Roberta McCain, mother of Sen. John McCain, celebrated her 105th birthday Tuesday.
The 81-year-old Arizona Republican and 2008 presidential nominee tweeted happy birthday wishes to his “wonderful” mother and “we love you mom!” in addition to a 52-second montage of family photos.
Happy 105th birthday to my wonderful mother Roberta – we love you mom! pic.twitter.com/63E912Imub
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) February 7, 2017
She was born Roberta Wright in Euclid, Okla., on Feb. 7, 1912 with her identical twin sister, Rowena, who died in 2011.
In 1933, Roberta married a young U.S. naval ensign, John S. McCain Jr. in Tijuana, Mexico. That ensign would later become a four-star Admiral.
John S. McCain’s father, John S. McCain Sr. was an aircraft carrier admiral in World War II under Fleet Adm. William Halsey.
McCain Jr. died in 1981 from a heart attack suffered on a military aircraft traveling from Europe with Roberta by his side.
For Roberta McCain, her life in a Navy family meant living all over the world, from Pearl Harbor to London and beyond.
A Los Angeles Times reporter who visited her apartment during her son’s 2008 presidential campaign noted the amazing life she had lived just by looking at the mementos in her Washington, D.C. apartment.
“A picture of her meeting with Chiang Kai-shek fronts one bookshelf, close to a larger black-and-white of her father-in-law and other officers standing aboard the battleship Missouri for the signing of the Japanese surrender that ended World War II.” wrote James Rainey.
Happy 105th Birthday to my incredible Nana (Roberta) McCain! You are an inspiration to me and so many others every day. pic.twitter.com/lzHKx8MKmo
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) February 7, 2017
Roberta McCain has three children, 12 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
Her second child, John Sidney McCain III, born in 1936 and the current Republican senator from Arizona, served as a naval aviator in Vietnam. When he was shot down over Vietnam in 1967, he began five years of imprisonment in the famed Hanoi Hilton POW camp.
In a 1971 interview with the Associated Press, Roberta McCain requested no special sympathy for her in regards to her son’s captivity and that navy tradition was important in the family. When John McCain himself was offered release, he declined on the basis that those captured before him should be released before him.
When told in 1973 that her son had shouted profanities at his captors after his release from the POW camp, Roberta McClain was quoted as saying, “Johnny, I’m going to come over there and wash your mouth out with soap.”
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