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.
A true patriot. He will be missed. Godspeed Senator.
-- Darrell, Florida
My family and I had the honor of meeting Senator McCain at a craniofacial conference on Capital Hill in 1999. He was so kind and spoke with each family individually. A few years later and after exhausting all hope with a very crooked insurance company , I turned to the Senator for guidance on how to get my daughter’s medical procedure covered. He, in turn, contacted our insurance company and had the final appeal overturned and approved. He did not have to help us but he did. A man of integrity and character. We will always be grateful. Forever in our hearts. Well done good and faithful servant??
-- Kim, Texas
-- Vikram, Georgia
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
I'll never forget Sen. McCain's graciousness when he invited me and a videographer into his home after I called to do a TV news story in 1994. I was new in Phoenix television and he made me feel so welcome. We met his wife and children and watched some boxing on tv with him too. Everytime I saw him in the public eye for so many years later, I remembered that day. He was a great American and a great person.
-- Dennis, Indiana
RIP fellow Vietnam Veteran. We met during your 2008 campaign and I was hopeful you would win the presidency. But it was not to be. Blue skies and tailwinds fellow pilot.
-- clyde, Michigan
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
Dear Senator John McCain. I want to thank you for everything you have done for this country. You have been a friend to all of us. You will not be forgotten.
-- Michael, Florida
John McCain is a true hero! He will be missed by all. I don't know of anyone in America who has sacrificed so much for his country! Truly a special man. May America's politicians learn to serve their country half as well as Senator McCain! Thank you sir! Thank you for everything.
-- Toni, Texas
To the McCain family, my family and I wish to offer our sincere condolences on your loss. To me, Senator McCain personifies the meaning of what it is to be a real American patriot. He truly followed the path of Robert Jordan by sacrificing for his country. I admire him for admitting that he after all was human and capable of making mistakes. But he said that's ok as long as you own it. As a Vietnam veteran I would just like to say REST IN PEACE may God be with you
-- Ruben, California
He gave me a glimpse of what a George Washington and Abraham Lincoln's Courage, Honor and devotion to the truth was like. They would have been proud to have known him as a friend.
-- Garrick, New York
Rest in peace, Great American Patriot. Ukrainian people will remember you as the true Friend. My sincere condolences to Senator John McCain family.
-- Inna, New York
To those who loved Senator/war hero, John McCain, and were loved by him: Henley's poem 'Invictus' , intoned so beautifully by Bruno Huhn, is now playing in my heart and mind as I remember John McCain. He lived and died on his own terms. And he left this world better than he found it. What more can one adk of a man?
-- Richard, New York
I saw John McCain, during the time he was a POW, he protected other POW from being tortured. He told me that a Vietnam, soldier came to his cell and ask him if it is true that US Carriers have a swimming pool? To prevent any harm or torture to the prisoner that said this, he answered; " Yes; some have 2 pools".
-- Alfredo, Florida
thank you, Sir. and thank you, Cindy and family, for so generously sharing your husband/father/grandfather with us. it's been a trying journey, and your strength and faith inspire us, too. much love, and the peace of the Lord be with you at this time, and always.
-- Marie-Elizabeth, Arizona
Greatest hero of our time. Thank you for the examples you have set.
-- Lien, Maryland
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
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
A tender touch, hardly felt but with a widespread impact. John McCain’s work on leadership is far reaching like a fire in a wild wind. McCain's character of selfless devotion to country & global influence is empowering next generation leaders worldwide.
-- Mira, Sierra Leone
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
It was a tremendous honor to be part of the convention to elect Senator McCain president. He and Governor Palin would have been great for our country. His legacy will remain: a hero, a warrior, a man who stood for right, who gave to our Country. He will hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
-- Monterey, Nevada
Mr senator John McCain one of my heroes deeply condolences
-- Oscar A, Florida
I have nothing but respect for John. God bless John and family.
-- John, Pennsylvania
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
Thank you for your sacrifice and service. You endured more than we could ever know. I appreciated your honesty and truth....even though I may not have always agreed. I supported and voted for you in 2008 because of you love of country and honesty. Rest in peace sir! Prayers for the entire McCain family as you grieve the loss of this great man. May God and Americans wrap you in hugs and prayers. May God Bless America!
-- Chris, Ohio
I remember Sen. McCain at Wright State University introducing Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. It was a fun and optimistic time. I will always remember his patriotism.
-- Mary S, Ohio
ONLY THING I HAVE TO SAY IS AS A MARINE MY FATHER WAS WWll MARINE AND MY STEP DAD WAS IN THE NAVY 4 32 YEARS. I MAY HAVE EVEN MET JOHN WHILE ON THE BASE AT ALAMEDA. ALL I KNOW IS I HOPE HE GETS FULL HONORS AT ARLINGTON. GOD BLESS YOU ALL
-- WILLIAM, Kansas
Senator John McCain: You have help me a number of times I am in your debt Sir. There are no words to say how much you will be missed sir.The United States has lost a great man and he will be missed. My prayers are with the family and may the father in heaven let you in sir when you arrive at the gates of heaven.God bless you sir as a veteran my self sir I have a heavy heart we have lost a brother in arms. may your soul rest in peace. Almighty father please take special care of this soul in Jesus name amen.
-- Antonio, Texas
The very definition of HERO. Thank you for giving yourself to us.
-- Betty, Illinois
Sen. John McCain was a good and decent man. I'll remember him that way and be thankful for his extraordinary service to our country.
-- Carol, Florida
I am a Texas resident, but that Didn’t keep me from Donating to Mr McCain re- election campaign.To me he was a true Republican. Admire his tenacity, and courage . True warrior. He will be missed by a lot of people. My condolences to all the Mc Cain family. May his Soul Rest In Peace.
-- Gustavo, Texas
It’s hard to imagine American political life without Senator John McCain. His departure leaves a void of congressional leadership, of national security thought and moral direction that seems nearly impossible to fill. If ever there were a moment when his presence is necessary, this tumultuous time in our country’s politics is it. The country - and the world - are better for his service to them both.
It is also difficult to imagine my own life without John McCain. The years I spent on his staff, and every day I've known him since, has been a personal and professional privilege. I joined his office while in my twenties, not quite knowing the amazing adventure that would unfold over the next half-decade. Legislative victories and defeats, jokes and war stories and history lessons, trips to Iraq and Uzbekistan and the South Pole - all with a certain presidential campaign thrown into the mix - this was the stuff my experience.
It was extraordinary, and I count myself among the very luckiest: those honored to know John McCain.
Like so many, I will miss him dearly. But our sorrow should be leavened by the transformative effects he left on the views and careers of his Senate colleagues, staff and friends. Senator McCain's fingerprints are all over America’s law and policy, our institutions and even the way in which Americans think of ourselves and our role in the world. And in all this, he leaves behind something far, far greater than himself – a legacy which is, by his own reckoning, the best measure of a meaningful life.
-- Richard, Virginia
As a daughter of a career Army Officer who served in Vietnam in 1969-1970 I knew the story of Senator McCain. Through the years I always talked to my Father about Senator McCain. My Father passed away at 94 on 10-17-17 and this October will be interred at Arlington. I cried when I heard the Senator passed away. Truly reading Meghan’s tribute reminded me how strong her Father was and though our Fathers never met they shared love of family and country.
-- Denise, Georgia
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
I have followed John McCain's career since I was 16 years old from the late '70's. I recognized his devotion to his fellow countrymen and personal honor. He will always be an inspiration to me and an example of a great American. May your soul be at rest.
-- Scott, California
Thanks for letting us know what respect really means. Senator McCain was one of the most honorable men I have ever seen in politics - a real hero. Fighting for the community and protecting the best values which everybody in the whole world is looking for. These memories will never die!
-- Markus, Germany
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
Senator McCain always spoke with clear conscience, and did the right thing for the country. He is the one that makes America great.
-- Patrick, Texas
Rip my prayers goes out to your family and thank you for your services and standing up for us
-- Lynn, New Hampshire
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
Dear John Families, I really sorry to hear that he is now in heaven. He was the most greatest braver and peacemaker in the world. I am sure we can meet and see each other sin the heaven later. I like to pray for him and all families. Dear God bless him and his lovely families as well as Americans. Sincerely Gerald Lee
-- Gyeryoung Gerald, South Korea
Peace to you fellow Vietnam veteran. You are an honorable gentleman!
-- stuart, Hawaii
Thank you, John McCain, for your service throughout your life! I truly admired you and what you stood for! God Bless and my deepest sympathy to your family!
-- Michelle, Texas
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 met the senator once in New jersey during a campaign event during his presidential bid. I had his photograph in my office since that day. John represented what is best about this nation. We shared a few things; we were both born in Panama ,both loved flying and we fought for Israel and the USA. He was a brave, honest and kind human being. I am priviliged to have know him. This country would have been much different if John had become president. Rest in peace
-- Dr. Ruben, New Jersey
My deepest condolences to your family. He was a True Hero. Rest In Peace.
-- Patrice, New Hampshire
You will always be remembered as a person for the people. Thank you
-- DOROTHY, Pennsylvania
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
I met John McCain in 1985, when he spoke to my graduating class at Washington HS. I became a supporter and follower of his from that day forward. He was an amazing man with strong values. Arizona and America will not be the same without him.
-- Brent, Arizona
Condolences to his Family, friends and all who loved him. Rest and your spirit shall touch us. My older brother lost his life in Vietnam, and so I know John's enormous sacrifice.
-- Cheryl, Florida
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