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 have long been an admirer of Senator McCain and very much wanted to see him become our president. I'm deeply grateful for his service to our country as a soldier, a statesman and a role model. To the McCain family, I extend my heartfelt sympathy on your great loss...and ours.
-- Anne, Wisconsin
God Bless him.
-- Andrew, California
I had the honor of being a delegate to the 2008 Republican National Convention. I enjoyed meeting Senator McCain there and remain proud to have helped nominate him for President.
-- David, Georgia
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
My deepest sympathies to the McCain family. He was a true gentleman who took his duties as a senator very seriously. I admire his independence and his love of family and country. May he rest in peace
-- Cindy, Minnesota
John McCain, thank you sir.
-- Al, Washington
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see GOD. Senator John McCain had every reason to be hard hearted, but time and time again, John forgave...pure hearted John forgave. He always looked forward, not back. He walked the walk. He kept reaching. He was human, but he didn't quit. He kept looking up. God is his strength. So yes, blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see GOD. Thank you McCain Family for sharing John with us. We pray you know God's presence, love and comfort during these very difficult days.
-- Debbie, Virginia
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
I did not have the honor to know the senator personally . But I know his actions matched his life. He demonstrated what America is when it's operating at its it's best. COURAGE INTEGRITY AND COMPASSION. A TRUE AMERICAN HERO. WELL DONE MY FAITHFUL SERVANT ENTER N REST IN GODS HOUSE. UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN.
-- M, Alaska
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
He should have our president. We honor him and his loving family. We only wish he could know how many responded with grief after his loss. God Bless you all. We intend to commemorate him with a future pledge
-- Linda and Howard, Virginia
Senator McCain had seats very near mine for the Arizona Coyote games at America West Arena. I saw him often at these games. He always had a kind word, a smile, a wave, a nod of recognition. The Country has lost a man that was its rudder in stormy seas. A man that exemplified character, sacrifice, and sense of duty to Country and family. God speed Senator McCain and may God bless your family in this trying time. We have lost you, just when we need you the most. That said, you have done your duty. Prayerfully, I hope that there are those of compassion and character that can carry on your good work. Rest in Peace, Sir.
-- Steven, Arizona
My wife and I first met Senator McCain and his wife in 2007 in Dover, NH at a small intimate gathering unique to NH's place in politics, as he began his 2008 Presidential bid. As he shook hands with the small crowd we mentioned our son was in Iraq, and was supportive of his policies for that region. Senator McCain seemed genuinely interested, and Cindy spent more than a few moments chatting with my wife, mentioning their son would be deploying soon. We became volunteer works on Senator McCain's campaign (the first and only time we've felt the need to do that)) and as such had a few occasions to speak with him. Amazingly, he always remembered to ask about our son. We found him to be a genuine and thoughtful person. A true American who's life's impact will reverberate well into the future. Thoughts and prayers for family.
-- Mark & Deb, New Hampshire
I was waiting for a flight at DCA when I looked over and saw Senator McCain. My mom knew him fairly well so she walked me over to meet him. He immediately stood up and took the time to get to know me well. I will never forget his kind words to me as a Page in the Senate. His character and strong demeanor will never be forgotten. It was a pleasure to be in his presence. RIP
-- Max, Virginia
A true American hero. May God rest his soul
-- Neal, Connecticut
Powerful statesman, representative of all citizens not just a party...a true naan of the people. Thank you for your service! Bless you
-- Christine, Pennsylvania
I first would like to say how sorry I am for his devoted family... my prayers will be with you during such a difficult time ... may your memories comfort you.. I was at a parade in Florence, SC my son’s high school JrROTC did the Color Guard for the parade .. I was proudly watching my son and all the sudden there was Mr McCain in the parade... he was running for president at that time ... I said Oh my there is John McCain and he looked heard me and looked over and waved ... meant a lot that he would take his busy time to visit a small town parade and participate... he touched us all in many ways ...he was a brave blessing to our country! Rest In Peace to this tireless soldier !! Peace to his family!!!
-- Susan, Georgia
Sen. McCain, you will be missed. Even though I did not agree with all your opinions. I respected the integrity and conviction you held and carried yourself with. America lost a great public servant today. God be with you.
-- Andrew, California
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
Greatest hero of our time. Thank you for the examples you have set.
-- Lien, Maryland
Senator John McCain was a true American hero. He will live on forever in our hearts and be greatly missed.
-- Ashlee, Kentucky
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 was privileged to represent John in a few small legal matters back in the 1990’s. John retained me because our mutual friend, John Dowd, referred me. I remember feeling enormously proud to represent a man I so deeply admired. He was an easy client to please. His colleague Jon Kyl and I were law partners for twenty-six years before he went to the House of Representatives with John. And I had the rare pleasure of watching a football game or two with him at Sun Devil Stadium. While my interaction with him was infrequent, I immensely enjoyed his quick smile and a few small things we shared about my service in the USAF and his in the USN. Perhaps the most important reminder I have of him is the blurb he wrote for the back cover of my 2004 book about the famous Miranda v. Arizona case. I was an Independent voter when John first came to Arizona, and I voted for him every time. He was brave, good, and true. There are others, but very few in the U.S. Senate today.
-- Gary, Arizona
The manner in which Senator McCain responded to negative comments from his constituents about his opponent Barak Obama spoke volumes about his citizenship, his character and his personal values. Such an example his legacy has left for those in govenment to follow and emulate. Blessings to his spirit and to his family.
-- Ana, New York
He was really awesome human being We will miss you Mr McCain ?may you Rest In Peace with no more pain
-- Ana, California
A true American. He had more guts than any other president.
-- Mir, Bangladesh
I remember Senator McCain as a great patriot and a great American which to me is the greatest honor I can bestow on him.
-- Ivan, Washington
A truly great person in every way. I am proud he was our senator and represented Arizona well. Thank you so much for your service to the United States of America and God. He served all people. Thank you for representing us well. Rest in God. Love and highest regards for Senator John S. McCain and to his wife and family. God be with you all. Thank you.
-- Dominique A., Arizona
Thank you for everything Senator McCain. I will always be grateful for your service and for repairing US-Vietnam relations.
-- Peter, California
But we are sad. We need him more than ever.
-- Nora, Massachusetts
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
We voted for John McCain in 2008 for President and are saddened by his passing. I lost an aunt to glioblastoma this past December. She only lived a few months after her diagnoses. Prayers for the McCain family during this difficult time.
-- Gail, Alabama
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
As a former Scoutmaster, SenMccain would den alter tI My new Eagle Scouts. It inlckude. a letter about making a flag out of scraps while he was a prisoner. My son still has his letter and he is 48 now. He never failed to make this Scout feel good.
-- John, Arizona
John was a true hero. a man that loved his country and his God. Not all men could have endured what he went through. A man that could disagree without being disagreeable. John now that your life here on earth is over. May your name in Gold be written in the autograph of God God Bless you, your lovely wife and your family. May he continue to Bless America the country we all love
-- Richard A., Arizona
I had the honor of being Sen McCain's co chair of his Jewish Advisory Council 08. I am also the McCippah lady. I'm glad I got to know and help him. He will be missed by so many for his honesty and candor. Sleep well Senator!
-- Judy, Pennsylvania
My memory of John McCain will always be the class and dignity with which he conducted himself during and after the 2008 Presidential Campaign. There is no greater example of his extraordinary character.
-- Michael, Massachusetts
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
Words can’t wipe away your tears. Hugs won’t ease your pain. But hold on to your memories. Forever they’ll remain. My heart goes out with sorrow when I heard the bad news. I am sending love and remembrance and keep John's family in my thoughts and prayers as you go through this difficult time.
-- Sassan, California
To the family: I am sorry for your loss. I watched Senator McCain on television as he fought for and stood for his beliefs. God be with the family in their time of bereavement.
-- Jacqueline, Virginia
Thank you, John McCain, for your years of service to our country. You will sincerely be missed. Deepest condolences to your family.
-- Sarah, Colorado
I sorry for you lose , I remember when him go to Colombia
-- daniel, North Carolina
Our family was supportive of Senator McCain for president. We were blessed to meet him in Howell, MI. During his run for Presidency. He shook hands and hugged my father a WW11 vet. My father passed in January 2016. Senator McCain thank you for your service and your love of America!?? God Bless.
-- NANCY, Michigan
It was my privilege to serve as Senator McCains Finance Chairman in S.C. for his Presidential Campaign. I did so because of his love for our Country and his determination to lead every American in contributing to our mission to defend and protect this great nation. He showed us how to act and we will always love him for his depth of character and ability.
-- Robert, South Carolina
Here is what I said to the US Senate Armed Services Committee at my confirmation hearing last November. "Senator McCain and other members of the SASC, it is an honor to be here. It is humbling to be considered for this position and I thank Secretary Mattis and the President for placing their trust and confidence in me. Senator McCain- as a young Air Force officer going through Aerospace Medicine Primary and SERE training in the early 1980’s, one of your fellow POW’s who spoke to our class mentioned your name as an exemplar of courage and integrity and I have always looked up to you." I meant every word. After I read this, Sen. McCain quietly said, "Thank you..."
-- Dean, California
Senator John McCain is why we stand during the National Anthem. Period. RIP John, you will be truly missed.
-- Tina, Arizona
Great, great man!! He had steel backbone and and was a model of principled leadership. Service to God and country before self. He was from the fabric all leaders should aspire to be made of.
-- MATTHEW, Virginia
Thank you Senator McCain for your service & sacrifice to our country and your undying/unwavering commitment to make our country better for all. God speed and fly high. Gods blessings of peace to his family and friends.
-- Dana, Illinois
RIP John McCain . You have truly set the bar, and no more need be said. Peter
-- Peter, New Jersey
Thank You Sir! A patriot and a hero - America will never see a political leader like him again.
-- John, Portugal
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