VIDEO - Full speech by Sen. Chris Coons on Senate floor.
“I was so honored to have [John] first as a colleague, then as a traveling companion and mentor, and in recent years to count him as a friend. We didn’t agree always, or even often, on a wide range of policy issues, but on one thing in particular, I admired and followed his lead as best I could,” said Senator Coons. “John was convinced that what makes America great, what has always made America great, is its values and principles, that we stand for something in the world, not the example of our power but the power of our example, that only when we fight for those values that define us apart from other powerful nations – for human rights, freedom of speech and religious expression, a free press, an independent judiciary, open and fair elections, for the foundations of democracy as guarantors of human liberty – only then do we best use our power to act in the world.
“John also used his hardest personal experiences to make some of his most important contributions. Having himself survived imprisonment and torture at the hands of his Vietnamese captors, McCain could easily have returned home after more than five harrowing years in captivity to serve out his time in the Navy and retired in comfort and honor,” said Senator Coons. “Instead, he continued his cause of serving our nation, and while here, worked tirelessly to champion the cause of those unjustly imprisoned around the world. Dissidents and activists who spoke up for freedom and against dictators knew no more dedicated friend than Senator McCain.”