A tribute to John McCain 1936-2018

Matthew Melter, Guest Writer, HM '13

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

When I was a fifth grade student at Horace Mann’s Lower Division, my class went on a three-day trip to Washington D  C. The purpose of the trip was to study the Greek architecture present throughout our nation’s capital as well as to learn about how our federal government functions.  The highlight of the trip was an opportunity to meet Senator John McCain.  He discussed with us many things about his job as a Senator and took questions.  However, at the end of his remarks I distinctly remember him telling us that whenever we see someone in uniform, we should stop to thank them for their service.

Up to that point in my life, I had always been patriotic, but the lack of military presence in New York City had never given me the opportunity to show that type of appreciation.  The day after Senator McCain’s remarks, while eating breakfast at a food court in Washington DC, I saw a soldier sitting alone enjoying his breakfast. I nervously walked over and thanked him.  What I didn’t realize that day, but I realize now, is that Senator McCain had instilled in me a respect for the military that would lead me to where I am today. 

After that trip I learned more about Senator McCain. I learned about his time asww a prisoner of war in Vietnam where he heroically resisted his captors.  I read his memoir, Faith of my Fathers, in which he told the story of not just his service in the Navy, but also that of his father and grandfather. I grew to deeply respect Senator McCain, and I chose to make him my personal role model. I was proud to follow in his footsteps when, upon graduating from Horace Mann in 2013, I accepted an appointment to the United States Naval Academy. Today I serve as a Surface Warfare Officer onboard USS Chafee, a guided missile destroyer stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve my country. 

Senator McCain’s legacy of selfless service to our nation, both as a member of the military and government, is a testament to the kind of man he is.  As a Senator, his record of always standing up for his beliefs regardless of the personal consequences was a perfect embodiment of Horace Mann’s motto, “Great is the Truth and it Prevails.” Our nation is indebted to John McCain, and I am personally grateful to Horace Mann School for giving me the opportunity to meet such an inspirational person whose simple words changed the trajectory of my life. May he rest in peace. 

-Ensign Matthew Meltzer, US Navy

Horace Mann Class of 2013