STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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.

Arizona

Continents and regions

John McCain

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Misc people

North America

Political Figures - US

Southwestern United States

The Americas

United States

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.

Confirmed Cases: 98886

Reported Deaths: 2979
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7189161
DeSoto569464
Harrison394175
Jackson358570
Rankin337280
Madison334190
Lee293572
Forrest254275
Jones252780
Washington227879
Lafayette221240
Lauderdale2078126
Bolivar187370
Oktibbeha181952
Lamar176237
Lowndes160858
Neshoba1599104
Panola151631
Sunflower149146
Leflore143882
Warren141850
Pontotoc130116
Monroe125369
Pike124954
Copiah119933
Scott118027
Coahoma117530
Lincoln112353
Marshall111821
Grenada110136
Holmes110060
Yazoo106733
Simpson105847
Tate101938
Union101224
Leake96538
Adams94937
Wayne91521
Pearl River91453
Prentiss88418
Marion87537
Itawamba85921
Alcorn83411
Covington83223
George78513
Tallahatchie78324
Newton78124
Winston74619
Tishomingo71039
Tippah70518
Chickasaw69524
Attala67225
Clarke61149
Walthall60426
Clay59919
Hancock59822
Jasper58415
Noxubee55816
Smith55115
Calhoun52912
Tunica50015
Montgomery47020
Claiborne46516
Yalobusha44414
Lawrence43914
Perry43221
Quitman3905
Greene38917
Stone38013
Humphreys37715
Jefferson Davis34711
Amite34210
Webster33913
Carroll33112
Wilkinson30818
Kemper29115
Sharkey26714
Jefferson2439
Benton2333
Franklin1993
Choctaw1876
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 138162

Reported Deaths: 2405
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson20221352
Mobile13558295
Tuscaloosa9029118
Montgomery8894187
Madison800580
Shelby616450
Lee601761
Baldwin564052
Marshall398345
Etowah357545
Calhoun356944
Morgan334929
Houston295421
Elmore273948
DeKalb246121
St. Clair237937
Walker236987
Talladega219030
Limestone215720
Cullman192220
Dallas179926
Franklin179430
Autauga179127
Russell17903
Lauderdale175934
Colbert168426
Blount162915
Escambia162024
Jackson161112
Chilton160930
Dale141844
Covington141628
Coffee13936
Pike122011
Chambers117942
Tallapoosa117385
Clarke110916
Marion97629
Butler91740
Barbour8967
Winston75112
Marengo72820
Pickens67215
Randolph67213
Bibb66411
Lowndes65927
Hale65328
Geneva6505
Lawrence63625
Cherokee62013
Bullock61015
Clay5929
Monroe5928
Washington56012
Crenshaw54532
Perry5436
Conecuh53811
Wilcox53211
Henry5145
Macon48318
Fayette47311
Sumter43419
Cleburne4085
Lamar3822
Choctaw35212
Greene30615
Coosa1743
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 72°
Columbus
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 72°
Oxford
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 68°
Starkville
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 66°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather