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.
what a great vietnam vet he was a american hero may he R.I.P.
-- Joseph, New York
I loved John and will miss him I love Cindy A great team of 2 extraordinary people
-- Barbara, New York
True American Hero...May his soul Rest In Peace in God’s perpetual light
-- Dave, New York
I had the opportunity to talk with Senator McCain many times in Yuma and in DC. In 2008 I was a delegate from Yuma to the Republican National Convention in MN. Senator. McCain and family sat right in front of me and being there was just awesome. I went door to door for him in Vegas - it was my honor. God bless you Senator McCain - you are in a better place. Thank you for all you did for this country.
-- Cindy, Arizona
I had never voted in my life, then I heard that John McCain was running for President of the United States. I voted for the first time - ever - for John McCain.
-- Teres, Pennsylvania
Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal. May the Lord comfort you and your family during this your hour of bereavement. I pray that the Lord will keep you and your family in perfect peace. The Lord is our Shepherd we shall not want He is our shield and fortress; He will keep us for all hurt harm and danger. The Lord is our provider, keeper and maker of all that spiritually and diligently seek Him. I thank God for Senator John McCain, his service, his devotion to all mankind. There will never be another Senator John McCain, when God made Senator McCain He threw away the mold. Senator McCain had a heart of pure Gold a Spirit that he shared with all the people, whom he will never know that his spirit had touched. I was always impressed with Senator McCain. To God Be the Glory....
-- Marsha Gayle -, Arkansas
I always felt a sense of ease with Mr. McCain being in our country’s government. I could trust that he would fight for what was right and needed to be done. I love that he spoke his mind and said things outright. I wish all his family sincere wishes at this difficult time.
-- Rebecca, Ohio
A lot of respect for this true American, your honesty and social awareness. You will be deeply missed.
-- Karel and Ellen, Netherlands
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
It was such an honor working on the 2008 campaign. If anyone deserved to be the President of this country, Senator John McCain was the one. Spent his entire life serving this country, what a loss to all Americans.
-- Candace, California
I lost my big role model!
-- Chris, Germany
Not a memory, but a wish! A wish that those in Congress would learn from him and share his true bipartisan integrity and humanity for all! Thank you John McCain for you service, your love of America, and for maintaining a positive, professional, and inclusive approach in a time that many others don't. To all of John McCain's family and close friends, know that you are in the thoughts and prayers of millions of grateful Americans and others around the world! God bless!
-- Craig, Illinois
You are a tough act to follow and will be missed. America thanks you for your service.
-- Vicki, Montana
The only thing is to pray for him. May God RIP.
-- mafuli, Florida
Some politicians will be remembered as a good Republican or a good Democrat. John McCain will be remembered as a good man.
-- Richard, Indiana
As a young person starting to notice politics, I first became familiar with Senator McCain when he was running for President and selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. In the years after that, I would see him in the news and was impressed with his work and the heart felt sentiment he gave upon his return to the Capital after his diagnosis. We need more people like the Senator both in government and society. Patriotism is everything and too many people treat it like nothing these days. That needs to change.
-- Bobbi, Pennsylvania
Mrs. McCain, I am so sorry for your loss. I was fortunate to have met Senator McCain in March of 2017 on a flight from Brussels to DC. Senator McCain took the time to speak with me and I greatly appreciate it. We spoke about Israel, and the importance of public service. He commented on the fact that two of his favorite places in the world were Jerusalem and Istanbul. I have a great admiration for his courage and willpower to fight for what he believed in until the very end. I only spoke with him for five minutes but those five minutes have made me proud of my Americorps service and in pursuing my MSW. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. The world truly lost an incredible individual. He will forever be missed. Sincerely, Miriam Goldstein
-- Miriam, Maryland
I truly "enjoyed" my Hanoi Hilton time with John. To the maximum extent possible, he made prison "fun". He was a red-blooded American guy from the git-go and right up to the end. And politically, he was always about ten levels above the average politician in that he'd lived all his prison years in a system where they have only one political party, which owned the army, the factories, the raw materials, the TV stations, the newspapers, the publishing houses where every book for every child in every grade was published. No competition. John appreciated our system in which our two major parties keep each other honest, to say the least. John always struggled to protect our system, and he knew from first-hand experience that the biggest problem Americans have is that they have no clue as to how lucky they are. God Bless John Sydney McCain III.
-- Larry, California
I met Senator McCain at a book signing ceremony in Houston, TX. It was a honor for me to to meet with this officer and gentleman. RIP Senator McCain. My deepest condolences to Senator McCain’s family.
-- Bathiya, New York
Rest well, Mister McCain. You did well in your life.
-- Quan, California
One of America’s true heroe’s . He will be truly missed by everyone. May God bless his family & give them comfort with beautiful memories.
-- Pam, Florida
FINE MAN. SEND PRAYERS AND LOVE...TO FAMILY....
-- joeann, Kentucky
Senator Mccain was a true hero and statesman. He will be missed by American citizens. I"m so sorry for your loss.
-- diane, Florida
Trusted Statesman. Thank you for your dedication and your service. Barbra a democrat
-- Barbra, Illinois
Honorably served and will be missed!!
-- Beverly, Arizona
While I didn’t always agree with Senator McCain, he was a patriot, and on two occasions I wrote him, he either answered or sent my letter to my congressman. I admired him, and even if I didn’t always agree, I thought he was a patriot, a man who went thru a living hell so many of us can’t imagine, and he served his country with honor and A sense of what was right. May God bless him always!
-- Carlos, Texas
I just wish we had 2008 to do over again!!! John McCain was a great man. I voted was for him in both 2000 and 2008.
-- Joseph, Illinois
Thank you, Senator McCain.
-- Wendy, Arizona
I graduated from the Naval Academy in 1959. I remember meeting him on several Saturdays while marching off conduct violations during our time at the academy. In 1969 I acquired a POW bracelet with John?s name and date of captivity inscribed on it. I wore it until his return to the USA. I am giving the bracelet to my grandson, who as been a loyal fan of John since he was 5 years old. John will always be remembered for his courage and loyalty to the United States of America. May he rest in peace knowing that he has fought for a better world and a great America.
-- Patrick, Arizona
The world has lost a great statesman who was respected by people all over the globe. I never met him personally but nevertheless felt inspired by his strong and clear vision about the role of the United States in the global political system.
-- Mike, Germany
I’m at a loss for words tonight. Both in the midst of war and in the halls of Washington, Senator McCain's dedication to our country never faltered. In this era of talking heads and 24-hour news cycles, John McCain reminded us that we are not defined by our divisions or our disagreements but by our common bond as Americans. We can never replace him but we can honor him by continuing his mission. Thank you, Senator. hashtag#countryfirst
-- Maya, Washington, D.C.
John McCain was a diamond in the dust of Washington, D.C. He was a precious gem. Our sympathies to the family of an extraordinary man. Rest in peace, John. Chad and Barbara Zitta
-- Barbara, Pennsylvania
Our country and the whole world have lost an awesome compassionate man. He was wise most of the desicion he took while voting on any bill it was always what is good for the USA and not what was good for the country. Senators like him are very few. God has gained a loving car in Angel. Rest in peace maverick.
-- Elie, Arizona
EL MUNDO HA PERDIDO A UN HEROE, UN EJEMPLO PARA TODOS. UN LUCHADOR. DESDE ESPAÑA MI MAS SENTIDO PESAME A LA FAMILIA, AMIGOS Y AL PUEBLO AMERICANO. DESCANSE EN PAZ
-- JUAN JOSE, Spain
God bless you sir. Be bless your service you for this nation!
-- Thomas, South Carolina
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
RIP John A true hero.
-- Gary, California
Our two kids, Mary Leigh and Joshua had their first public service experiences working hard in NH and CT on the 2008 campaigns. The Senator was kind enough to remember "the kid in the yellow jacket" years later. Tracy, the now-adult "kids" and I all appreciate the opportunity and honor to support this great American. I we only hope that he was not the last of his breed.
-- Michael, Connecticut
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
What I remember most is attending the Arizona Women's Conferences sponsored by Senator McCain. He brought in keynote speakers and wonderful workshops that provided women a place to network as well as gain knowledge. He was a great senator and Arizona was lucky to have him. He brought integrity, humor, dedication, and the willingness to work across the aisle to Washington. Thank you to the McCain family for sharing him with us all. May God bless him and you.
-- Mary, Florida
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
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
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
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
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
My father graduated in 1938 from USNA and served in WWII and was always proud to serve his country. I identify with the loyalty with which John McCain served God and his country. May you be comforted in knowing he is reaping his reward in heaven.
-- Barbara Dimmick, North Carolina
He should have been our President. A person worthy of the most important position in the free world.
-- David, Connecticut
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
It is a fact that Sen. John McCain is from the United States, but he is to serve the people everywhere. He did not choose to only become a leader for the people of the America, but he chose to lead and empower thousands of young men and women of the world to become leaders. His commitment to excellence has inspired thousands, and his actions will do touch the lives of millions. McCain’s fight was for a cause greater than self-interest. For me, it is his greatest legacy. This rich legacy of Sen. John McCain will take the new generation of leaders to a level that they can make the world more peaceful.”
-- Siham, Iraq
Peace with Lord.
-- Howard, California
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