PHOENIX — Sen. John McCain released the following statement Tuesday honoring the 19 fallen firefighters who were recognized at a memorial service.
The statement has not been altered in any way.
“It is a privilege to join the families and friends of those whose lives and sacrifice we honor today, the 19 brave men of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
“I wasn’t lucky enough to know them personally. I sure wish I had.
“These were not men merely worth knowing – they were men to admire. They were men to emulate if you have the courage and character to live as decently and honorably as they lived. Not many of us can. But, we can become better people by trying to be half as true, half as brave, half as good as they were, and to make our lives, too, count for something more than the sum of our days.
“The news accounts of their lives and the testimonials to their virtues that have appeared in the days since we lost them give the rest of us a glimpse of what a blessed memory they are to those who knew and loved them.
“Some of them were the sons of firefighters, who grew up wanting to be like Dad, their hero. Some leave behind wives and children. Some were expecting the birth of their first child. Some married their high school sweethearts. Some were engaged and looking forward to being husbands and fathers. Two were cousins and best friends. One rescued horses. One aspired to preach the word of God. One was a standout ball-player. One dressed in a yellow raincoat when he was six and pretended to put out fires.
“Some were born here. Some came here from other places and fell right in love with the beauty and people of Arizona. Some were shy. Others were practical jokers. They were all respected and admired – the kind of men who you just like being around.
“They all loved the outdoors. They were athletic and adventurous. They loved their jobs. They wanted to serve others. They wanted to make a difference. They all had a purpose greater than themselves. They were all young – so young. They were all brave – so brave. They all loved and were loved – so loved. And, they will all be missed – so terribly missed.
“I will, forever, be touched by what their families and friends have told me about them and how much they meant to them and their communities. Their stories teach us how to be better people. Their loss reminds us to hold each other a little tighter, to love each other a little harder. I will always consider myself disadvantaged for not having known them.
“From the little I know about hope in the face of daunting challenge and the indomitability of the human spirit that is so vital to helping us keep our faith and to endure, I hope I can offer some solace when I say, the courage of those who we honor today is immortal. It does not perish with them. How they lived, what they did, will inspire others to live courageously, purposefully, selflessly.
“Of these qualities, we tend to see merely flashes throughout our own lives. In these brave men of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, we see grand examples – sublime, shining and unforgettable examples – that will summon good men and women, today and long after our time is past, to live bravely and compassionately and honorably.
“In a fierce and terrifying encounter with extreme danger, they stood their ground, like the heroes they were, and fought for this community. While they did not come home to the people who loved them so much and who will miss them always, I firmly believe we will see them again in the better world that is to come.
“Until then, we fondly remember the humanity in the heroism of these brave men: their wonderfully unassuming, down-to-earth nature; all of their marvelous imperfections known only to their closest family and friends; and, how, in the face of dire peril, they rose beyond all that makes us merely ordinary and let God cradle them in His arms and carry them away.
“The lost men of the Granite Mountain Hotshots died having taught us all how to live. And, for that – as we honor them and pay our respects to their loved ones today – I submit we should all find great solace.”
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas