Defining legacy

The landmark of the 2022 Legacy Experience began with a moving tribute at the John S. McCain Memorial in Hanoi, just beside the lake where he was shot in 1967. Remarks were read on behalf of the delegation before a wreath-laying ceremony.

“We mourn his absence, but we rejoice in his legacy,” said Elisa Massimino, Global Advisory Council member. “John McCain had a secret weapon in the struggle for freedom and dignity. It lives on in each of you.”

After the ceremony, the delegation visited Hỏa Lò Prison for a guided tour of the prison’s history, and were joined by Bui The Gang, a veteran of the North Vietnamese Army and an acquaintance of Sen. McCain. The tour of the prison offered insight into how the Vietnam war, and all wars, can look very different depending on the perspective.


During a graduation ceremony at the end of the week, four members of the cohort gave speeches — one from each of the four regions that the leaders represent: MENA/Africa, Europe/Eurasia, Oceania and the Western Hemisphere.

Mook delivered the commencement address, where he urged the cohort to be the main characters in each of their extraordinary stories.

Each of the speeches reflected the sentiment that while it was Sen. McCain’s legacy that they were there to learn from, ultimately, the program is built to help each of the leaders forge their own legacies going forward.

Written by Patrick McCann/McCain Institute