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 deepest condolences. Senator McCain was a true American Hero, a maverick and not just an individual that cared deeply for his friends, family and loved ones but a Senator who fought for the people and cared deeply for every American. Rest In Peace Senator, your work is done Respectfully John Connors
-- John, New Hampshire
From on Veteran to another Veteran, My deep condolences to the McCain’s family. My respect and salute to a Veteran.
-- Kevin, Virginia
I was one of the special forces that went in to get my brothers,we did not make it.It seames they new we were coming we lost many of our brothers that day John I do it again because of our fath for one another. REST IN PEACE. REST IN PEACE
-- WARREN, Arizona
Senator McCain transcended political parties and represented the best of Arizona and America. He will be sorely missed.
-- Cheryl, Arizona
I never had the honor of meeting Sen. McCain, but I'm deeply appreciative of all he's done for the country. John, you'll be missed.
-- David, Colorado
I've got very much respect for John McCain. Have peace.
-- Ruurd, Netherlands
You are a great American Hero and you will never be forgotten!!! Thank you for your courage, values, leadership, and service!!!
-- Mike, Washington
My daughter and I were lucky enough to meet Senator McCain on Mackinac Island many years ago. He was one of the few men who still had integrity. Sending deepest sympathy to his wife, children, family and friends. He will be missed deeply.
-- Chris, Michigan
He loved the same beautiful Arizona that I once loved. He gave generously to CHOC hospital where I once worked. Good memories last.
-- kathy p., Alabama
I only met Senator McCain once in my life when he was running for president in 2008 I found him to be a very generous person and very smart you will be missed by everyone. My sympathies go out to his family and to his friends who knew him the most . For to me he was a true American hero and we can't say that about everyone they are few and far between May you rest in peace
-- William L, Pennsylvania
I ran into John several times in the early AM hours at Sky Harbor Airport. He was always quick with a smile to match my own. A great American. A great man. May his memory be blessed.
-- Jeff, Arizona
I enjoyed campaiging for John, at his office. He was a wonderful person. The staff was great there was always, an aboundance of food and treats, for the volunteers! You would never go hungry in his office. My deepest sympathy to his whole family.
-- Marie, Arizona
My heartfelt sympathies to the family of John McCain. A courageous man, a true American, generous, brave, brilliant. Senator McCain...a noble man . I have tear in my eyes as I write this. Whatever your political leanings, this man deserves the greatest respect. He served with loyalty, with honor a and with incredible bravery
-- Diane, Florida
Dedicated to America. There is really nothing more one needs to say.
-- Paul, Illinois
He was a man of true integrity and love for this country and humanity. You will be sincerely missed but remembered as the great force you are.
-- Alicia, Maryland
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
"We have to fight. We have to fight against propaganda and crackpot conspiracy theories. We have to fight isolationism, protectionism, and nativism. We have to defeat those who would worsen our divisions. We have to remind our sons and daughters that we became the most powerful nation on Earth by tearing down walls, not building them." America will be poorer for losing the voice of this brave. RIP
-- Michael, Texas
A leader. A patriot. An honorable soul. A true American.
-- Adam, Michigan
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
John McCain, thank you sir.
-- Al, Washington
John reminded me of my late Father, who also served in combat in Vietnam as a soldier in the Marine Corps. My dad thought much of John McCain and said so on a number of occasions. My support of the Presidential Nomination of John McCain was in part a way of honoring my own father, but also a way of honoring a man who served a cause greater than himself. John truly loved America and all the way to the end. I attended the Republican Party of Florida's Convention in Orlando where I was one of a few present who were publicly supporting John. It seemed that his eventual nomination was in doubt based on the number of his supporters present there. Yet, it was of course an electric evening. May the Peace of Christ that Passes All Understanding Keep the McCain Family in His Grace to Life Eternal. Amen.
-- Jason, Florida
You will be missed Senator John McCain ! I'll Be praying for the family !
-- Carolyn, Kentucky
Thank you Sir, for your honor, courage and service. You will be missed. Rest in peace.
-- Renee, Arizona
Thank you for your service to America. RIP Senator McCain
-- Joseph, Alabama
So very proud to have had Senator McCain representing Az. He is truly a great hero. We will miss his leadership.
-- Angela, Arizona
Mission Accomplished. Rest in Peace.
-- greg, Minnesota
It is my prayer we find someone with your honesty and competence to lead and govern us. God bless you!
-- Steven, Arizona
Senator McCain's sense of duty, honor and sacrifice to his country was second to none, and his deeply-held convictions that mirrored those beliefs was exemplified on his personal life, both public and private. We shared service in Vietnam, but the statement that "all gave some, some gave all" surely describes the Senator for those warriors who are willing to fight for their nation. May his legacy be enhanced by his willingness to fight the battles he undertook for the welfare of this nation. Semper Fi.
-- Mark, Arizona
Our loss is immeasurable on Senator McCain's passing. He will be missed beyond bounds, but he will rightly become part of the best part of the history of America's "experiment." He cared more for the country and people around the world then he did for himself. His courageous contributions to our world are seen in the outpouring of words of sympathy from people from every part of the world. It may sound insufficient, but is meant with utmost sincerity: Thank you, Senator McCain, for your life of service. You are greatly loved.
-- Ray, Illinois
Senator John McCain was a human being that honored his work to do good for others. When I met him, Senator McCain was modest and sincere man. One of the few true heroes of our country. Best regards to Cindy and the McCain family, Hon. C. WS Kim
-- Charles WS, Illinois
I'm deeply saddened to hear of Senator McCain's passing. I knew he was gravely ill, but was still shocked to hear of his passing. I can't believe I actually started crying upon the news. I didn't always agree on the politics, but still held him in esteem for his service to this country. My condolences to all of his family and close friends.
-- Teresa, Arizona
Thank you John McCain! Blessings to your family!
-- Larry, Arizona
For our generation, John McCain stood as a true hero, an example of patriotism, even through the dark hours of Viet Nam, and what was to follow. Self sacrifice .. putting our country above our immediate needs... no matter what the cost. Will always honor his memory!
-- Sue, California
He was truly man of his word. He greatly be missed.. I salute you my brother of the military. RIP
-- Monica, Georgia
Senator McCain and the Institute's focus on character driven leadership sets it apart from other organizations. My experience with the Next Generation Leader's program provided me with the insights and skills to make an enduring and positive impact in Canada. This foundational year provides emerging leaders with an unprecedented opportunity to refine their own leadership values and the opportunity to develop an action plan to make a positive impact in their field of choice.
-- Michael, Canada
John taught me that character is the most important quality of a leader....measured by actions ... guantified with respect ...appreciated with love...he was an awesome soul!
-- Bernie, Massachusetts
I met him and was beyond humbled when he thanked me for my service
-- Terri, Missouri
A gentleman and a Christian this is what I have seen oj Mister John McCain view from French Canada.
-- Claude, Canada
I am a proud Canadian who has always supported,admired and respected John Mc Cain. I extend my deepest sympathy to his dear and loving family.
-- Sharon, Canada
THE SENATORWAS SPEAKING IN AKRON, OHIO AT THE HILTON HOTEL.WE PASSED EACHOTHER IN THE HALL. I THANKED HIM FOR HIS SUPPORT OF ISRAEL,AND HE SAID"DON'T WORRY".WE SHOOK HANDS.
-- HARVEY, Ohio
my feelings for the loss of this freedom hero
-- Luis, Brazil
A real American. One of a kind. So long.
-- Dave, Florida
Then Congressman McCain’s office was next to my Member Bob Davis in Longworth HOB, circa 1983-85. I was Bob’s press secretary and we became friends with John and his staff. He was a regular guy and would exchange pleasantries in the hallway and the adjoining restroom. Each office had a restroom for the Member, but John would frequent the staff facility like it was no big deal. He treated us with friendly banter and one of the guys. I’ve been a fan ever since.
-- Paul, Michigan
John was a great Hero to me. He would have been a great President! I will Forever remember his stewardship, grit, strength and courage! My life is so much stronger because of his Memories! Amen John you served America and the World well! God Speed! Sincerely Michael Charles Jensen of Long Beach CA
-- Mike, California
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
I came to be aware of John McCain as he was active in government service and I deeply regret he did not become the President of the United States. He would have served well. I read his books and have a love of history so I recognize the contributions his family has given. What I love most about Senator McCain was his honesty, and strength, and will do do the right thing. That is real 'true grit.' He had it. He is one of the greats. We need more like him who can pull people together. He did great things. I hope his style will be emulated by those who remain. Thank you and the Senator for serving our country in good times and in bad. But mostly for teaching us how to be honorable, courageous, hopeful, and courteous in the face of adversity.
-- Bill, Illinois
Dear Family, I will always remember the wonderful eulogy delivered at the funeral of my beloved cousin, Col Bud Day. The association of these two heros was remarkable on earth and now eternal in heaven. Now they are both flying with the angels . May God be with and comfort you in your sorrow
-- Geraldine, Iowa
The world has lost a great man. Thank you so much, Senator McCain. You have always been an inspiration. You would have been an amazing POTUS and a beacon for the entire free world. You have always been my hidden president. I salute you!
-- Andre, Germany
rest in peace faithful servant. so grateful for you service.
-- Peter, Arizona
Rest well upon the mountain, mighty oak. May your work(s) speak for you throughout antiquity. America, and the world, have been magnificently blessed by Sen. McCain’s unparalleled service and sacrifice.
-- Gwendolyn & Rev. Louis, 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