LI lawmakers, veterans pay tribute to late Sen. John McCain

<p>Long Island officials and veterans are remembering the late Sen. John McCain as a war hero and political maverick.</p>

News 12 Staff

Aug 26, 2018, 9:34 PM

Updated 2,094 days ago

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LI lawmakers, veterans pay tribute to late Sen. John McCain
Long Island officials and veterans are remembering the late Sen. John McCain as a war hero and political maverick.
The Republican Arizona senator and former presidential contender died Saturday after battling brain cancer.
Jim Hasselmann, a Vietnam veteran from Levittown, lowered the American flag and the POW/MIA flag outside VFW Post 9592 in honor of McCain.
"I respect him. He was in jail for what, five and a half years... that's a long time to suffer," Hasselman says.
"It was a great loss for America and for veterans. He was a comrade in arms," Vietnam veteran John Turino says. "He was a POW. He was a war hero. And I believe he was a great American."
Many politicians are sharing memories and sending condolences to the McCain family, including lawmakers like Rep. Peter King.
"John McCain was a legend. He was an icon," King says. "I don't know how we're going to fill the gap that's left."
King was a friend of McCain's since 1999, when they hit the campaign trail together. The congressman says he never knew anyone with as much integrity.
"He was a very proud Republican, but he was willing to work across the aisle," King says. "Sometimes people in his own party got mad at him, sometimes Democrats got mad at him. John he didn't care. He did what he thought was right, and politics be damned."
Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi says, "He had a strong voice based on his experience as a POW, serving in the military, serving in Congress and the Senate for a long time, who made a real difference."
Rep. Lee Zeldlin, Republican of Shirley, says that McCain's time as a POW in Vietnam was the greatest example of his strength and dedication to country.
"Sen. McCain was a patriot. He was given the opportunity to leave captivity when he was a POW. And his response was, 'I'm not leaving my men,'" Zeldin says.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran have also released statements on McCain and called for all flags in both counties to be lowered in his honor.


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