Sen. John McCain to get this year's Liberty Medal

- This year’s annual Liberty Medal will be awarded to U.S. Senator John McCain for his lifetime of sacrifice and service.

That word came Thursday morning from the National Constitution Center, which honors men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe. Recent recipients include U.S. Representative John Lewis, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Malala Yousafzai, and Hillary Clinton.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Chair of the National Constitution Center’s Board of Trustees, will bestow the award to his longtime friend.

“I’m honored to receive this year’s Liberty Medal from my dear friend and a great American leader, Joe Biden,” Sen. McCain (R-Az.) said. “It has been my greatest privilege in life to swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, beginning with my enlistment in the Navy and continuing through my service in the United States Senate. Each time I have raised my right hand, I do so with enormous weight of the people who elected me to serve. I’m grateful to the National Constitution Center for this recognition, and am humbled to join the ranks of so many past Liberty Medal recipients I greatly admire.”

According to the National Constitution Cener, McCain began his service in the Navy in 1958 after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. In 22 years of service, he rose to the rank of Captain. He served as a Navy pilot in the Caribbean during the Cuban Missile Crisis and later conducted targeted air strikes in North Vietnam. On Oct. 26, 1967, McCain’s plane was shot down over Hanoi during a bombing mission. He was captured and spent years in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp being tortured by his captors. Despite the torture he endured, McCain refused the opportunity for early release until all of his fellow soldiers were released. For his heroism, Senator McCain has received 17 military awards and decorations, including the Silver Star, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Bronze Star.

It continued, "In 1982, McCain was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving two terms. In 1986, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. He has served in the Senate ever since, winning reelection five times. He also ran for president in 2000 and 2008."

The Liberty Medal was established in 1988 to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution.

The 29th Annual Liberty Medal Ceremony will take place on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m.

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