The Old Salts: George H. W. Bush and John S. McCain

The Old Salt was a special man who came along in a time
when he was needed most.

Naval Aviator George H. W. Bush prepares for a mission on board USS San Jacinto in 1944

A time that is now gone forever.
When men believed and sacrificed,
when hero’s walked the earth in mass.

When patriotism was not just a word
by what men lived and judged
the worth of each,
a man who lived a life
most of us cannot comprehend.

An era now gone
as this warriors tour of duty ends
at this station, and begins anew
in the heavenly fleet.

Naval Aviator John S. McCain during the Vietnam war

Sail on Sailor into your unaccompanied tour, we salute you.

What greater honor, when a man moves forward,
he leaves behind in each of us
the best of what he was.

A defender, protector, supporter, victor, a warrior,
the last of the breed from an era
when ships were made of wood
and men were made of steel.

The Old Salt has reported for duty
that takes him away from us for now.

Those of us who remain behind,
remember, and will continue to remember,
because he now resides forever in our hearts.


As I look up at night, I envision The Old Salt,

Senator John S. McCain

a beret draped just above the eye,

as he draws upon his pipe,

quietly he waits.

The guardian of heaven’s gate.

George H. W. Bush rescued by the USS Finback in 1944 after being shot down near Iwo Jima

The Old Salt. A poem by Mac McGovern

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