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.
He was a Hero, a Congressman, a leader and above all he loved our country.
-- Pedro J, Florida
Rest In Peace Senator. You will be greatly missed. Your integrity and honesty will long be remembered.
-- Linda, North Carolina
Thank you for your service to this country. Dedication to our country is hard to find.
-- John A, Florida
A truly loving father and kind man. Thank you for your service.
-- Teresa, Arizona
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 will always remember Sen. John McCain's passion to always do what he felt was right for Americans everywhere. John McCain fought for and risked his life for this nation, and I will never forget that. I have no doubt that the Senator will be welcomed into Heaven and will be greeted with open arms.
-- Aidan, Pennsylvania
I am saddened to hear of Sen McCain's passing. He was truly one of the Last Lions in Politics. We will miss him greatly. Soar with The Eagles, Senator!
-- Leslie, Canada
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.
Thank you for everything Senator McCain. I will always be grateful for your service and for repairing US-Vietnam relations.
-- Peter, California
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
When I think of the legacy of John McCain I think of a man who was so humble, that he cared more about what God thought about him, than what others believed. He did not follow the crowd, nor run with whatever the latest fad was to be. Honesty and the ability to see through all the rhetoric was the mainstay of this wonderful patriot. We could all learn a lot from him and I hope those in government take a moment to realize who and what they have lost. Our country has grown a bit poorer with his passing...
-- Dave, California
Senator McCain was a true American Hero and Patriot who deserves the respect and gratitude of EVERY American. Thank you Senator McCain for a job well done. Rest In Peace.
-- Leo J., New Jersey
My Naturalized French-American wife and I attended the first Congressional Dinner in Washington D.C. given for President Bush after his election. Even though John McCain had lost the nomination to President Bush, he was there that night to honor the president. He was standing alone and my wife discovered him and had the most delightful conversation with him about the presidency. He did not try to shorten the visit with her, nor fail to understand every word she spoke with him. He was most gracious and at the end had her pose for a picture with him. This did more for my wife then all the citizenship course on America could ever have done. Thank you John for this. All the angels in heaven will note this when you arrive there!
-- Rob (for Honey), Arizona
God bless John McCain. We will miss you.
-- Jane, Pennsylvania
He was a brave and valuable man, thanks for all your done and sacrifices.
-- barbara, North Carolina
Our country's real hero!
-- Kenneth, Virginia
As an American, I feel a genuine sense of loss knowing that Senator McCain has passed. No matter what I or anyone may say about his party, or his political choices, no reasonable person would argue about the basics. He was a public servant of the highest order. He was a war hero. He was an outstanding American in every regard. Most importantly, he truly understood and defended American Values, to the very end. We are all better off for the sacrifices he made. I will miss him very much. My humblest and most sincere condolences to his family.
-- Scott, Massachusetts
Peace to you fellow Vietnam veteran. You are an honorable gentleman!
-- stuart, Hawaii
I met John and Cindy in Santa Clara, California in 2000. As a retired naval aviator myself, I have a deep respect for John's leadership and patriotism.
-- Stan, Washington
It was an honor to do what I could. I was there for him during his Presidential campaign. He would have been a super President. I wished that I had known him better. Prayers and GOD's comfort be with the family as you grieve. He was one of a kind. Will be missed by many.
-- peggy, Arizona
My heart goes out to the family thanks for your service senator McCain our thoughts and prayers gone but never forgotten Rest In Peace.
-- Franklyn, Arizona
Our country most definitely lost a hero. I am proud that I reside in the same state as John McCain. He will be greatly missed.
-- Lynne, Arizona
Truly will be missed and a great person .And rest in peace.
-- Greg, Colorado
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
John taught me that character is the most important quality of a leader....measured by actions ... guantified with respect ...appreciated with love...he was an awesome soul!
-- Bernie, Massachusetts
Happy trails good friend till we meet again! Rest well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-- Thomas N, Arizona
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 In Peace Senator McCain. You inspired every person to reach higher and to be the best version of themselves, as you were, in service to your country and to mankind. Thank you for your service.
-- Sonia Garcia, Virginia
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. Jack and John slept head to head in prison at one time. Jack said John was always a man of honor. Thanks for what you did for the Islanders (1987) when you came out to Guam while we were there serving for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. Best Regards. Love Connie Rollins S
-- Connie, California
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
On my 3rd day interning on Capitol Hill in May 2001, I got on the trolley that goes from the Capitol to the Senate office buildings. Senator John McCain came around the corner, and sat down next to me. The first thing I asked him was, “Am I sitting in the Members-Only car?” He said “No, you’re fine.” For the next 4 minutes a Republican and a Democrat chatted about Bucks County, PA, Congressman Jim Greenwood, Penn State football, and campaign finance reform (I got a direct quote from the author of the McCain-Feingold bill for my summer semester paper). I’ll never forget the deep scars down the sides of his face, and thinking about all he had been through. He directed me to the bar I was going to for Happy Hour.
-- Amanda, Washington, D.C.
We enjoyed his humor in Politics
-- Gary, Texas
We in Germany are grateful for this honorable and brave statesman of the whole western Community. R.I.P.
-- Jochen, Germany
We were Naval Academy classmates. He was my naval and American hero.
-- Thomas, Hawaii
Always was a servant to this great nation and its people. God rest your soul.
-- Timothy, California
I don't have any personal memories of Mr. McCain, I just would like to express my condolences to the family.
-- Barb, Ohio
He was a good man that cared about American's !!!! Rest In Peace!!!!!
-- Nichelle, Tennessee
John McCain, a name that simply means the utmost respect for God, Country, And Honor! I have always Admired this man and will never forget him. Thank you for your service to us all! May God show you and your family the love and respect that you have shown us all your entire life and beyond! Your legacy will live forever ??
-- Kay, Arizona
HIS HONESTY, INTEGRITY AND DEVOTION TO HIS COUNTRY WILL ALWAYS BE AN INSPIRATION. MAY HE REST IN PEACE.
-- SHARON, Arizona
To the McCain family, my family and I wish to offer our sincere condolences on your loss. To me, Senator McCain personifies the meaning of what it is to be a real American patriot. He truly followed the path of Robert Jordan by sacrificing for his country. I admire him for admitting that he after all was human and capable of making mistakes. But he said that's ok as long as you own it. As a Vietnam veteran I would just like to say REST IN PEACE may God be with you
-- Ruben, California
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
Mr. McCain, Very saddened, to hear of your passing. I remembered the good times,over looking the bad times. I was stationed, in Vietnam, in 71-72. Like you, 08/19/51 is a good month, for me. I pray for your family, with these difficult times. You have given me incentive, to return to the Medical field. Have been an RN for 38 years. God bless your family. Keep the faith. Allen Duquette.
-- Allen, New York
Clearly the loss of a fine and decent man ; our sympathy to his family , to his state and his great country. A hero indeed !
-- Al and Angela, Canada
Please keep watch from above, and help us when you can. It is with deepest sympathy, and regret, that we have to say goodbye. We will miss you John! May God bless and keep you whole and safe at his side. Until we meet again . . . .
-- Dorothy Cora, Arizona
I didn't know him. Sent some emails. I supported his presidential run. Truly sad to hear this recent news.
-- Fatbardh, New Jersey
I am saddened by Senator John McCain’s passing. He was larger than life, and I am grateful to him for serving our country for so many decades with strength and honor. God bless his family. Rest in peace Senator McCain, you will be missed.
-- Krista, Kansas
He was someone who had something that should be taught in every school classroom. Patriotism.
-- Adrienne, 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 extend my most Sincere Sympathy to Senator McCain's family and friends from the Deep South of Louisiana. As a Brother Vietnam Army Veteran, John made sure that our military was ready to defend America. His time in the country of Vietnam and his sacrifices there cannot be measured, but by God alone. We all have a lot to learn from his courage and wisdom. He was also a great friend and supporter of Firefighters and 1st Responders everywhere. He truly left our Country a better place. Godspeed my Brother!!!
-- Chief Michael, Louisiana
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
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