The National Constitution Center awarded its annual Liberty Medal to U.S. Senator John McCain for his lifetime of sacrifice and service on October 16, 2017 in Philadelphia. Vice President Joe Biden, Chair of the National Constitution Center’s Board of Trustees, bestowed the award to his longtime friend during the 29th Annual Liberty Medal Ceremony.
From a family of military heroes, John McCain began his service in the Navy in 1958 after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. During his 22 years of service, McCain rose to the rank of Captain. He served as a Navy pilot in the Caribbean during the Cuban Missile Crisis and later conducted targeted air strikes in North Vietnam. On October 26, 1967, McCain’s plane was shot down over Hanoi during a bombing mission. He was captured and spent years in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp being tortured by his captors. Despite the torture he endured, McCain refused the opportunity for early release until all of his fellow soldiers were released. For his heroism, Senator McCain has received 17 military awards and decorations, including the Silver Star, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Bronze Star.
In 1982, McCain was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving two terms. In 1986, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. He has served in the Senate ever since, winning reelection five times. He also ran for president in 2000 and 2008.