I served in the United States Air Force (AWACS) and am a Vietnam War Veteran. I flew 120 Arial Combat Support Missions and was awarded four Air Medals. I spent the majority of my career working for the public sector and am considered an expert in public administration. I also served on the Board of Directors for the National Forum for Black Public Administrators. I served governors and political appointees, both Democratic and Republican Administrations.
One of my greatest honors was to serve as co-chair of the Arizona Veterans Committee for John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008. I also served as an Arizona delegate (alternate) for the Republican National Convention in support of John McCain. While the overall campaign was not successful, there was one consistency – John McCain’s relentless determination to continue to serve the people and this country. There has been much commentary about his care for the people and this great nation.As an African-American, I was asked by friends, family and the media: “Why do you support John McCain?
My response was, I have and will always support the candidate I feel is best for the country and the people, regardless of the political party, race or gender. I believed then and I believe now, John McCain was the better candidate.
I also have the utmost respect for our first African-American President, Barack Obama. As far as I am concerned, there is something they have in common as it relates to history – they both left their mark.
After the 2008 Presidential Election, John McCain told me he felt bad because he let me and others down. That was just another demonstration of his character and his care for all of us. He was very sincere and I could feel it bothered him. I told him he should not feel that way, given what he has done and was doing for this nation.
I am not going to restate all the good things that have been said the last several days regarding John McCain, they are all true. He is the role model for what this country needs, he has set the standard for other political hopefuls to follow.
My final message to John: You will always be my Commander-In-Chief.
Edward O. Willis lives in Phoenix, Arizona