Sep 23, 2008

Joe McCain visits Liberty

by Natalie Lozano

Joe McCain, the younger brother of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, addressed students in convocation on Sept. 12, along with Admiral Bob Shumaker, the second-longest held American prisoner of war (POW).

McCain brought his brother’s Navy fighter pilot jacket on stage, using the prop to introduce the valor of a man who hung the jacket up and did not see it for the five years in which he was held captive as a POW in Vietnam.

At convocation and the rally held later that same day, McCain explained the long-term effects of being held prisoner in such inhumane conditions, emphasizing the bones that were broken in the beginning of captivity. The improper healing of those injuries prevent the republican presidential candidate from raising his arms past his eyebrows.

McCain had lunch in Roanoke before returning to campus for an afternoon rally in front of the Vines Center, where local politicians Bob Goodlatte and Ralph Smith addressed the crowd prior to McCain and Shumaker’s remarks.

Shumaker described some of his experiences while being held as a POW alongside John McCain.

“Every Saturday night we’d have movies,” Shumaker said. “John would relate in great detail stories like ‘The Quiet Man’ and other movies he recalled.”

Shumaker used the story to explain how his fellow former POW reacts, even in tough situations.

“While he was suffering with all these infirmities, he (McCain) could dig down and help others,” Shumaker said.

Both McCain and Shumaker spoke to encourage people, especially young people to consider the importance of their votes.
“You folks can help make history,” McCain said at the afternoon rally.

In an interview, McCain described his brother when he was a child: “Always astonishing to me — John was my hero. He’s gonna be a great president.”

If his brother’s campaign is successful on Nov. 4, McCain plans to relax by “find(ing) a lake in a mountain” to read and write.

The Victory 2008 bus stopped at Liberty as part of its pursuit of the 13 electoral votes that Virginia will cast on Nov. 4. Virginia’s status as a swing state is drawing national attention, as are Liberty’s efforts to register students to vote.

The Washington Post recently reported on Jerry Falwell Jr.’s decision to motivate students to vote locally rather than absentee. (The article is reprinted below)

On Sep. 15 and 16, registration forms were distributed via professors and resident assistants to commuters and on-campus students and are still available in various offices throughout campus.

As Falwell pointed out, resident students who vote in Lynchburg can determine city and county policies that affect Liberty’s tuition.

In addition to McCain, David Barton and Don Corace have also spoken in convocation in the past two weeks to encourage and provide motivation for voting.

At press time, McCain is ahead of Obama in Virginia by 1 percentage point according to


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