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.
I'm from Indiana he was a great person he will be missed I remember when he ran for president and wondered why he had arm problems then I found out he was a war vet
-- Rev. Joshua, Indiana
Senator McCain’s unique knowledge and commitment to the world’s security revived my optimism and determination to move forward. The bi-partisan senator is my role model. It’s impossible not to get inspired by the way he stands-up for what he believes in and how he acts with civility, sticking to his principles.
He is a world leader that has set an example in Washington and with his actions and character, reminds me and my fellow Albanians of what a leader can do and be. Because of him, I am inspired not to settle for the low standards set by any politician.
-- Edlira, Albania
Semper Fidelis, John. You were always one of my heroes and held the ideals of our country to such a high esteem that I became a Republican back in the late 90s when I was a Marine. You will be sorry missed, but the marines at the gate to your next destination will will be happy to see you.
-- Miguel, Virginia
Senator McCain was a true American Hero. His service to our country including the fact he could have been released from Vietnam during his capture but said no, he would not leave his fellow soldiers behind, is a show of true loyalty and courage which cannot be matched. Thank you Senator for your service during the war and thank you for your public service thereafter in Congress. America was blessed to have you.
-- John, Pennsylvania
Thank you John for your service to all people of this nation. both in war and peace. Fair winds and calm seas on your journey. RIP.
-- Robert, California
A true patriot. He will be missed. Godspeed Senator.
-- Darrell, Florida
God Bless him.
-- Andrew, California
John McCain, had he been elected President of the United States, would have not only been a very great president, he would have been able to unite the country, in spite of a hostel main stream media. There was something truly unique in John’s ability to bring any group into dialogue which ultimately benefited the whole. I’m very sad we’ve lost a leader irreplaceable in the younger generations.
-- Beth (Dorithy Elizabeth), Hawaii
A true American! Our country is a lesser place without him! Rest In Peaceand God speed.
-- David, Arizona
I always admired his clear stands and his military career. The US lost one of their moral leaders in a time of uncertainness. Rest in peace Salute
-- Alexander, Germany
I voted for this great hero for President, and felt he would have been great and better than the man he ran against..........RIP Senator McCain
-- Barbara, Illinois
Thank you for all your service,I 'm sure this world will never see someone as remarkable as yourself. R.I.P
-- Jane, Arizona
A well-earned rest for you, John. Truly well-earned in the eyes of God and of men.
-- Marc of Contemplative Pathways, Philippines
True hero. Our country has lost a true statesman. RIP. GOD BLESS
-- AlRose, Georgia
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
Thank you Senator McCain for all you did for the American people and for man kind. You are already missed and will always be remembered for your love of country . Rest easy SIR
-- Harry, Florida
I had an unexpected moment at Reagan Airport when Senator McCain stood about 15 feet away from me. We were both on the curb waiting for our respective rides. I was trying not to stare but also hoping to confirm to myself whether he was truly the Senator or not. I had determined he was the real deal, so while loading my suitcase, I felt compelled to shout, "Thank you Senator! We are so grateful for your service!" He turned towards me with a smile and a wave. As we left, I felt a bit emotional at having been able to express sincere appreciation in a fleeting moment of opportunity. I am so glad he heard me. If more of us could have the heart, mind, courage and determination of John McCain, much would be improved in our society. Our love, gratitude and sympathy to all of you.
-- Christine, Utah
I related to Senator McCain because he was different from most in Congress. He put values and beliefs before political affiliations. He was the best within us. I am sad at our loss but rejoice that he will be rewarded and welcomed in heaven.
-- Jane, Tennessee
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
My extended family and I just wanted to wish our deepest condolences to your family. We are all Democrats and we really always respected and liked your father and husband very very much ..What a wonderful and amazing Legacy he leaves. We view him as one of the most courageous and dignified Senators or Congressman we have ever had or probably ever will have...We know it is so hard for you ...We are all praying for you. God bless you and you're wonderful father and husband.
-- Ardele, Pennsylvania
You will be so missed. The country loved you. Rest in peace.
-- Connie, Arizona
John McCain, we need you more than ever now. If only others could exemplify your courage, honesty, wisdom, grace and vigor. Perhaps now, some will realize your contributions to this country, and how very important it is to put country over party. Thank you, Senator McCain. You will not be forgotten.
-- Sharon, California
Please accept my most sincere condolences. Senator John McCain was a true hero and statesmen, his leadership will be a great loss to our county
-- Pamela, Florida
Admiration for a life well lived, by a refugee from Vietnam, still in-exile after 43 years.
-- TRINH, Maryland
When Senator McCain was running for President I prayed with all the belief I could muster that he would be elected. It didn't happen for a reason, and I hope now John knows why.
-- Lynne, Minnesota
Mr senator John McCain one of my heroes deeply condolences
-- Oscar A, Florida
I met Senator McCain three times, once at a campaign rally in 2000 which is memorialized with a photo of him with me and my wife. We met more privately two other times where we discussed Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. I knew I was in the presence of an American patriot. At a time when are challenged at home and abroad his ,eacership will be sorely missed.
-- David, New Mexico
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
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
So grateful for a strong man who was a POW for 5 1/2 years, returned and gave more service to his country through the political arena, and was strong enough to speak out against one of our leaders who had continued to tear our country apart without Senator McCain getting down in the dirt with the individual. As the step-son of Dowell McCain, another WWII veteran, who passed on some years ago, I am proud to have been encouraged by the life and legacy of Senator McCain!
-- Edward, Texas
Senator John McCain represented the values and character that strengthened the very foundation of our democracy. Judy and I , are joined by are entire family in sending our sympathy and love. I willl never forget campaigning with the Senatorhis unswerving path of love for America,enduring optimism,and unfailing,though occasionally biting humor. How blessed to have known him and have him put “my friend” befor my name.
-- Lew and Judy, Florida
As former residents of Arizona we were always proud that John McCain represented our state. We remember Senator McCain taking time out of his very busy schedule to show his support of support Linkages (an organization promoting the employment of people with disabilities). John McCain was truly a man of action and not just lip-service. May his family find comfort in the expressions of gratitude and admiration so deeply felt by people all over the world.
-- Charles and Julia, Tennessee
Thank you, Senator John McCain. I am so grateful for your service to our country. God bless your family in this time of tremendous loss.
-- Dolores, Pennsylvania
I only knew Senator McCain from TV. I saw in Him a strong virtuous man. I am not religious, but I wish my deepest sympathies to his family and friends. I doubt He will EVER be forgot. Least of all by me. Love John T.
-- John, Nebraska
Thanks Sir John McCain, YOU ARE the Great, YOU ARE an Hero, YOU ARE never die, YOU stay in the sun. R.I.P
-- Hong, Arizona
HERO Above Them All. While he might not have agreed with every person, he respected them all. He saw the best in everyone and spoke the truth as he knew it. God Bless John McCain.
-- Lawrence, Virginia
He was really awesome human being We will miss you Mr McCain ?may you Rest In Peace with no more pain
-- Ana, California
Take your rest...you brave soldier having fought the good fight of faith until your name was echoed from heaven's realm for your task has been completed. Your example of courage will not be gotten. You will be missed.
-- Phillip, South Carolina
I ran into John years ago. He was running through the Phoenix airport on his way back to Washington. He carried his own suitcase instead of leaving that chore to his assistant. When I said, "Hello, Senator!" he stopped, gave me that big smile, and chatted for a few moments, despite the fact that he was obviously in a great hurry. What a guy!
-- John, Nebraska
I never met John McCain, but it looks like he cared a lot about the American People, He spoke up about the what was right and wrong about politics, He voted in the house about which way to go about each bill the way it was planned out, God Bless you RIP John McCain, our condolences goes out to the family, Thank you for your service.
-- Melanie, Arizona
We fly our flag at half staff on our porch in his Honor. As a man of honor, a War Hero and a patriot, he treated people with dignity which is sorely missing these days. Senator McCain will Always be remembered. What a Contrast from Mr. Trump who will NEVER be Remembered. We love you and will miss you forever. Senator McCain was a HERO. Bless the McCain family.
-- sheldon, New York
John, May you Rest In Peace in heaven with God! You lived a life that shows the world what American is about! May God bless your family!
-- Jack, California
I admired him very much as did my late husband. We were proud to support his candidacy for the Presidency. He was a great man on many levels and will be missed.
-- Sarah, Wisconsin
Thank you for your service. You are a true American hero
-- Nancy, Virginia
People like John McCain are what truly make America great!
-- Kippi, Tennessee
I got to meet Senator McCain when I was a young Congressional Staffer in Washington D.C. in 1990. Way back then there was only one Washington D.C. luminary I wanted to meet, it was Sen. John McCain. Try as I might, I could never track him down. Then 3 days before I left Washington, as I was standing at street corner waiting fr the "walk" sign I heard that "voice" and looked to my right and my wish was granted. I said Hello Sen. McCain, I'm from Yuma, and he said well its very nice to see you & inquired about my family and wished me success on my future. Sen. McCain was CLASS and defined SERVICE. He should have been President and showed us what dignity truly is. All my prayers to his family.
-- RODNEY, Arizona
Praying for the family of John McCain at this time of loss. I grew up inspired by his focus and dedication to serve the people of our country. His story is one that embellished the American dream, a true American Hero. His memory will be an example that will continue to inspire the people of this great country. God bless.
-- Tim, Georgia
We lost a tremendous man, warrior and public servant. God speed to the family
-- Kevin, Illinois
I am an independent and I voted for Senator McCain for president twice. He was the real thing. I will miss him terribly. Sheila, Massachusetts
-- sheila, Massachusetts
Mission Accomplished. Rest in Peace.
-- greg, Minnesota
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