When President Obama delivers the commencement address at the U.S. Naval Academy on Friday, he will have a former presidential candidate and proud parent of one of the graduates in attendance.
John Sidney McCain IV, more commonly known as Jack, will become the fourth McCain to graduate from the Annapolis, Maryland, service academy and the fourth with the same name. About midday at the academy’s commissioning and graduation ceremony, McCain will receive a Bachelor of Science degree, take the oath of office and be commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy 103 years after his great-grandfather did the same. “He will then go on leave, let down some hair, then join his father and great-grandfather as naval aviators,” his brother Joe McCain told CNN. “His grandfather, JSM Jr., was in submarines, commanding three different boats in World War II.” That grandfather later became Adm. McCain and was commander of the Pacific theater during the Vietnam War, when Jack’s father, now Arizona Sen. John McCain, was being held as a prisoner of war in Hanoi. In an interview last year with GoMids.com, Jack McCain reflected on the advice his father gave him on the day he arrived at the Naval Academy. “My dad told me there is one thing McCains are good at, and that is not giving in to pressure, and honor — keeping our honor regardless of what happens,” Jack McCain said. “He then said, ‘Don’t lie, cheat or steal — anything else is fair game.’ ”
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John McCain frequently poked fun at his record at the Naval Academy while on the campaign trail, pointing out that he “stood fifth from the bottom” of his class and racked up dozens of demerits. “If my old Marine company officer were here today, he’d say in America, anything is possible,” McCain said last summer. At a campaign event last October, McCain joked that Jack needed a “DNA check” because he had yet to receive a single demerit. (Jack McCain told GoMids.com that he did accumulate some demerits — for wearing flip-flops outside and forgetting to shave). Meghan McCain, Jack’s older sister, sent a message on Twitter early Friday saying she was in the car with her parents, grandmother and sister, en route to her brother’s graduation ceremony. She said her younger brother, Jimmy, would not be in attendance because he is serving overseas. Obama’s commencement address will be his third and final of the year. He was also commencement speaker at Arizona State University and the University of Notre Dame.