"I AM THE LUCKIEST PERSON ON EARTH."

After Senator John McCain's death from cancer this week, men and women from all over the world shared their stories of interactions with the man who graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958, served in the U.S. House of Representatives and later, the U.S. Senate (where he won re-election five times) and ran for President twice.

McCain also famously survived an experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam from October 1967 to 1973, which included beatings, two suicide attempts and two years in solitary confinement in a windowless cell. McCain admitted to reaching his "breaking point" during this time.
It's an experience shared in part by decorated combat pilot and legendary aviator Joe Kittinger, who was also shot down and imprisoned in the "Hanoi Hilton" and spent time in a cell next to McCain. And it's a story Col. Kittinger shared only with Growing Bolder.
Click here for Colonel Joe Kittinger's story of his time as a Vietnam POW alongside future Senator John McCain.
After his release in 1973, McCain returned to the United States to run for political office, where he often told constituents that his five-year ordeal as a POW actually gave his life purpose, and helped him fall even more deeply in love with his home country. McCain -- a father of seven -- was 81 when he died, and helped craft the message that an aide read to the public after his death. Included were these powerful words:
"Thank you for the privilege of serving you and for the rewarding life that service in uniform and in public office has allowed me to lead. I have tried to serve our country honorably. I have made mistakes, but I hope my love for America will be weighed favorably against them. I have often observed that I am the luckiest person on earth. I feel that way even now as I prepare for the end of my life. I have loved my life, all of it. I have had experiences, adventures and friendships enough for ten satisfying lives, and I am so thankful. Like most people, I have regrets. But I would not trade a day of my life, in good or bad times, for the best day of anyone else’s."
Senator McCain will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, where representatives from both politicial parties will present wreaths and pay tribute. Members of the public will also be allowed to pay respects as the McCain family escorts the late senator to the Vietnam War Memorial and a public memorial at the Washington National Cathedral, before final, private, funeral services.

Senator McCain: Thank you for your service. Rest in peace.
This week, we're also paying tribute to Neil Simon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright who died Saturday night in a New York Hospital. He was 91.

Mr. Simon wrote for television and the movies, but it was as a playwright that he earned his lasting acclaim writing breakthrough hits like “Barefoot in the Park” (1963), “The Odd Couple” (1965) “Plaza Suite” (1968), “The Prisoner of Second Avenue” (1971), and “The Sunshine Boys” (1974).
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We invite you to call 407-591-3443 or visit growingbolder.com/bioclinica and learn more about taking part in clinical trials with our partners at Bioclinica Research.

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