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.
Thank You Sir! A patriot and a hero - America will never see a political leader like him again.
-- John, Portugal
-- michael, Georgia
I wanted to share an impressionable moment I experienced as a Legislative Assistant for the National Association of Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) and meeting the late Senator. The year was 1990 and I was a 21 year old working for the legendary Judy Park who had worked w/ Senator McCain to defeat the Medicare Catastrophic Prevention Act. Judy invited me to a lunch honoring Senator McCain along with maybe a dozen people and she said to me, "Senator McCain was a true friend to federal retirees. This is an experience you will never forget." And she was right. He will be sorely sorely missed.
-- Lisa, Illinois
Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family of Senator John McCain. May the comfort of God surround you at this time and in the days ahead. Amen.
-- Edward, Texas
During 2000 primary, Sen. McCain gave a speech in Springfield NJ. I was police detective on security detail. He took time after speech to hang out with the cops and autographed his Faith of Our Fathers book for us. Real nice down to earth guy. A real American. Rest in Peace.
-- Judd, New Jersey
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
Dear Mrs. McCain and family: We would like to express our condolences to you, Honorable John McCain’s Family, for your great loss. Words are inadequate at this time of grief, but we would like you to know that we will always cherish the memories of the Senator as a Combat Hero in Vietnam, enduring six years of harsh imprisonment at the so-called “Hanoi Hilton”. The Senator fought alongside us against the invasion of the Communists to ensure Freedom for the South Vietnamese people. As our Greatest Benefactor, The Senator wrote the McCain Amendment, signed into Law in 2002, which restored derivative refugee status to save thousands of South Vietnamese Prisoners of War and their families from the retribution of the Vietnamese Communists. Senator McCain was a "fighter" and a true "patriot" until the very end; his legacy of service and "love of country" were unparalleled. We send our prayers for "peace" and "healing." Respectfully Yours, Tan Nguyen Republic of Vietnam Veteran
-- Tan, Virginia
Senator McCain was a man of principle who spoke honestly and respectfully to his constituents, his colleagues, and the people of the United States. He did not mince words. He lived his beliefs and acted in concert with his conscience. He was authentic. He was and is an inspiration to those of us who have tried to contribute to our country and our community. I am a democrat, but would have been proud to have him as our president. My deepest sharing of loss with his family and gratitude for his exampleSan Juan
-- Minerva, Virginia
We need more people like him in government. We need people to work togeather across party lines It is more important to do what is right for the country then what one party or the other wants to do and John knew this. He will be missed and the country will need to find more like him.
-- John, Pennsylvania
In January of 2003 a friend and I were traveling to Vietnam. Upon arriving in Saigon we visited the former Presidential Palace, now a museum to the “American War.” Photos of John Mcaain’s capture were throughout, celebrating it. As we came up to main floor we were stunned to see Senator McCain, his wife and youngest daughter. My friend and I approached and told him how much we admired him and he and Cindy were so very kind. We gushed to our guide that this man could be President, that he was such an important American. But what really sticks with me was the grace of this man who was held prisoner in this country, tortured, his treatment celebrated in this very museum and yet, he was cordial and kind to his hosts. What grace and forgiveness far beyond the ability of most people. He was a truly great man.
-- Cathryn, Illinois
My greatest memory is working on his campaign for President. I was a volunteer on the ground floor of HQ in Crystal City. The room suddenly filled with volunteers. We were told John & Cindy were on their way. They arrived to a packed room with news cameras following. I was standing off to the side. The news wanted a photo with a volunteer after he spoke to us. He looked over at me and drew me into the picture. What a day! Sympathies to family and friends!
-- Sally, Virginia
I had the pleasure of meeting Senator McCain back in 1983. We because close due to our experiences in the military. We communicated frequently, and he was instrumental in obtaining healthcare for my daughter who was born with multiple disabilities, and for my son who suffered a hemmoragic stroke at the age of 21. I always had an open, and honest relationship, obtaining multiple letters addressing my concerns, as well as personal telephone calls, when he couldn't assist due to it being a State matter, as opposed to a Federal issue He went the extra mile for me, and my family by contacting the Governor's office directly, obtaining the care my son so vitally needed. We did not agree on every issue, but we always saw the others perspective. He was a wonderful patriot, and a friend who I will sorely miss.
-- Ted, Arizona
Sir, It has been a pleasure to endure your tenacity as you elevated your voice on the Senate floor. As a Veteran I know for certain that you were a leader! Leaders lead, others follow!! I salute you...AIRBORNE! RIP
-- Elgin, Maryland
While touring Tiananmen Square in Bejing, China, because of my similar size and white hair, I was mistaken for John McCain! People surrounded me all chanting his name! Put business cards in my hand and shirt pocket! Took photos with me! He was and will always be loved and respected throughout the world! Gods speed John McCain. God bless his family and friends.!
-- Ken, Florida
I ran into John years ago. He was running through the Phoenix airport on his way back to Washington. He carried his own suitcase instead of leaving that chore to his assistant. When I said, "Hello, Senator!" he stopped, gave me that big smile, and chatted for a few moments, despite the fact that he was obviously in a great hurry. What a guy!
-- John, Nebraska
Senator McCain was very nice person he seemed to be down to earth not one of these people that didn't like to interact with other people I got to see him a couple of times at the arena coyote Arena never was lucky enough to meet him rest in peace Senator John McCain
-- Rhonda, Arizona
There are very few Politicians that I can honestly say I respect. John McCain was one of them. We lost one of the last good people in our Government, and he will be missed. R.I.P. John McCain.
-- Josh, Kentucky
I met Senator McCain when he was on the campaign trail in NH. I attended his town hall meeting in Wolfeboro, NH. I asked him if he would wear my son’s memorial bracelet. I know he has worn it since that day. This country has lost a true hero and patriot. I am proud to call him a friend! He will be sadly missed.
-- Lynn, Kentucky
Thank you for your integrity, your service, and your boldness. You made us a better nation. Finally, thank you for being part of our American family. Your life made a difference to our Republic.
-- Ricardo, California
Senator John McCain I want to thank you for your heroic service to our Great country. My political viewpoints may differ than yours but I admire you and truly believe that if there was anyone who can make a difference it was you sir. I hope your examples in life willl continue to inspire people with political differences to have respect and integrity for each other. God bless you
-- Patrick, Florida
I had an unexpected moment at Reagan Airport when Senator McCain stood about 15 feet away from me. We were both on the curb waiting for our respective rides. I was trying not to stare but also hoping to confirm to myself whether he was truly the Senator or not. I had determined he was the real deal, so while loading my suitcase, I felt compelled to shout, "Thank you Senator! We are so grateful for your service!" He turned towards me with a smile and a wave. As we left, I felt a bit emotional at having been able to express sincere appreciation in a fleeting moment of opportunity. I am so glad he heard me. If more of us could have the heart, mind, courage and determination of John McCain, much would be improved in our society. Our love, gratitude and sympathy to all of you.
-- Christine, Utah
When my late husband Carlos Apodaca passed Mr McCain was the only one who would listen to me and helped me get his benefits. After 4 years of fighting and getting nowhere he did it in six months. I will forever be grateful to him. You could see he was a kind and loving man who loved his Country and the people. May God rest his soul in peace and keep his family strong. I am sure he left a great legacy behind. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten.
-- Mary L, Arizona
Fair Winds and Following Seas, Shipmate, you stand relieved, We have the watch. To one of my heros! Who was an exceptional American, hero and leader! -RIP John McCain. Go Navy!
-- Courtney, Minnesota
Live on Senator. I will always remember the kind words you shared with the Public at the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy.
-- Fred, Florida
I just wanted to express my heartfelt gratitude to this wonderful human being. My heart is broken. I was born in Africa and met my Irish American husband in Germany. He was in the military and we got married in Germany and came here. I remember during the election I was standing with my two children when we saw McCain's tour bus passing over I-4. I was jumping up and down when I saw it and started crying. I was feeling so emotional when I saw his tour bus zooming through our state. As much as I love and admire Obama, I was a McCain supporter because of his gentleness and purity. May he rest in peace. I will be praying for his wife Cindy and their family. Men like him are a blessing to all of us.
-- Eve, Florida
A real American. One of a kind. So long.
-- Dave, Florida
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
Senator McCain stood by us when we were in a position to lose our house, and intervened with Bank of America on our behalf. His help was invaluable to us and I will never forget his kindness, nor his and his office staff's efforts. RIP
-- Jessica, 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
He was simply, my hero...
-- Dianne, Michigan
I lost my big role model!
-- Chris, Germany
Well, I didn't know Senator McCain personally, but when I heard about his cancer diagnosis, I started to pray and didn't stop. You, see I lost my mother Hallie Lousie Williams, last year 7/17/2017 to the same type of cancer. I was hoping the Maverick had one last trick up his sleeve. He will be missed!
-- Angela, Illinois
I never personally met John McCain... yet, because of how he lived politically and how he bore true suffering at his captors hands because he couldn’t leave before his turn... I have always deeply respected him. I feel like our country has lost a marker and standard of honor with his passing. I will miss his ‘maveric’ style and his obvious desire for Country first during decisions in the Senate. All of us are better people for having had the glimpse of a man like him. God Bless the family of Senator John McCain, and thank you for sharing him with me.
-- Nancy, Washington
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
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 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 am a democrat who always admired Senator McCain. He was what every American should aspire to be, and that was never so true as it is today. Our deepest condolences to the McCain family who has our thoughts and prayers. We will greatly miss you Maverick!
-- Mark, Florida
When Senator McCain came to the great state of New Hampshire he was very congenial and very supportive of all of our military. My husband, a retired US Marine, serve 22 years on active duty. We have a great respect, love and admiration for our dear Senator McCain
-- Jody, New Hampshire
To a dedicated military and statesman I say a job well done and need more like you to follow. You could never be replaced with your prisoner of war and political records you have done this wonderful country a great deed. Gods blessings.
-- John, Texas
A great Patriot and warrior and most importantly a true American Hero who will be sorely missed. !
-- michael, Pennsylvania
Rest well, Mister McCain. You did well in your life.
-- Quan, California
An honorable man who led by example. Statesman, Patriot, American. RIP Senator McCain.
-- Pam, California
John was often commenting that we had know each other since the early '80s. We shared some fun experiences at Grand Canyon's El Tovar for lunches and dinners over the years. We rafted the Colorado, hiked the Canyon, and co- chairs of the GCNP Foundation. My favorite memory was introducing him at a Foundation Cookout. I had been a Vietnam helicopter pilot, but never experienced his pain or truma... I introduced him as MY HERO and as the next President of the United States. I am honored to have known him and have wonderful memories.
-- Allen, Arizona
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
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
Take your rest...you brave soldier having fought the good fight of faith until your name was echoed from heaven's realm for your task has been completed. Your example of courage will not be gotten. You will be missed.
-- Phillip, South Carolina
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
John McCain was a great example of patriotism, morality and decency. He was the moral compass of the Senate. He will be missed.
-- Nessa, California
John McCain was the epitome of an Honorable human being. I remember I wanted him to win the presidential election very much. May he rest in peace
-- lisa, New York
Thanks for your service. From a Viet Nam veteran and welcome home.
-- glenn, Georgia
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