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.
The American polity is populated by many great people – that is, to say, individuals of power and influence. There are also good people – individuals of principle, honor and purpose who elevate and inspire us by their example. But rare are the souls in the nation’s public life who are truly both great and good. One of the few has now passed from our midst. He will be missed. John was well-known for being hard-nosed in his causes, but he was equally tender hearted. Accompanying his boxer’s toughness and resolve, was a poet’s sensibilities. He was the most formidable adversary and the best of allies. For his colleagues on the public stage he was often both. For John it was never personal or partisan or about the politics. The objective was always duty, the public interest, and what was right as he saw it. On that you could depend.
It’s no secret that John McCain’s hero was Theodore Roosevelt. And certainly no one personified TR’s “the man in the arena” more than John. Like Roosevelt’s ideal, he strived valiantly. He erred and came up short from time to time. He knew great enthusiasms and great devotions. Above all, he spent every ounce of his life and spirit on worthy causes. Three will stand out in our hearts and, hopefully, in the nation’s consciousness for generations to come: for every person to treasure freedom, to love the country and one another, and to serve causes greater than self-interest. As we lower our flags to honor a fallen patriot, may we lift our hearts in gratitude and with a renewed commitment to do and be better. Thank you, John. Fair winds and following seas!
-- John, Virginia
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
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
My thoughts and prayers are with his soul and his family. God Bless him and his family. We will miss his positive impact for ourUnited States.
-- Susan, 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
God Bless You Senator McCain. May you rest in peace and may the country you so heroically fought for find its way back from the current darkness- just like you would’ve wanted.
-- John, Colorado
Forever my hero!
-- Bengi Poston, Texas
One of my proudest moments was speaking for him at the Iowa Caucus, and then voting for him, against all odds that fall. I will always believe that the issues we are struggling with today would not have been so extreme or intractable had he won in 2008. I would have followed him into fire if he had asked. He spent 6 years in a box in Asia, for me, my family and this country. Godspeed.
-- Charles, Iowa
My deepest condolences. Thank you for being a great senator. I’m a democratic and I have the highest respect for you.
-- Maria, California
To the McCain family we are sorry for your lost .The Leon Session Family Much Love ????
-- Leon&Verta, Texas
Senator McCain was an honorable man, a patriot who served our country guided by his conscience. History will remember him well. My heart goes out to his family and I pray the Lord will embrace and comfort them.
-- Candace, Delaware
Live on Senator. I will always remember the kind words you shared with the Public at the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy.
-- Fred, Florida
God bless John McCain. We will miss you.
-- Jane, Pennsylvania
I never met John. I’m a Democrat and have much respect for his military and US senate service. We have lost a great hero and public servant and are poorer for it. There will never be another like him. My heartfelt sympathies to you his family and you are in my thoughts. Mary , Oklahoma
-- Mary, Oklahoma
I did not always agree with Senator McCain. However, he was always willing to listen to what you had to say and explain why is disagreed. If you needed something and called his office, his staff always made sure to check into your issue. As the wife of a Vietnam Navy veteran, I also appreciate his service, sacrifice, and honor. He acted with dignity and respect in all of his actions.
-- KAREN, Arizona
Senator John McCain was an American patriot who served his country with distinction and became a hero to many, including myself, through his selfless actions, placing his country above his personal ambitions . I was proud to have purchased his signed memoir in 2008 and I will treasure it to my dying days and pass it on to future generations. My deep condolences go his family and godspeed John in your new journey.
-- Luis, California
As I sit and listen to the life of Senator John McCain, I knew about his time as captured solider, his friendship with Senator Edward Kennedy. So much can be said about his work as Senator to our nation.I respected him because he put country before party. He ran for President twice and both the men that he ran against both President's Bush and Obama will speak at his funeral service. So to honor his life we all should try to bring back kindness in our lives. To speak the truth, own to our errors and poor judgement. Stop with calling the truth lies, to stop name calling,to respect the press. Not saying this is fake etc. Will everything be perfect in our country no. But take this time to reflect on TRUE patriots of America. That was Senator John McCain. My prayers to his family and Friends
-- tracey, Pennsylvania
What a great man! The definition of integrity is John McCain. For my trip to Vietnam, he gave me note signed by him to keep me safe. A true American hero, he is what our country always needed and always will. He will be missed! John, please guide us from above.
-- Pierre, Arizona
A great American statesman and hero. I have admired him throughout his career. I have retired from the USAF as a Colonel and honor him for the sacrifices he has made for his country.
-- Bruce, Indiana
I do not have a personal memory of this great man but his heroism, service and love for country compelled me to volunteer for his Presidential campaign. I can’t help but wonder if we would have been in a better place as a country had he been elected as President. May his example live on.
-- Deborah, Florida
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
God bless you and your family. Truly a light in a time of darkness. Thank you for being an example of the greatest human qualities. Rest in peace.
-- Karen, California
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
my feelings for the loss of this freedom hero
-- Luis, Brazil
A great man! Thanks so much for your selfless service to our country. You will truly be missed.
-- Linda, Florida
I know a true hero and patriot when I see one. Thank you, Senator McCain, for your valued service to the country we both love! Rest In Peace!
-- Roz, Georgia
Dear Senator John McCain's widow and family, please receive my deepest condolences. As Vietnamese citizens, my wife, Lawyer Nguyen Thi Duong Ha and I am extremely grateful for his great contribution in normalizing and promoting US-Vietnam relations for the mutual benefit of the two countries and for security in South China Sea area. As a human rights prisoner of the Vietnamese government, I greatly appreciated his tireless efforts to improve human rights and promote the rule of law in Vietnam. I personally met and talked with him on Capitol Hill when he attended a campaign for democracy and human rights in Vietnam. The photo taken with him on that occasion would be a precious memory for me. May Senator John McCain rest in eternal peace! Dr Cu Huy Ha Vu
-- VU, Virginia
God bless hero! Salute you sir! USAF Desert Storm Veteran.
-- Leighton, Mississippi
I have nothing but respect for John. God bless John and family.
-- John, Pennsylvania
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
I met the Senator in 2007 during the NH Primary. He was both a gentleman and a great teacher. He was very kind and made sure I was comfortable at every campaign event, while knowing I was a Democrat. I will never forget the time I spent with the Senator. It was both an honor and a privilege to meet him. He inspired me then, and still inspires me to work in public service, as I currently do in the House of Representatives. I don’t feel like he’s gone. Because the Senator was such a force his spirit will be with us forever, however I miss him already. I hope in some way I can accomplish just a fraction of what he has done for this Country. I love this Country, and I will continue to serve it in the best way I can. #RIPMCCAIN
-- Angela, Ohio
I feel very fortunate that I was able to shake this true American's hand a few years ago! What a truly great man of great character and strength.
-- Josephine, California
Despite being Russian, and totally an opponent to the Respectable Mr. McCain views, I have to pay a tribute, homage and respect to the real patriot of his country. That's the kind of people our countries stand on. Rest in peace, Mr. McCain.
-- Alexander, Russia
It is rare in our lifetime to see such a courageous American. My family is so glad we are living during the time to be a Republican American family at the same time as this wonderful and brave man. Such a loss for our country. We will miss him.
-- Errol, New Jersey
We in Germany are grateful for this honorable and brave statesman of the whole western Community. R.I.P.
-- Jochen, Germany
I SAW HIM IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA WHEN HE WAS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN 2008. AND I WILL MISS HIM ALOT.
-- TOBY, Alabama
Mr. McCain is a true hero. When viewing my own life it doesn't even compare to his. He will always be a hero of mine.
-- Shane, Michigan
As a fellow Naval aviator and Marine Corps pilot John may you rest in peace I flew 369 missions in Vietnam and I honor the service that you gave both in your flying skills and your courage to withstand the torture that you had to undergo I rescued many down Pilots as well as many marines Army and others I wish you the very best God bless you and may you rest in peace go navy blue Semper Fi
-- Thomas, Indiana
Heartfelt sympathies to the entire McCain family. A true Maverick willing to help others even those he never met. Thank you for your service, celebration and humility.
-- Kathleen, Florida
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
A TRUE hero, may he Rest In Peace.
-- Thomas, Virginia
A great American, I will miss him.
-- Jack, Pennsylvania
Senator McCain will be greatly missed. His service to our country was much appreciated. He led with an open, fair mind. He’s a true example for all of us in so many ways. May God bless and comfort your family.
-- Lisa, Oklahoma
Many of our nations problems would be solved if everyone in Washington had the integrity of Senator John McCain. - Not a Republican.
-- Brad, Maine
A am very sad over the loss of a great wonderful man. He will be so missed this incredible man.
-- Jill, Arizona
We enjoyed his humor in Politics
-- Gary, Texas
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
In 2009, I was working as a physician in Phoenix and went to a meeting where John McCain was the guest speaker. After the speech, I was talking with some colleagues, turned around, and there was the Senator. I certainly did not expect that he would come out afterwards to talk with any of us. He shook my hand and thanked me for being a physician in the state. I stammered something about him always being an inspiration to me (I still have a copy of "Character is Destiny") that I am sure made little sense. Still - the fact that this important man would just come out and talk to local constituents like that always stuck with me. If the political winds had different timings, he would have been a superb President - but regardless he was a superb Senator and human being.
-- Marc, Colorado
A true American hero and a representative to all citizens! Our thoughts and prayers are with the McCain family.
-- Cristi, Kentucky
During his internment as a POW I proudly wore my copper Bracelet & prayed for John McCain. I still have my cherished bracelet and a Thank You letter sent to me in response to a "Welcome Home" message I wrote to him when he returned to the USA. I admired this brave man as did so many others. Aloha to Senator John McCain's Family .
-- Shirlee, Hawaii
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