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.
Peace with Lord.
-- Howard, California
John McCain: An Honest, Loving, and Honorable Man. He was A Man of Strength, Integrity, Bravery and Faith. He had a wonderful sense of Humor and they say, "he had a bit of a temper"! Bless You John, You will be incredibly missed by Your Family and Friends. Your "Foes" won't know where to find a "Fair Honest Fight"!! A Life Fully and Well Lived...Rest now....C. Sue Collins
-- Connie, California
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
Home is the sailor, home from the sea. Home is the hunter, home from the hill
-- Gert, Netherlands
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
Our hearts go to the McCain family and our country for his lost!
-- Maria, Florida
I have long admired the integrity of Senator McCain. While I have not agreed with him in some instances the motives behind his position were always beyond question. He was a true patriot placing county above personal interest. American would have been far better off is he had been elected President. The divisiveness that we see in both political parties could only have been bridged by someone of his character. His passing is a significant loss to the nation.
-- Brad, North Carolina
Supported John in both his runs for the Presidency and almost volunteered to go to South Carolina to work in the campaign in 2008. Wish I had so I may have got a chance to meet him and thank him for his service to this country
-- Andy, North Carolina
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
I met John in April 1964 in Pensacola FL where I was taking an orientation tour of Navy aviation. It was a top gun experience! I admired John while I served in the Navy during the Vietnam War and supported him in his congressional and presidential efforts thereafter. He was a man who continued to learn and contribute to his country right to the end. He will be missed. May God bless his family.
-- Charles, South Carolina
My deepest sympathy to the family. We have lost a. great hero and statesman.
-- Joseph, Connecticut
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
July 4th, 2017, Senator John McCain and a few of his colleagues came to Kabul, Afghanistan to visit with American Service personnel serving far away from home. He could have been anywhere, but he was there with us, and of course made special time for the Navy Sailors stationed there. He pinned the rank of LTCOL on a friend and promoted several others as well. We were far away from home, but having Senator McCain there with us made everything better. Because he was there, we felt at home and a hope he did too.
-- CDR Jim, Virginia
Our deepest condolences. Senator McCain was a true American Hero, a maverick and not just an individual that cared deeply for his friends, family and loved ones but a Senator who fought for the people and cared deeply for every American. Rest In Peace Senator, your work is done Respectfully John Connors
-- John, New Hampshire
A few years ago, I wrote Senator John McCain a letter. In the letter, I wrote to him about a charity that he was working on to help the disenfranchised and poor here in America. I wanted to know, from him, why we did not hear more about wonderful things like about his work in the news. I also wrote in the letter that I am a Democrat. Therefore, I did not expect to hear back from him. But, I did. He sent a most wonderful warm response and signed it in ink (smile). I am a US Veteran. Senator McCain's service is and always be unmatched. When we lost him, the sorrow is as great as the day we lost John F. Kennedy. Our Nation's Hero set the highest example that MOST will never achieve. But, at least we can honor him and keep trying!
-- Stan-Joseph, Georgia
To all of the Senator John McCain's family and friends-Sorry for your loss. To me he was always a great man! I am a Navy Veteran also and have always saluted him for his service! I supported the Senator's run for President and he would have made a outstanding Commander in Chief! His leadership through his life story has always been uplifting to me! He clearly went through heck and back as a POW and most of us could not understand what it's like to endured what he did and survived. John McCain you were a Great Man and will be dearly missed!
-- Bruce, Washington
Senator McCain and the Institute's focus on character driven leadership sets it apart from other organizations. My experience with the Next Generation Leader's program provided me with the insights and skills to make an enduring and positive impact in Canada. This foundational year provides emerging leaders with an unprecedented opportunity to refine their own leadership values and the opportunity to develop an action plan to make a positive impact in their field of choice.
-- Michael, Canada
I will remember John as a man that went threw enemy torture. A Veteran that stood up to help us Veterans while in the Senate.
-- Rory, Wisconsin
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
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
A great American Citizen
-- Wulf, Germany
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 worked on his campaign as a grad student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. I loved his laugh! Even if he was not pleased, when he laughed it made everything okay. My heart is with Senator McCain's family at this time of their loss. May he Rest in Peace.
-- Lara, Washington, D.C.
I can't imagine our country without this amazing man. He will be sorely missed.
-- Laurie, New Jersey
As just an ordinary citizen I wish to thank his wife Cindy for all the support she gave to over the years to this patriotic man and husband . He will not be forgotten and neither will she . So Thank You Cindy and May God Be with as your new challenges come .
-- Connie, Arizona
We in Germany are grateful for this honorable and brave statesman of the whole western Community. R.I.P.
-- Jochen, Germany
Senator McCain transcends party ideology and selfish party discipline. His driving force is the unwavering faith that he has in the true values of American democracy. Straightforward speaking, ready to take coordinated action, showing respect towards his opponents, able to admit his mistakes, and selfless – these are the qualities that McCain possesses, and they make him a leader who has and will influence many generations of people not only in America, but all around the world. Sometimes it can seem that people of such magnitude only exist in history books, but Senator McCain is here and now. He has taught and inspired and he will keep teaching and inspiring. America can be proud to have a son like Senator McCain.
A great american - thank you for your friendship to Germany - we will not forget. R.I.P.
-- Thomas, Germany
Rest In Peace, Senator John!
-- Tran, Vietnam
Our condolences to the McCain Family in their time of grief. May God hold you in his arms and wipe away your tears and hold you and be with you at this time.
-- Violet, Indiana
I was honored to shake Senator McCain's hand when I worked at Raytheon. He smiled a big smile at me, and held out his hand. I will never forget that moment.
-- Helen, Arizona
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, you were my HERO, you are my HERO! Rest in peace, I am going to miss you.
-- Saat, Florida
Thank you Senator McCain for raising the bar and being a great leader to us. You will be missed dearly.
-- Raymond, Arizona
I never met Sen. McCain, but I will miss you. Even though I am more liberal than conservative, I respected you and am grateful for your service to our country.
-- David, Missouri
The senator was a friend of Bulgaria! R.I.P!
-- Stoyko, Bulgaria
I loved him too. Met John at the Memorial Day celebration at the veterans cemetery two years ago and gave him a kiss and a hug. I wispered in his ear that I loved him and thanked him for all he did for the people of Arizona. He stood back a bit and looked me in the eye and said, you made my day and you’re very welcome. He made me feel like the most important person in the whole world at moment. I’ll ever forget that sweet person.
-- JoAnn, Arizona
Fair winds and following seas from a Navy family.
-- Christina, Virginia
I met him and was beyond humbled when he thanked me for my service
-- Terri, Missouri
Thank you for your outstanding military service to our country. Without Patriots like you, our lives would not be what they are today.
-- Steve, Indiana
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
John McCain set the highest moral example for all of us, regardless of political affiliation, to uphold. I pray that his example will resonate throughout political circles and that civil discourse will return to the seats of power in our country. It was my highest honor to shake the hand of this great man during his presidential campaign in Kansas City. May we all live by the example of a life of service and civility that John McCain epitomized. Thank you, God, for the life of John McCain and for giving him the strength of spirit to endure and keep fighting for what he believed in and the America he cherished. Farewell, Senator. We are all blessed to have known you and have you among us!
-- JAMES, Missouri
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
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
About three years ago we were at the Tee Pee Restaurant in Phoenix, and we’re thrilled to see Senator McCain in the flesh! Our deepest condolences to the McCain family. It is a great loss.
-- Andrew, Arizona
Thank you for your faithful and loyal service to the Constitution, to our country, and to the world. You will always be remembered with gratefulness. You are in the Hands of the Greatest Love now. Prayers to the McCain family.
-- Lisa, Connecticut
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
Thank you Sir for your service. Prayers and love to your family. I feel proud to know now that he is on the Right side of our Father, watching over us. Sincerely, Bert Druckenbroad
-- Bert, Ohio
As a State Department official in the 1990s, I had the incomparable privilege of returning to Vietnam with Senator John McCain as we sought to obtain the fullest possible accounting for those military service members whose fates had not been resolved or whose bodies had not been recovered. It was there that I witnessed what I considered to be perhaps his ultimate mission, as Senator Mc Cain fulfilled the bond that had united us all in combat, that we would never leave fallen comrades behind. He was a true American hero, and a personal hero to me.
-- Kenneth, Iowa
Rest in peace, John McCain, as you have lived a full and extraordinary life. While you and your fellow congress members did not always agree, there is no dispute that you loved this country, supported a strong military, supported secure borders and immigration reform, supported fair trade, supported tax cuts, supported improved care for our veterans, supported world peace efforts and believed America is a truly exceptional country where freedoms and individual achievements are valued and fostered through capitalism and our representative republic system of government. You devoted your entire life to serve this great nation for which we all are grateful. Bless you and may God embrace and guide you in eternity. Carole
-- Carole, Washington
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