McCain takes a walk down memory lane
Young voters may not remember McCain's heroic past
By Steve Holland
MERIDIAN, Mississippi (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain takes a walk down memory lane this week by visiting the places that were important to the upbringing of an impetuous youth from a military family.
While Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama battle for their party's nomination, Arizona Sen. McCain has the luxury of spending the week re-introducing himself to the American people.
A weeklong "Service to America" tour for McCain starts on Monday in Mississippi, where generations of McCains were born and raised on land that had been in the family since 1848.
It will also take him to suburban Washington, where he attended high school, to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he had a reputation for bucking authority and finished near the bottom of his class, and on to Florida, where he trained as an naval aviator. He ends up in his home state of Arizona.
The McCain campaign hopes to not only give Americans a fresh look at his service to the country, but also allow McCain to grab some of the spotlight of the presidential campaign from the Democrats, who are getting most of the headlines with their closely fought battle.
McCain comes from a storied military family.
"We trace my family's martial heritage back to the Revolution. A distant ancestor served on General (George) Washington's staff, and it seems my ancestors fought in most wars in our nation's history," he will say on Monday. The naval airfield in Meridian, where McCain was once a flight instructor is named for his grandfather and namesake, John Sidney McCain. Both his grandfather and his father of the same name were admirals
His grandfather watched the Japanese surrender aboard the U.S. ship Missouri in 1945, then dropped dead four days later. His father was a submariner who went on to command all U.S. forces in the Pacific during the Vietnam War.
"I have been an imperfect servant of my country for many years. But I am their son, and they showed me how to love my country, and that has made all the difference for me," McCain will say, according to speech excerpts released by his campaign.
McCain, who will use his remarks to outline some of the principles he will follow if elected president in November, pledging to work to engineer new retraining programs for workers who lose their job in the weak U.S. economy.
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