The Independence Harry S. Truman Award Commission has chosen Sen. John McCain as the 2019 Harry S. Truman Public Service Award recipient. A family member will accept the posthumous award on his behalf. The award, established in 1974 by the City of Independence, is presented annually to an outstanding American citizen who best typifies and possesses the qualities of dedication, industry, ability, honesty and integrity that distinguished President Harry S. Truman.
“Sen. John McCain gave to his country throughout his life, and we are honored to celebrate his legacy by awarding him the Harry S Truman Public Service Award,” Mayor Eileen Weir said. “President Truman played a unique role in our country’s history, and this award has become nationally recognized. This is something all Independence residents should be proud of.”
Sen. McCain is the 45th recipient of this National Honor and will join the elite list of honorees which includes: former presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton; World War II veteran and U.S. Senator Robert J. Dole; veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars; former U. S. Senator Jack Danforth; as well as patriotic women Coretta Scott King, Margaret Truman Daniel, Mother Clara Hale and Mary Jean Eisenhower; and most recently University of California President and former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
Sen. John McCain graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who were both distinguished Navy Admirals. He served as a Navy aviator for 22 years, including in North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Perhaps one of the most famous chapters of his life began on Oct. 26, 1967, when during his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam a missile struck his plane, forcing him to eject. He was knocked unconscious and broke both his arms and his leg. He was then taken prisoner of war and stayed at the “Hanoi Hilton,” where he was denied medical care and subjected to torture for years.
Even after this experience, Sen. McCain continued his service by regaining his naval flight status upon his return. He retired from the Navy in 1981 with the honors of Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Sen. McCain was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona in 1982 and elected to the United States Senate in 1986. He was the Republican Party’s nominee for president in the 2008 election. Sen. McCain served as Chairman of the Senate Committees on Indian Affairs, Commerce, Science and Transportation, and most recently, Armed Services. He passed away in August 2018.
This year’s Special Recognition Award will be given to the AFS organization, which has helped connect foreign exchange students with families in our community for decades.
Details on the Harry S. Truman Public Service Award Presentation Ceremony will be provided as soon as possible.