The passing of Senator John McCain has been a great loss to many Vietnamese citizens as the U.S. politician had such a deep connection with the Southeast Asian country over the past decades.
Senator McCain, aged 81, died of brain cancer on Saturday afternoon (U.S. time) at his ranch in Arizona with his wife and other family members at his bedside, according to Reuters.
During his 60 years of serving the United States, McCain spent nearly three decades contributing to the normalization and development of the Vietnam- U.S. relationship.
The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi is opening a book of condolences for the late diplomat at 170 Ngoc Khanh Street from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm every day from August 27 to 29.
The embassy is also planning to launch a fellowship to support a “young Vietnamese leader committed to public service” to travel to the United States on a study tour annually.
The program will be named the “McCain/Kerry Fellowship” in honor of McCain and John Kerry, another war veteran who has promoted U.S.-Vietnam issues during his political career.
Since Sunday morning, many Hanoi residents and U.S. citizens living in the Vietnamese capital have also paid tribute to McCain, and laid flowers at the Truc Bach Lake, where he crashed his plane during the war in 1967.
McCain was a naval aviator flying one of ten planes that were shot down by the Vietnamese military on October 26, 1967 and was a prisoner of war until 1973.
However, he previously admitted that Vietnam had greatly influenced his life and given him some of the most important lessons.
|Senator John McCain visits Hanoi in April 2009. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
After the war, McCain’s love for Vietnam continued growing as he returned to the Southeast Asian nation on multiple occasions.
He had joined hands with Senator Kerry and other veterans in the U.S Congress to deal with challenges to the normalization of the U.S.- Vietnam relation, before the historic moment was marked on July 11, 1995.
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Manh Cam recalled his meetings with McCain and Kerry during the 1991-94 period, stressing that he was impressed with their friendliness and sincerity.
“They wanted the two countries to soon normalize their relationship. They told me about many things they had done to contribute to the effort,” Cam said.
According to Le Bang, Vietnamese ambassador to the U.S. from 1995 to 2001, McCain was also a dedicated supporter for the development of two countries’ economic ties.
The U.S. politician also played a significant role in the U.S.’s decision to lift ban on lethal arms sales to Vietnam in 2016, Bang stated.
Flags flew at half-staff at the White House on Sunday.
All five living former presidents - Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter - paid tribute to McCain’s courage and character.