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Wednesday, January 16, 2008
McCain Blogger Call Report

I got to ask the first question this time! I noted that he sounded a bit under the weather and he acknowledged that he had a little cold due to the amount of handshaking he has to do.

I asked him to give us an anecdote about an incident of personal heroism he had observed. He related a moving story about one of his fellow POWs at the Hanoi Hilton named Michael Christian. In the early years of his confinement, McCain and the other POWs were kept in solitary confinement or with one or two other cellmates. At some point their treatment eased and they were given more group living arrangements.

He described their prison uniforms as consisting of old blue trousers and sandals that had been made out of old rubber tires, but eventually the North Vietnamese allowed them to receive some packages from home, including handkerchiefs. Mike took one of these, some red cloth and a needle and fashioned himself a miniature American flag, which he sewed into the inside of his shirt.

But eventually the NV discovered the flag and confiscated it from Mike. That evening he received a beating for over an hour from the guards. Later, when all the men were asleep, Senator McCain noticed something. Over in the corner of the cell, there was Mike Christian, working with his needle to create another American flag.

I was almost unable to respond, I got so choked up. After the phone call, I decided to do a little googling on Mike Christian. Here's a photo of him with his wife:

Note the items Mrs Christian is holding in her left hand; I strongly suspect those were the POW bracelets that were distributed in the early 1970s. Unfortunately Mike died in an apartment fire only a decade after returning home. According to this page, he received two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, the Legion of Merit, and two Purple Hearts.

Blackfive covered this particular incident of heroism well a few years ago.

There were several other questions during the conference call. I was particularly enthralled by the discussion by Senator McCain and a blogger about the issue of climate change and potential global warming. The senator highlighted that he favored cap and trade solutions, and became quite animated when comparing that to a proposed 'carbon tax', which McCain strongly opposes. He pointed out that it was easy for the elites in Georgetown who can walk to work, but everyday Americans have to drive in to their places of employment. It was a great moment, a slam-dunk.

Thanks as always to Patrick Hynes and Senator McCain for allowing me to participate in this event.

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