did.
Senator McCain was truly unyielding in his advocacy and support. Informed of course, by the tradition of service of generations of the McCain family before him and after him – the latter including his two sons, both of whom served downrange with our forces after the attacks on 9/11.
Senator McCain also understood from his own service that the greatest privilege in life is serving a mission larger than self in uniform, especially at a time of war. And he sought to convey his appreciation of those in combat after 9/11 by visiting our men and women in combat every chance that he had.
I was deployed for eight of my final 11 Fourths of July in uniform. Senator McCain was with us in Iraq or Afghanistan for just about all of those – and the ones I missed –
demonstrating through his presence and his words his deep appreciation for those who served, all volunteers of course, at a time of war.
Senator McCain demonstrated the same deep appreciation for our veterans and their family members. Especially those whose lives were changed by sacrifices in combat.
Just as he sought to ensure that those in combat had all that they needed – he did the same for our veterans and their families, relentlessly holding the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, as well as other departments and agencies, to account.
His oversight of such matters was unequalled on Capitol Hill.
Senator McCain was highly respected for taking principled stands on critical issues, and his views carried enormous moral authority given his service as a highly decorated Navy pilot who was shot down on his 23d mission over North Vietnam – and who then spent five years as a prisoner of war, during which he was tortured repeatedly but refused the early release that was offered due to his father’s four-star rank. In the end, he did not come home until his fellow POWs did.
Our servicemen and women today stand on the shoulders of those who came before them, and because of the service of individuals like Senator McCain, they stand very tall indeed.
So, as we celebrate Veterans Day and Military Family Appreciation Month, please join me in doing what Senator McCain did so relentlessly – thanking, embracing, and supporting the veterans and military families in your lives and in your communities.
Thank you very much.
About the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University
Inspired by Senator John S. McCain and his family’s legacy of public service, the McCain Institute for International Leadership is fighting to secure democracy and alliances, defend human rights, protect the vulnerable, and advance character-driven leadership, both at home and around the world.
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Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American research university, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.