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.
Our country has lost not only a Great statesmen but a true hero. My prayers go out to the family. But know, he will be well received at his new post.
-- Leonard, Illinois
Trusted Statesman. Thank you for your dedication and your service. Barbra a democrat
-- Barbra, Illinois
John was one of the good guys. I'm not American & not a fan of the Republicans. But John was a man to look up to, whatever your politics. You will be missed. RIP
-- John, United Kingdom
God bless John McCain. We will miss you.
-- Jane, Pennsylvania
A leader. A patriot. An honorable soul. A true American.
-- Adam, Michigan
The death of Senator McCain is not only a great loss in the US, his death is a loss for all democrats in the world who fight for freedom and their believes. Senator McCain was an extraordinary and independent personality who did not just say what the present leadership wants to hear. The current policy is poor with characters like him.
-- Torsten, Germany
A lot of respect for this true American, your honesty and social awareness. You will be deeply missed.
-- Karel and Ellen, Netherlands
I never met Senator McCain. I am Canadian. My condolences to the McCain family. May your memories of him be a blessing for you. I salute his tremendous courage and decency. May his soul rest in peace.
-- Robert, Canada
Senator McCain will always be remembered by us as an American Hero and a man who served the American people his whole life. Thank you John McCain.
-- Mr. & Mrs. George, Arizona
John McCain was a true American hero. I'm glad to have lived in his lifetime. Thank you John for your service to our country.
-- Patricia, New Jersey
My memory of John McCain will always be the class and dignity with which he conducted himself during and after the 2008 Presidential Campaign. There is no greater example of his extraordinary character.
-- Michael, Massachusetts
A great American Citizen
-- Wulf, Germany
Rest In Peace John... You will be missed.
-- Alvin, Oregon
He was a great man and my hope in this hard time for our country. Will be remembered forever!
-- vladislav, Pennsylvania
RIP John McCain . You have truly set the bar, and no more need be said. Peter
-- Peter, New Jersey
John McCain, although we never met we share a Vietnam War experience. I served at Hue City during TET 1968. We all knew of the Americans being tortured at the Hanoi Hilton. We could not imagine the horror of what you and the other prisoners were going through. Remarkably, following the war you continued to your death to uphold American values and ideals and serve your country with honor and a sense of humor. You are a true American hero John McCain. You will be missed greatly and remembered in history as one of the great Americans of all time. My heart felt sympathy goes out to your loving family.
-- Ben, California
I never had the honor of meeting John and shaking his hand personally, but did work as a volunteer lobbying for him from my Michigan home in several elections, Senatorial and Presidential. John was a shining example of clear-sighted ideals, a paragon of patriotism in our government, and showed what it meant to be a "Man of the People". Indeed, he taught by example even in adversity's face the meaning of "being a man". He understood the importance of a strong military and the strength of our great Constitution. I treasure a personal note of thanks he once sent for my lobbying efforts. Truly, "The Man Who Should Be King" (correction: President). Ronald Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt, whom he honorably stands shoulder to shoulder with, would be proud. As are all true Americans, and heavy-hearted, as am I. A righteous, honorable man! May God rest his soul!
-- Jim, Michigan
Thank you for your great service to our Country! Rest In Peace and God Bless You!
-- Michael, Pennsylvania
Senator Mccain was a true hero and statesman. He will be missed by American citizens. I"m so sorry for your loss.
-- diane, Florida
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
Vietnam was our meeting place a long time ago. I remember when he walked out of the jungle. God bless you and keep you. I shall miss you greatly. Jerry Simpson
-- Gerry, Maryland
A true American Hero has reached out and touched the face of God. Thank you Lord for the life of Senator John S. McCain. May God Bless you and your family. Rest in Peace.
-- Neil, Georgia
Sadness on the passing of a true American hero. As a fellow USNA graduate I have always admired him. During his 50th reunion at the Academy (during his Presidential run) he took the time to come and address my class 35th reunion. A class act, he will truly be missed.
-- William, Virginia
REST IN PEACE PRAYER OF FAMILY
-- JAMES, Arizona
He was the best and finest... and a rare thing -- an honest man who led us with decency and with care through tough times. He is already missed, and we can only pray that there is a future John McCain out there who will dedicate their life to doing what he tried to do -- govern with honor and with compromise and compassion and, yes, with Decency. Rest in Peace, John McCain. We were lucky and blessed to have had you serve us all those years. Thank you.
-- Donna and Michael, Arizona
John McCain, a name to remember, a man served his country with honor! -- David, a Chinese Canadian Citizen
-- David, Florida
In 2010, my father, an Air Force veteran of the Korean War needed assisted living care. I learned about the aid and attendance benefit offered by the VA. The paperwork to apply was quite difficult. However, once we completed it and submitted it, I contacted Senator McCain to see if he could assist in expediting the processing of my father's application. Senator McCain did, and my father's application was soon thereafter approved. My eternal thanks are with Senator McCain. He did so much for so many, and his service will never be forgotten.
-- Chip, Arizona
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
We have lost a great American. He loved his country and worked for it to be better every day. I had the honor of being with him during his Presidential campaign in Tampa, Florida . Rest in peace. God bless him and his family.
-- Jose, Florida
I admired him for his service in uniform to our Country, his service in the Congress and Senate, his strength as a Politician and his example as a family man. He was valiant to the end and I will always remember his legacy and pray that those who feel disdain towards him and call him a RINO finally look at the truth and honor the man, husband, father, Sailor, leader, lawmaker that he was. RIP John McCain.
-- Joan, Virginia
Many thanks John. All the best to the family.
-- Craig, Florida
I extend my most Sincere Sympathy to Senator McCain's family and friends from the Deep South of Louisiana. As a Brother Vietnam Army Veteran, John made sure that our military was ready to defend America. His time in the country of Vietnam and his sacrifices there cannot be measured, but by God alone. We all have a lot to learn from his courage and wisdom. He was also a great friend and supporter of Firefighters and 1st Responders everywhere. He truly left our Country a better place. Godspeed my Brother!!!
-- Chief Michael, Louisiana
I remember seeing Senator McCain during the 2008 campaign defend President Obama from the accusation that he was an Arab. He said the President was an American citizen. I also remember seeing the dramatic vote on the Senate floor when John cast the deciding vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act. I saw him many times on television and he was straightforward and direct in many of his answers to questions whether they were good or bad ones. He will be deeply missed in the US Senate at a time when it could use the voice of a man with the courage of his convictions.
-- Christopher, Maryland
My deepest condolences to the family. I respected his work as a senator. Arizona has lost a great of the greatest! Rest In Peace, senator John Sydney McCain III.
-- EDWIN, Connecticut
Thank you, Sir.
-- Lee, Massachusetts
A real American. One of a kind. So long.
-- Dave, Florida
I remember meeting John McCain at a book signing sponsored by RJ Julia held at Daniel Hand High School in Madison, CT where he also gave a speech on national security and the Iraq war I believe. This was while he was working in Congress to improve airport security after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I honestly don't remember the speech but I do remember him signing both of my copies of his books, Faith of my Father's and Worth the Fighting for, shaking his hand and having our photographer taken which was later framed and which I have kept displayed on my bookshelf as a reminder of one of the greatest and most memorable experiences of my life. I loved his Straight Talk Express campaign in 2000 and his book, Hard Choices. I voted for him in the 2008 presidential election. He has my eternal gratitude, admiration and respect. RIP John McCain.
-- Gregory, Connecticut
Senator John McCain was a man of honor and brave war hero who always put his country and family first. He is an inspiration to every American and we will miss him. May he Rest In Peace.
-- Dan, New Jersey
Senator McCain gave a truly memorable speech at my graduation at the University Of Penn. in 2001. He opened with this statement: “The invitation to give this commencement address is a great honor for someone who graduated fifth from the bottom in the United States Naval Academy Class of 1958. To stand here in full academic regalia, and address an audience of distinguished academics and their learned students has reaffirmed my long held faith that in America anything is possible
-- Vick, Arizona
Senator, I have been a long time supporter and friend to you as you run for office. I want to thank you for your service to our great nation. Our prayers are with your family. May you rest in peace.
-- Ty, Maryland
My warmest condolences to the McCain family. John has been an inspiration to me and my family. Any man who spent over five years at the Hanoi Hilton and provided leadership in the Senate is a true American hero. John will never be forgotten. His memory will live on. John McCain is my hero. God bless John and family.
-- Michael, New York
I had the honor of meeting Senator McCain and Mrs. McCain at a fundraiser many years ago. He shared a very funny story about how his grey hair made everyone at the kindergarten think that he was a grandfather instead of a father. When we visited his cell in Vietnam, I could not hold back the tears - no doubt the others on our tour could not understand why I was so affected, but I felt that it was more personal since we actually met. Senator McCain was a true hero and his commitment to our country and his service are an inspiration. He leaves behind a truly amazing legacy. Our deepest condolences to the McCain family and particularly to Mrs. McCain.
-- Polina, California
Shook hands with John and his beautiful wife when I did a little work on his 2008 presidential campaign. Nice people.
-- Gilbert, California
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
I was waiting for a flight at DCA when I looked over and saw Senator McCain. My mom knew him fairly well so she walked me over to meet him. He immediately stood up and took the time to get to know me well. I will never forget his kind words to me as a Page in the Senate. His character and strong demeanor will never be forgotten. It was a pleasure to be in his presence. RIP
-- Max, Virginia
I remember him as being a truly honorable man whom loved and worked hard at serving and protecting his country. We need more such MEN. My condolences to his family and all whom cared for him.
-- Martha, Washington
Since I worked in Operation Homecoming I have followed John McCain’s career with respect. He is a hero to our nation and to all people who believe in honor and service. Quid custodiet ipsos custodes? He was a watcher who inspired us all. God bless you and thank you. There will never be your equal.
-- Philip, California
John McCain was; is; and will always be an American Hero. Service and Duty to our Country/our Constitution above all is the hallmark of this flawed human being who dedicated his life to creating "a more perfect Union" rather than foolishly searching for the perfect ideology. He spoke to my Civic Heart from across the isle. He deserves a "Presidential" Library; it's the least a grateful nation can humbly offer him.
-- Manuel, New York
Senator McCain stood by us when we were in a position to lose our house, and intervened with Bank of America on our behalf. His help was invaluable to us and I will never forget his kindness, nor his and his office staff's efforts. RIP
-- Jessica, Arizona
Thank You !
-- Alvin, Pennsylvania
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