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McCain tells the cross in the sand story in his 1999 memoir, Faith of My Fathers:
“We both stood wordlessly looking at the cross until, after a minute or two, he rubbed it out and walked away. I saw my good Samaritan often after the Christmas when we venerated the cross together.”
In his campaign ad in December, he adds mention of “the true light of Christmas”:
“We stood wordlessly looking at the cross, remembering the true light of Christmas. I will never forget that no matter where you are, no matter how difficult the circumstances, there will always be someone who will pick you up.”
At the Saddleback Civil Forum:
“For a minute there, it was just two Christians worshipping together.”
The story has gradually morphed from being about the humanity of the guard to being about the Christian faith of the guard and John McCain.