Senator John McCain's remarkable record of leadership embodies his unwavering lifetime commitment to service. The son and grandson of distinguished Navy Admirals, Senator McCain graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958, and served as a Naval aviator for 22 years, including in North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
On October 26, 1967, during Senator McCain's 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam, a missile struck his plane and forced him to eject, knocking him unconscious and breaking both his arms and his leg.
Senator McCain was taken as a prisoner of war into the now-infamous "Hanoi Hilton," where he was denied needed medical treatment and subjected to years of torture by the North Vietnamese. He spent much of his time as a prisoner of war in solitary confinement, aided by his faith and the friendships of his fellow POWs.
When he was finally released and able to return home years later, Senator McCain continued his service by regaining his naval flight status.
His last Navy duty assignment was to serve as the naval liaison to the United States Senate. He retired from the Navy in 1981. His naval honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Senator McCain was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona in 1982 and elected to the United States Senate in 1986. He was the Republican Party's nominee for president in the 2008 election.
Over the course of his career, Senator McCain served as Chairman of the Senate Committees on Indian Affairs, Commerce, Science and Transportation, and most recently, Armed Services.
Senator McCain is survived by his wife, Cindy,
seven children and five grandchildren.
He was laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland.
Washington, D.C. Public Procession
September 1, 2018
United States Capitol to
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
U.S. Senator John Sidney McCain III was born on August 29, 1936 at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone to Lieutenant John S. "Jack" McCain Jr. and Roberta Wright McCain. The son and grandson of four star admirals, he was raised in the navy and in a tradition of military service that began before the American Revolution.
His grandfather, John S. McCain Sr., called "Sid" or "Slew," was the first of the family to attend the United States Naval Academy, and the first to become a naval aviator, earning his wings at the age of fifty. As a passed midshipman, he served in the Philippines on a gunboat skippered by Chester Nimitz, and sailed home to America on the flagship of Teddy Roosevelt's "Great White Fleet." The Senator's colorful great uncle, Brigadier General "Wild Bill" McCain was a West Point graduate, and served under General Pershing in Mexico. Another West Point graduate, General Henry Pinkney McCain, fought in the Battle of Manila, was adjutant general of the Army and established the selective service during World War One. Various McCains served in the armies of the Confederacy during the Civil War, one branch of the family having settled in the mid-19th Century on a plantation in Carrol County, Mississippi. An ancestor served on General Washington's staff, and Washington himself is the Senator's cousin many times removed.
The Senator was the second of Jack and Roberta McCain's three children, arriving after his older sister, Sandy, and before his younger brother, Joe. His early life was nomadic as the family accompanied his father to various duty stations.
Senator John McCain's remarkable record of leadership embody his lifetime commitment to service. In celebration of Senator McCain's service to others, please consider learning more about and supporting these two causes which were of critical importance to Senator McCain:
Senator John Sidney McCain III died at 4:28pm on August 25, 2018. With the Senator when he passed were his wife Cindy and their family. At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for sixty years.
I was in the far northern reaches of Canada on a wilderness river when Senator John McCain died. We got to our endpoint—Nahanni Butte—where there was internet connection, and I learned that he passed away a few days earlier. It was not a surprise, obviously. Friends had been keeping me posted about his struggles and diminished strength through the summer. Still, it was a very sad day when I heard the news.
Tributes at the U.S. Naval Academy Honoring Senator John McCain today by General David H. Petraeus and Jack McCain.
Through a lifetime commitment to service, John McCain touched the lives of people everywhere he traveled. People from every corner of the world have shared their memories and thoughts about Senator McCain and we invite you to read some of the scrolling messages below. Please share your own memories below.
While I often disagreed with his political choices, I always deeply respected him as a man of honor. Rest in peace, John McCain, you were my Senator.
-- Bonnie, Arizona
I met Senator McCain at a book signing ceremony in Houston, TX. It was a honor for me to to meet with this officer and gentleman. RIP Senator McCain. My deepest condolences to Senator McCain’s family.
-- Bathiya, New York
Senator McCain has been a true Patriot with great love of country. He was a true Statesman and man of honor and integrity. He will be missed by those who knew him and citizens just like me! God is welcoming this special soul!
-- Jane, Florida
You will always be remembered as a person for the people. Thank you
-- DOROTHY, Pennsylvania
Dear Family: With all his many impressive accomplishments I always looked at him with pride . I was pleased to have been a classmate in USNA-58 with him for a while. He was a great man. The country will miss him.
-- Rich, Wisconsin
My Naturalized French-American wife and I attended the first Congressional Dinner in Washington D.C. given for President Bush after his election. Even though John McCain had lost the nomination to President Bush, he was there that night to honor the president. He was standing alone and my wife discovered him and had the most delightful conversation with him about the presidency. He did not try to shorten the visit with her, nor fail to understand every word she spoke with him. He was most gracious and at the end had her pose for a picture with him. This did more for my wife then all the citizenship course on America could ever have done. Thank you John for this. All the angels in heaven will note this when you arrive there!
-- Rob (for Honey), Arizona
Have never had the pleasure of meeting him am 80 years old and he is my choice to have dinner with so much respect for him. Would love to thank him for his service to mankind and country
-- Gayle, South Carolina
I had the pleasure of attending a rally at Sun City, SC when this fine man ran for president of our country.Please remember the good times and ignore those who do not know better.
-- Elsa, South Carolina
Fair winds and following seas Warrior. Your sacrifices will not be forgotten.
-- Justin, Arizona
I am so thankful for Senator McCain's service and sacrifice for our country. I have appreciated his communication through the years when I reached out to him even though I wasn't from Arizona. We are keeping your family in our prayers!
-- Ken, Arkansas
As a former intern to Congressman McCain -I was inspired by his enthusiasm and love of freedom and liberty. We have lost a proud-patriotic American and champion of freedom-Liberty. I enjoyed my internship and have a great signed picture of my friend John McCain. He liked a great debate-discussion and enjoyed a good story. His lifelong commitment to public service is a great testament to his character to protect and defend " that glorious Liberty document" our Constitution- that amazing document- the source of every AMERICAN citizens freedom and liberty! His Country First 2008 slogan was great and timely. Rest in peace my friend from Arizona!
-- Bill, Pennsylvania
Honorable Senator John McCain returning home from prisoner of war status is the first memory I have of this inspiring defender of The United States of America. Since that time, he has persevered in putting country above party. Character -driven leadership is his greatest legacy. May the current and next generation of leaders follow in his path. Thank you for your gallant service dear patriot.
-- FRANCES, Arizona
please accept my condolence
-- george, New York
Dearest McCain Family, I am an officer of South Vietnam and was able to witness Senator McCain’s sacrifice and heroic actions during the war. We are forever indebted to him and his help getting us out of the communist education camp to freedom and took care of our community in Arizona. My thoughts are with your family during this time. Thank you, Tran Bui
-- Tran, Arizona
John, was a hero, gracious, and authentic. It was a pleasure working on his campaign for President, and knowing that he had a sense of right and wrong, and looked at inclusion of all classes of persons foremost. God bless, and condolences on your loss and the loss to this Nation. Sincerely,
-- Steve, Michigan
Thank you for your service to our country, Sir. May His Grace and Blessings be bestowed on your family. A true patriot and leader...
-- Kathy, Virginia
An Honorable man, an American Patriot devoted to what is right for America. You will be missed.
-- Nancy Morton, North Carolina
God bless Senator John McCain. God bless America.
-- Tim, New Hampshire
I have never known Mr McCain personally. My experience of who he was came only from news reports over the years. What I want to say is he was a rare human being and a noble soul. We, as a People, had a unique privilege to witness and to learn from him how to conduct our human relations with kindness, forgiveness, and cooperation. He was a true hero. He will be missed.
-- Ewa, Wisconsin
Thank you for your service to the United States of America, Senator John McCain! You have been a shining example to all of a hero, of a public servant, of a humanitarian, of a world leader! You were willing to fight for your country & die for it if needed. You never gave up. You endured torture that would have broken many. Your bravery is that of a super hero! You lived your life with dignity & have earned my respect as well as many throughout the USA & around the world! God bless you & your family! May you rest in peace, dear sir! You deserve it!
-- Wanda, Ohio
Senator John S. McCain was one of the most inspirational characters of my lifetime. I was an US Army Spec. 4 in Vietnam from 1969 -1970 and witnessed John's return home on the television. I remember being so impressed with his service and the enormous difficulty attached to his captivity. I tell and have told my three children of his incredible courage, service, dedication and honor to this great country. As a politician he represented action, problem solving, respect for colleagues on both sides and an affection for country and respect for its people unrivaled by other members of Congress. He will be sorely missed and our great institutions have lost a great advocate. God Bless John S. McCain and Cindy and his entire family. Please accept the appreciation of a grateful nation.
-- Michael J, New York
I have admired John McCain for years I remember when he was a POW and how courageous he was during this time. Our country needs more people like with who serve our country. His honesty and fairness needs to be more prevalent. May he Rest In Peace and be remember for the hero he was to our country.
-- Elaine, Pennsylvania
The first time I met John and Cindy McCain was in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hills Hilton at a dinner and a reception on that fateful primary night during the 1999-2000 campaign. All I can remember was that genuine smile and his heart filled thanks for our support. Our conversation were spurred by our hopes to create a middle ground that the Republic Party could then build on. Nonetheless, his fight to create bi-partisan unity in the Senate led to another run for the White House. Serving on his Small Business council in Ohio in 2008 I saw the spark for change again and once again felt his desire for a unified party. I was so proud to help John McCain in both California and Ohio. His selflesness and his heart will be missed but we shall carry on his fight for a unified America. God bless
-- Pierre, Ohio
Senator John McCain was a great American patriot and statesman. We need more like him in today’s leadership. We extend our condolences to Mrs. McCain and all of the extended family. He was an inspiration to millions of Americans and a breath of fresh air in an era when vitriolic attacks are the norm. John McCain spoke truth and earned the right to do so by his military service and extraordinary service. He will be missed.
-- John, Kentucky
We were very fortunate to be the beneficiaries of John McCain's courage, patriotism, and principled politics. May God bless John McCain and his family.
-- Robert, Maryland
My deepest sympathy to the family of John McCain on their great loss.
-- Barry, New Mexico
John once said that his life was changed when he realized that he had been put on this earth for something more than his own amusement. I read these words and they transformed my attitude about my purpose on earth. I am most grateful to him for helping me see this.
-- John, Florida
Thank you John McCain for everything you have done for our country. Hero’s never die only retired.
-- Edwin, California
I never met him, but growing up I knew of his heroism and his life experience will be repeated to those who follow. May he Rest In Peace with God.
-- Charles, Maryland
Well done good and faithful servant....
-- Susan, Texas
I truly "enjoyed" my Hanoi Hilton time with John. To the maximum extent possible, he made prison "fun". He was a red-blooded American guy from the git-go and right up to the end. And politically, he was always about ten levels above the average politician in that he'd lived all his prison years in a system where they have only one political party, which owned the army, the factories, the raw materials, the TV stations, the newspapers, the publishing houses where every book for every child in every grade was published. No competition. John appreciated our system in which our two major parties keep each other honest, to say the least. John always struggled to protect our system, and he knew from first-hand experience that the biggest problem Americans have is that they have no clue as to how lucky they are. God Bless John Sydney McCain III.
-- Larry, California
God Bless him.
-- Andrew, California
Sen. McCain was a true American hero, and an incredible American. I am proud to be part of a culture that, with the exception of the moronic, mendacious, slimy ball of fecal matter presently slumming in the WH, was proud to have John McCain as a part of, and a representative of this government; he was a true Man of the People, a warrior, and a man of ideals, who stood up for what he believed in, whatever the odds. Rest in Peace, Sen. McCain.
-- Kurt, California
I first met Sen. McCain and heard him speak at a Tucson pilot's meeting at Pinal Airport in 1989 or 1990 (not sure exact). Amazing man. Godspeed, Senator.
-- Jeff, Arizona
Senator McCain was a true example of a leader! One that works with even those across the aisle. We need more of these now!
-- Michael, Arkansas
Senator John McCain is the kind of hero we so needed in today’s political climate. His sense of duty and honor should be the model of today’s youth. My sincere gratitude to his service to our country. He is the model that our young people should strike for nowadays. My sincere condolences to Senator ‘s family.
-- Florence, California
A PATRIOT,HONORABLE ,AMERICA FIRST. May you feel the hand of GOD on YOUR SHOULDER. GBY
-- Charles, Arizona
rest in peace faithful servant. so grateful for you service.
-- Peter, Arizona
Please accept my sincerest condolences on the loss of your dear husband, father, warrior and true patriot. We are fortunate to follow in his footsteps, with the passion, grace and integrity that he evinced every day. Take what comfort you can knowing we will honour his memory by striving for the highest standards of conduct and service to that which is larger than ourselves.
-- Michaela, Canada
Thank you Senator John McCain for your support of the military.
-- Msg David, Texas
I remember when the Great John McCain defended the name of Barack Obama when a lady tried to say he was a Muslim. He stood up for Obama at a time when so many others are trying to divide the nation. He was a politician that really brought Americans together.
-- Dominic, Georgia
I am sad and disappointed that I did not get a chance to meet you in person. It was always a pleasure to listen to what you had to say! A great man and role model for us. Thank you for your service Sir!
-- Patrick, Arizona
As an immigrant, I am proud of all your legacy, we will miss you Senator Mc. Cain for his brave and resilient personality. The world needs more heroes like you. God bless all your family.
-- Ismar, Texas
A am very sad over the loss of a great wonderful man. He will be so missed this incredible man.
-- Jill, Arizona
Thank you from a dedicated Democrat
-- Linda, Arizona
He was a Hero, a Congressman, a leader and above all he loved our country.
-- Pedro J, Florida
I always felt a sense of ease with Mr. McCain being in our country’s government. I could trust that he would fight for what was right and needed to be done. I love that he spoke his mind and said things outright. I wish all his family sincere wishes at this difficult time.
-- Rebecca, Ohio
We lost to the best american, friend of all. Rest in peace dear Senator McCain
-- Arturo, Florida
John McCain, a true patriot and guarian of freedom. He was a man of integrity. He served h
-- Gordon, Wisconsin
In 2009, I was working as a physician in Phoenix and went to a meeting where John McCain was the guest speaker. After the speech, I was talking with some colleagues, turned around, and there was the Senator. I certainly did not expect that he would come out afterwards to talk with any of us. He shook my hand and thanked me for being a physician in the state. I stammered something about him always being an inspiration to me (I still have a copy of "Character is Destiny") that I am sure made little sense. Still - the fact that this important man would just come out and talk to local constituents like that always stuck with me. If the political winds had different timings, he would have been a superb President - but regardless he was a superb Senator and human being.
-- Marc, Colorado
We are truly grateful for the outpouring of support and comfort our family has received during this time of
great loss. Your letters and messages remind us of the incredible impact John's life has had on so many people
from Arizona, across the country, and around the world. John lived every day with vigor, vitality, and an
insatiable desire to serve the country he deeply loved. While we've lost a central part of our family and an
irreplaceable American leader, we can all honor John's life by continuing his legacy of service and leaving
this world a better place for generations to come.
-- The McCain Family