From his enlistment in the Navy at age 17, to his service with the Marines in the Korean war, to his time as Secretary of the Navy, to his five terms in the United States Senate, John Warner lived an extraordinary life of service and accomplishment.
I had the privilege of serving alongside John in the Senate for three decades. The John Warner I knew was guided by two things: his conscience and our Constitution. And, when acting in accordance with both, he neither wavered in his convictions nor was concerned with the consequences.
From fighting for international rules and norms to help keep the peace among nations, to his principled stances to oppose torture and support our Armed Forces and our national security, I always knew that John’s decisions were guided by his values—even when we disagreed on the policy outcomes. When told that if he voted in a way that was not in line with his party’s position—as he did numerous times on issues of rational gun policy, women’s rights, and judicial nominees—that “people would say,” his favorite rejoinder was, “Let ‘em say it.”
Indeed, that was his response when, in one of the great honors of my career, he crossed party lines to support me in the 2020 election.
When Senator Warner left the Senate, he asked that the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, O Ship of State be read into the Senate Record.
In that poem is the stanza:
In spite of rock and tempest’s roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea!
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee.
Through his service in uniform and the Senate, John Warner deftly helped guide our ship of state. Today our hearts and prayers are with his family.