"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
On his right wrist, McCain wears a black bracelet bearing the name of Matthew J. Stanley, a 22-year-old Army Specialist killed December 16, 2006, by an IED in Taji, Iraq. Stanley was from Wolfeboro, N.H., and his mother gave McCain the bracelet at a town meeting. He says it helps him keep the war in perspective -- as if he needed more perspective, since his son, Jimmy, is a Marine serving in Iraq. McCain doesn't bring that up in public, but he mentions it to me as he looks at Matthew Stanley's picture on the bracelet. "We never talk about my son being there, and I don't let that affect my views on the war," he says quietly.
McCain can be a decidedly unsentimental man -- he once told me that the anti-war congressman John Murtha had been too affected by talking to families of soldiers killed in Iraq -- but just seconds after he mentions Jimmy, he shows a different side. He tells me a story he heard from Theodore Roosevelt biographer Edmund Morris, who described how Roosevelt's favorite son, Quentin, a military pilot, was shot down and killed on the western front in World War I. A woman sent Roosevelt a message of condolence, and he wrote back a strongly worded letter saying he would gladly sacrifice all his sons in the cause of freedom. "It was a very brave, strong letter in the TR style," McCain tells me. "And then, a couple of weeks later, somebody walked into the stable at Sagamore Hill, and there was TR with his arms around Quentin's favorite pony, with tears streaming down his face, saying, 'Quenty, Quenty.'"
McCain pauses for just a moment. "It was one of the more touching stories I've ever --" Another pause. "I get a little emotional just relating it."
-- "McCain Soldiers On," Byron York, National Review, 11/19/07