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Mourner recounts 'extraordinary' encounter with John McCain

A steady stream of mourners, of all ages and political persuasions, lined up outside the Arizona State Capit...

Posted: Aug 30, 2018 8:49 AM
Updated: Aug 30, 2018 8:49 AM

A steady stream of mourners, of all ages and political persuasions, lined up outside the Arizona State Capitol in the midday 104-degree heat to pay their respects to Sen. John McCain.

Among them was John Goodie, a former Mesa High School security guard and football coach, who arrived two hours early carrying an American flag to remember the man who once sought him out in the most unexpected of encounters.

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Goodie, who lives in Gilbert, Arizona, met McCain in 1996 while working at Mesa High School. After speaking to the local Young Republicans inside, McCain insisted to his hosts that he needed to meet the school's security guard.

A black car pulled up to Goodie's post. McCain jumped out of the back seat, and asked him if he was "Big John Goodie."

"He said I just want to thank you for your efforts on the Martin Luther King holiday," Goodie recalled, noting that he helped lead the drive to honor King in Arizona. In 1983, McCain voted against legislation to make King's birthday a federal holiday -- a position he would later regret.

"Although we are on different sides of the political spectrum," McCain told him, "I just wanted you to know that I admire your tireless efforts in getting the Martin Luther King holiday for the City of Mesa and the state of Arizona," Goodie recalled.

The Arizona senator, who apparently knew of Goodie's efforts from coverage of the Arizona MLK debate on television and the newspapers, talked to Goodie for a few minutes about his football career, then shook his hand and said "Keep up the good work."

"He made it a point to stop by to holler at a $12-an-hour security guard," said Goodie, who explained that he went on later to be one of Barack Obama's delegates at the Democratic National Convention. "I was blown away. That is a priceless moment in my mind. That encounter is one that I will never forget. That fact that he sought me out. That was priceless to me."

On the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death during the 2008 presidential campaign, McCain (and Hillary Clinton) made the pilgrimage to the Lorraine Motel where King was killed.

In Memphis, in April of 2008, McCain pointedly apologized for his 1983 vote: "We can all be a little late sometimes in doing the right thing."

The Arizona senator recalled that he had learned of King's death while in his prison cell in North Vietnam.

McCain said he felt "just as everyone else did back home, only perhaps even more uncertain and alarmed for my country in the darkness that was then enclosed around me and my fellow captives. ... The enemy had correctly calculated that the news from Memphis would deeply wound morale and leave us worried and afraid for our country."

McCain had changed his position after studying King's history and realizing that he was "a transcendent figure in American history" who deserved to be honored.

Reflecting on McCain's legacy, Goodie said he most admired McCain's "courageousness."

"He was a brave man. He was a very respectable statesman," Goodie said Wednesday as he made his way in line toward the entrance of the Arizona State Capitol where McCain is lying in state.

"He didn't hold back. When he made mistakes, he apologized -- like the Confederate flag and a number of other things," Goodie said. "That takes a special individual. That's something I hope the history books will record. ... That's bravery. Even though in his politics, he turned against his President, he kept his head up all the way to the end."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20772248
Hinds19888408
Harrison17489302
Rankin13311275
Jackson13097243
Madison9895210
Lee9856169
Jones8290160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7187237
Lowndes6262144
Lamar610584
Lafayette6027117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4419139
Warren4280118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403675
Neshoba3987176
Lincoln3869108
Hancock372085
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3180104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265779
Wayne261341
Leake261073
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120041
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81823
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518899

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753641487
Mobile37763798
Madison33859494
Tuscaloosa25266443
Montgomery23962565
Shelby23106238
Baldwin20631300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14284311
Morgan14139268
Etowah13662345
Marshall11957219
Houston10380278
Elmore9993200
Limestone9811147
Cullman9470188
St. Clair9426234
Lauderdale9215227
DeKalb8746181
Talladega8058171
Walker7087275
Jackson6754110
Autauga6723103
Blount6483135
Colbert6203130
Coffee5399112
Dale4767110
Russell428838
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia387674
Dallas3527149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256258
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218775
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171440
Washington164038
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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