Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, delivered the following remarks at a memorial service at the Pentagon today honoring the 10 sailors whose lives were lost aboard the USS John S. McCain:

“My dear friends,

“The loss of life is always loss. The loss of young lives is especially hard to bear, for we cannot help but mourn the promise and potential that has been extinguished before its time. We will always ask ourselves what might have been. 

“But a life’s duration is not its only measure. Many live to an advanced age only to discover, in the wisdom that age brings to us, that they might have lived better or more fully – that they might have done more for their families, their neighbors, and fellow citizens. It is a painful thing to face up to.

“I spent the formative years of my life in a Navy family and served proudly in the Navy’s ranks. Subsequently, I have spent the better part of my days working with service members and veterans, and I have often been struck by the frequency with which these fine men and women refer to their time in uniform as among the best years of their lives, no matter how long ago or how brief.

“They do so, I believe, thanks to the special pride that attends the memory of service to a great nation. Adventure, comradeship, education, rich experience – these things are all part of the fabric of military life, and they all matter. But there is a unique dignity that comes from stepping forward, as a volunteer, and placing one’s life in harm’s way in commitment to a greater cause. There is no greater cause than the freedoms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, which our Navy defends around the world each and every day. As we reflect on the losses we have suffered, let us recall that the sailors we remember today had full claim to the honor of a grateful America, and that we were blessed to have them among us for as long as God ordained. Thank you.”