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 served in Vietnam. Your legacy will inspire the young men and women thinking about entering the military and flying aircraft. Your unselfish position, and willing to sacrifice your life on behalf of the soldiers on the ground is appreciated. Your gallantry in action saved many lives, like myself. Mr. McCain, know that we will always love you, respect you and pray for you and your beautiful family!
-- Carlos, Texas
I am a great admire of John S. McCain. God bless him! My condolences to his family.
-- Guillermo, Florida
I was so excited when he ran for President; I knew he would put the office and the country first. My husband and I both voted for him, and were very disappointed when he lost the election. He will be remembered, and he will be missed.
-- Miranda, New Jersey
My entire job experience has been in one way or another working for Senator John McCain. His presidential staff hired me two days out of college, and I have been a proud member of Team McCain ever since. John McCain taught me the importance of hard work, the fact that sometimes setbacks are actually doors opening elsewhere, and the true meaning of being an American….(and that campaigns build character and are the best place to find friends and teammates.) I will miss Senator McCain so much, but I know his legacy lives on in all of us that knew him and those who will read his books, study his legacy and strive to make our nation safer and stronger.
-- Whitney, Virginia
My deepest condolences. Thank you for being a great senator. I’m a democratic and I have the highest respect for you.
-- Maria, California
he was a great senator from the state of Arizona. Anthony , Greenville
-- Anthony, North Carolina
I send my heartfelt condolences to a man that fought the fight in so many ways ...probably the hardest fight was the horrible disease called cancer.May he RIP.So sorry to his family.
-- Marion, New York
I worked on the last mccain campaign and I will never forget how much he respected his opponents. He was a class act and spoke well of all- even those who did not return the respect. Thank you Senator for teaching us was kindness and virtue looked like.
-- D, Arizona
Please keep watch from above, and help us when you can. It is with deepest sympathy, and regret, that we have to say goodbye. We will miss you John! May God bless and keep you whole and safe at his side. Until we meet again . . . .
-- Dorothy Cora, Arizona
We lost a tremendous man, warrior and public servant. God speed to the family
-- Kevin, Illinois
Citizen – hero – patriot
-- Citizen – hero – patriot, New Jersey
You taught us to forgive. I wish I could have been a better student .
-- Nolan, California
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
I never met Senator McCain personally, but worked diligently on his Presidential Campaign in GA. I wish he had been our President over those eight years, but it was not to be. My husband is a former Marine, so I greatly appreciate the sacrifices our military give for our country. I greatly appreciate and am thankful for John McCain and his great service to our country. may he Rest in Peace. May God be with you, his family and give you comfort and peace. Fair winds and following seas.
-- Carolyn, Georgia
God Bless him.
-- Andrew, California
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
Great Leader,our country will surely miss his leadership.Condolenses to his family.
-- Johnsie, North Carolina
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
Clearly the loss of a fine and decent man ; our sympathy to his family , to his state and his great country. A hero indeed !
-- Al and Angela, Canada
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
He was a good man that cared about American's !!!! Rest In Peace!!!!!
-- Nichelle, Tennessee
As a Starbucks barista in Cottonwood, Az for the past 11 years, I had the privilege of making the Senator, and his family their favorite drinks several times a year. We never spoke politics. We talked about our kids, we talked about movies, we shared a lot of laughs. He got a kick out of a John McCain bobble head my son bought me for Christmas, and I made fun of his wearing the same shirt every time I saw him. I respected him for his unending service to our country, I loved him for his sense of humor and affection. Rest east, my dear friend, the holidays will never, ever be the same for us in the Verde Valley.
-- Sandy, 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
I never knew John personally but he would be the one to have on your side. I wished that John would have been president back in 2008. He will be missed. My sympathies to the McCain family during this hard time. I lost my father to this evil disease cancer back in 2012 and it is still hard to think it has been that long but the memories keep him alive. To the McCain family you will have a lifelong of memories of John close to your heart.
-- TODD, Minnesota
megan McCain sorry about your dad he was the best man and president god will take care of him and rest in heaven thanks lord 2018 by joel mansfield
-- joel, Texas
Thank you for your years of dedication to the United States, your commitment to uphold the Constitution and contributions for human rights. You will be missed. God Speed Senator.
-- Tedi, Texas
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
Well, I didn't know Senator McCain personally, but when I heard about his cancer diagnosis, I started to pray and didn't stop. You, see I lost my mother Hallie Lousie Williams, last year 7/17/2017 to the same type of cancer. I was hoping the Maverick had one last trick up his sleeve. He will be missed!
-- Angela, Illinois
Senator McCain was a true American Hero and Patriot who deserves the respect and gratitude of EVERY American. Thank you Senator McCain for a job well done. Rest In Peace.
-- Leo J., New Jersey
Trusted Statesman. Thank you for your dedication and your service. Barbra a democrat
-- Barbra, Illinois
I worked for Senator McCain presidential campaign. I was a coordinator for getting him on the Virginia primary ballot. I also work many hours during the campaign. I believe that he was a great American hero and someone who we should all strive to be emulate. Nobody did more for his country than the Senator, and I wish will my heart that he gets his final reward. I would like to extend my family sympathy. He provide my family the freedoms we enjoy.
-- Bob, Louisiana
It was my pleasure to meet John personally, talk and have dinner with him and a few friends in Tucson around 2011. I had the honor to offer a toast for his service and sacrifice to our Country. An honor I'll never forget. Our Country is a better place for his presence and contributions. My sympathy and prayers to his family.
-- Michael, Arizona
Well done good and faithful servant.
-- Marha, New York
To the McCain Family, I, will forever remember Senator John McCain, as a man with the highest degree of integrity and honesty. His legacy, and his principles will live on and inspire many. Senator John McCain, displayed amazing truth and honesty to the very end. He was able to disinvite the heartless, rude and crude President of the United States of America, to his own Funeral Service. I support and take comfort in John McCain's decision. Today, we will salute, Senator John McCain. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
-- Alfrieda, Wisconsin
I am so saddened to learn of Senator McCain's passing. He is the epitome of patriotism, leadership, a true man of substance, character, morality, compassion and love. He served the United States and her people selflessly - always putting the welfare of others first. There is no one like him in that he was an exceptional man and will live forever as an example of what we should all aspire to be. He continues to serve in spirit and legacy as an inspiration and as the gold standard and essence of true American patriotism. This country was made better because of John McCain. If we could all be more like him just think how much better the world would be. Thank you John McCain for sharing yourself with us - we love you and will forever carry you in our hearts. You are forever our hero!
-- Amy, Oklahoma
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
Dear McCain Family, I had the honor of meeting Senator McCain in Houston, TX. He was a very gracious man. We lost an icon in American politics. He was honorable, honest, and a hero. He was not afraid to speak his mind. He helped people in the United States and around the world. He will be remembered forever. Please accept my deepest condolences.
-- Imtihan, Texas
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
Peace to you fellow Vietnam veteran. You are an honorable gentleman!
-- stuart, Hawaii
About three years ago we were at the Tee Pee Restaurant in Phoenix, and we’re thrilled to see Senator McCain in the flesh! Our deepest condolences to the McCain family. It is a great loss.
-- Andrew, Arizona
John McCain was a Wonderful Statesman for our country. My husband Barry Starr always had the greatest respect for him. His heart was always in the right place, he was professional, courageous and we are lucky to have had him representing us through the many years. I wish Peace and Wonderful Memories for his family, loved ones and friends.
-- Gayle, Arizona
Our family has been saddened by this loss, John McCain was a light of hope in a dark time politically. We laughed at his self defacing jokes, his delightful honesty. Most of all, we felt protected from corruption. He was not afraid to speak his mind when others were cowards or motivated purely by the polls. In short, he had guts and conviction of his beliefs. The rest of the party seems to have lost their moral compass. As he goes with our Lord, I am sure he will be welcome. We'll miss you, love and encouragement from our family to his on this day.
-- Renee, Oregon
Good Bye. Well done!
-- Astrid, Germany
-- Greg, Pennsylvania
Senator McCain was not only a great Senator, but most importantly displayed great characteristics and great dignity. He was always known for doing things the right way, regardless of if you agree or disagree with him. I will never forget the moment he stood up for then Candidate Barack Obama on several occasions, He was not bitter when he lost in 2008 and showed and displayed grace. He will be missed. Thank you sir for your service to the United States for the last 60 years,
-- Nicholas, New Jersey
82nd Airborne ‘73-‘76. Was Army. Our son is USNA. Absolutely HATE politics as anyone in uniform of that era will tell you. Bet he did too, but still someone has to have the guts to do it. . What a loss to this nation. Most sad half mast I have seen. Salute and Prayers to your family from WWI army, WWII navy, Korea Army, VietNam Army, today USNA. Thank you.
-- Micheal, Tennessee
Let's put aside politics remember John McCain for putting his life on the line for our country family that has to live without him he's asleep no more pain beautiful memories bless his family
-- Sharon, Nevada
A man who seemed to care. A man with a sense of humor. He had my vote as a person I could ask to be my representative.
-- Scott, Virginia
I was fortunate to meet and to learn from John McCain; but here, I will share a story about a book autograph. I took my young daughter and a copy of Faith of My Fathers to a Tucson event. In the backyard of the private residence, I noticed that at least 50 people had also brought the book. I returned to the front to ambush him. He arrived, promptly signed his book, and was sincerely impressed upon hearing it would be a gift for my father. As media began to record the event, I noticed that my daughter had found a porch swing and was testing the height limits on it. She ignored me and continued to play. So somewhere, there is a video and photographic record of me watching Senator McCain sign his book, and of my daughter ignoring both of us on a swing in the background.
-- Gerald, Arizona
I voted for John for president! I too was a Vietnam veteran! I always looked to him as a leader! He voted his heart and beliefs! John put his country first!
-- Gary, Montana
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