WATCH: John McCain’s POW Confession Videos

McCain 1967

Getty This file picture taken in 1967 shows US Navy Airforce Major John McCain lying on a bed in a Hanoi hospital as he was being given medical care for his injuries in 1967.

John McCain passed away from brain cancer at the age of 81. Born in 1936, McCain has been serving as a politician from Arizona since 1987. McCain was a POW during the Vietnam war. He was captured on October 26, 1967 while flying his 23rd bombing mission over Hanoi. His plane was shot down by a missile and he fractured both arms and a leg when he ejected. He was subjected to severe torture while he was in captivity for five-and-a-half years. At one point, things got so bad that he committed suicide. He eventually broke down and made an anti-U.S. propaganda confession tape, which he regretted all his life. But everyone has a breaking point, and no one blamed McCain for breaking after all that he endured. You can listen to the confession tape in the video below:

The confession tape was referred to as the “Tokyo Rose” propaganda recording, and it was made in 1969. While in captivity, McCain was beaten so much that he gave in to making an anti-U.S. propaganda tape. The tape resurfaced in late 2016, when independent news journalist Charles Johnson said he uncovered the recording because it had been mislabeled by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. In the tape, McCain takes responsibility for flying bombing missions, claims he is guilty of crime against the Vietnamese people, and claims he was given humane treatment since captured. McCain never tried to hide the truth about the tape. He was tortured for days and made the confession after extreme physical abuse, a decision he regretted the rest of his life. The National Archives verified the tape as authentic.

Sadly, some of his political opponents tried to use the tape as evidence that he wasn’t truly a war hero. But no one believed this to be true. When his father, an admiral, was offered a chance to get his son released early, McCain refused unless the other POWs were also released. As a result, he remained in captivity much longer. He definitely put his country first, as long as he could.

In 1967, while he was in captivity, McCain was interviewed by a French journalist. He gave the interview believing the journalist would take a message back to his family. McCain said that the North Vietnamese staged the interview, making it look like he was being kept in a nice room with a big bed. They also tried to set his broken bones before the interview, which they hadn’t done before. You can watch that interview below:

Some believe that the all his trembling is from the extreme pain he was in when they tried to set his bone haphazardly before the recording. The video above was released in 2008 by the French National Archive and the interview was conducted by French reporter Francois Chalais. He talked about what happened when he was shot down: “I was on a flight over the city (Hanoi) … and I was bombing and I was hit by a missile or anti-aircraft fire, I’m not sure which.” He said his plane went straight down. During the interview he said he was treated well. When asked what he ate he said, “It’s not like Paris… (but) I eat it.”