Several times in my life and career I was ennobled by Senator John McCain’s willingness to give of his precious time, talent, and influence in support of major causes I was asked to spearhead. In all the occasions when I reached out to him for support, he did not care if I was a Prince or a Pauper; he only cared about the significance of the cause I was championing.
During the turbulent weeks of the country’s 9/11 crisis when our nation’s political and other leaders were essentially unreachable, Senator McCain acted quickly to prepare a wonderful video-taped message applauding my National Summit on Hispanic Education (NAHE). Equally amazing, he had the videotape flown across the country that very day so that it could be viewed by the national audience attending the Summit. I will never forget the impact Senator McCain made on so many U.S. Hispanics with his genuine act of kindness in that event.
Senator McCain would “make all the difference” for me in yet another major cause. As President of Diné College, the oldest Tribal institution of higher learning in America, I testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs asking the United States Government to fulfill its trust responsibility of meeting the higher education needs of the Navajo people and to clarify, unify, and modernize prior Diné College legislation for these purposes. And it was Senator John McCain’s clear and unwavering position that this trust responsibility must be honored by the U.S. federal government that influenced the Senate Committee’s unanimous support for the new Diné College Act. Once again, I personally witnessed or benefitted directly from the seemingly magical congressional leadership that Senator John McCain always gave to all Americans, from all walks of life.
Senator John McCain’s numerous legacies as a great American patriot, political leader, son, husband, and father will certainly stand the test of time—for his virtues and values will forever remain truly unique and perhaps unmatched. I pray history will do justice to remembering John McCain with the reverence we also pay to Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Martin Ahumada