‘I have had experiences, adventures and friendships enough for 10 satisfying lives’: Read John McCain’s full farewell address to America

John McCain.

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John McCain.
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Joshua Lott/Getty Images

  • Rick Davis, an aide to the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona, read a farewell address McCain had written to the nation before he died Saturday.
  • His message offered gratitude and thanks after over 60 years of serving his country.
  • It also called on Americans to focus on what unites the country and not succumb to “tribal rivalries.”
  • McCain, a war hero who served Arizona in the US Senate for over 30 years, died of brain cancer.

In a Monday press conference, Rick Davis, a former campaign manager and spokesman for the late Sen. John McCain, delivered a farewell address written by McCain before he died at his home in Arizona on Saturday after a year-long battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

McCain was a decorated war hero who served 22 years in the Navy, including six of those years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He then went on to serve Arizona in the United States House and Senate for over 30 years, and was the Republican Party’s nominee for president in 2008.

Davis also announced the details four separate memorial events that will take place this week in both Arizona and Washington, DC.

Read the full address from McCain here:

My fellow Americans, whom I have gratefully served for sixty years, and especially my fellow Arizonans,

Thank you for the privilege of serving you and for the rewarding life that service in uniform and in public office has allowed me to lead. I have tried to serve our country honorably. I have made mistakes, but I hope my love for America will be weighed favorably against them.

I have often observed that I am the luckiest person on earth. I feel that way even now as I prepare for the end of my life. I have loved my life, all of it. I have had experiences, adventures and friendships enough for ten satisfying lives, and I am so thankful. Like most people, I have regrets. But I would not trade a day of my life, in good or bad times, for the best day of anyone else’s.

I owe that satisfaction to the love of my family. No man ever had a more loving wife or children he was prouder of than I am of mine. And I owe it to America. To be connected to America’s causes – liberty, equal justice, respect for the dignity of all people – brings happiness more sublime than life’s fleeting pleasures. Our identities and sense of worth are not circumscribed but enlarged by serving good causes bigger than ourselves.

Fellow Americans’ – that association has meant more to me than any other. I lived and died a proud American. We are citizens of the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil. We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and advance those ideals at home and in the world. We have helped liberate more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. We have acquired great wealth and power in the process.

We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.

We are three-hundred-and-twenty-five million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do.

Ten years ago, I had the privilege to concede defeat in the election for president. I want to end my farewell to you with the heartfelt faith in Americans that I felt so powerfully that evening. I feel it powerfully still.

Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.

Farewell, fellow Americans. God bless you, and God bless America.