Hanoi - On the shores of a still and peaceful lake on the edge of downtown Hanoi, the inscription on a faded monument stands as a reminder of a violent event 51 years ago.
"On Oct 26, 1967, at Truc Bach Lake, the military and people of Hanoi arrested Major John Sidney McCain, a pilot of the American Navy's air force," it says on the sculpture, which depicts an airman with his hands above his head in front of a broken plane wing.
McCain, a US senator who ran unsuccessfully for president as a self-styled maverick Republican in 2008 and became a prominent critic of President Donald Trump, died on Saturday, his office said. He was 81.
The naval aviator was flying one of 10 planes that were shot down by the North Vietnamese military on the same day, according to the inscription on the statue, which McCain himself visited on a return to Vietnam in 2009.
"I felt compelled to come out here and bring some flowers," said Robert Gibb, an American in Hanoi who placed a bouquet of yellow chrysanthemums at the foot of the monument after hearing the news of McCain's death on Sunday morning.