I am pretty sure I have never (knowingly) posted anything political on this site. And I am pretty sure, I never will again. But this weekend our country became slightly-less-American after the passing of John McCain. We lost a great one.

We knew it was coming. The harsh reality of being familiar with glioblastoma, was knowing the prognosis once his diagnosis was announced. I also read, as everyone did, the family’s statement that he had decided to stop treatment.

But still, on Saturday night, when my older son texted me, “John McCain died,” my heart sank. My son knew this was important to me; I have spent the past two days explaining to him why.

For those of us from Arizona, especially those around my age, we grew up with John McCain. He was elected to the House of Representatives when I was nine and has served our state and our country ever since. I remember when he was elected to the senate, a seat vacated by another great Arizona politician, Barry Goldwater. I remember living through the Keating 5, and then teaching U.S. History in Arizona and talking to my students about this remarkable patriot who dedicated his life to the service of our country. His daughter was a student at the high school where I taught, though I don’t know her, and I remember thinking about John McCain through the eyes of his daughter. My heart breaks for his children; we lost a hero, they lost their dad.

I remember moving to Annapolis 14 years ago, and learning they love him here as much as we love him in Arizona. I started reading more about John McCain and his life at the Academy: how that shaped him and defined his values. As a USNA sponsor mom, I thought, “Could you imagine if your plebe was John McCain?!” He was, and will most likely remain, the only politician whose bumper sticker I put on my car.

I have never met Senator McCain, but I share his love of Arizona and his love of Annapolis; they are my two homes as well. I understand why he spent the past year in Arizona, and I understand his desire to be buried in Annapolis. I have followed his career with great pride, knowing he hails from my home state. As a history major (and teacher), I know there are few people with his courage, honor and grit.  He served his country until the day he died.

It will be an honor to welcome him home to Annapolis.