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.
-- Greg, Pennsylvania
Class act. He was the Maverick. Kennedy the Lion. They will once again be a formidable team.
-- Sabrina, Missouri
Being a first generation immigrant and die hard democrat party supporter, I have always felt heartened by the honesty and patriotism of Sen.Mccain. He was a example to me of the greatness left in public service and my faith in my new country always was firm thanks to him. My prayers for this wonderful man.
-- Kumar, New Jersey
Thank for the blanket of FREEDOM you so unselfishly provided to everyone in the Initef States ofErica with your service and dedication to every AmericaGod ZBless you and your family
-- Judith, California
Condolences to the McCain family - Sen. McCain was the best of the best, somebody with an unbreakable spirit. We need more like you, lots more.
-- Tina, California
His military sacrifice in the line of duty..
-- Bob, New York
It was my pleasure to meet John personally, talk and have dinner with him and a few friends in Tucson around 2011. I had the honor to offer a toast for his service and sacrifice to our Country. An honor I'll never forget. Our Country is a better place for his presence and contributions. My sympathy and prayers to his family.
-- Michael, Arizona
Thank you for embodying American, and especially, Arizonian ideals. Even when tried, I've never felt you were disagreeable, but properly and rightly stubborn and principled. Rest in peace Senator.
-- Coltor, Arizona
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
Semper Fidelis, John. You were always one of my heroes and held the ideals of our country to such a high esteem that I became a Republican back in the late 90s when I was a Marine. You will be sorry missed, but the marines at the gate to your next destination will will be happy to see you.
-- Miguel, Virginia
My deepest sympathy to the family of John McCain on their great loss.
-- Barry, New Mexico
Senator John McCain: You have help me a number of times I am in your debt Sir. There are no words to say how much you will be missed sir.The United States has lost a great man and he will be missed. My prayers are with the family and may the father in heaven let you in sir when you arrive at the gates of heaven.God bless you sir as a veteran my self sir I have a heavy heart we have lost a brother in arms. may your soul rest in peace. Almighty father please take special care of this soul in Jesus name amen.
-- Antonio, Texas
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
Thanks for your service. From a Viet Nam veteran and welcome home.
-- glenn, Georgia
Although my Polítical Ideologies were diferent I always admired the History and nobility that Transpired from Sen. McCain. Someone who clearly had the love for his Country and Fellow Citizens needed by any Leader. His Force and his legacy are inspirational to any one in the World! I'll look up for his legacy for years to come. America lost his Last True Hero. May God guards His Soul in Peace.
-- Gonçalo, Portugal
A brave, honorable man whose character and moral compass is a beacon for us all.
-- Bruce, New York
Sorry for your loss
-- Joan, New York
Thank you for your service. Until we form again. Frank
-- franklin, Tennessee
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
Senator McCain was a fearless, principled statesman. Honor was an integral part of his character and his service to our country an exemplary example of what a hero is. His arms were wide and strong enough to reach across the aisle of his political rivals to make our world a better place for all of us. I am a Democrat and I really liked this exceptional representative of the Republican Party. It is with much sorrow to say goodbye to him but I am grateful for his years of service and to his family. Thank you all so very much.
-- Eva, California
I voted for John McCain because he was a real life Rambo.
-- JOLEEN, Massachusetts
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
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
Thank you, senator, for a life full of courage, integrity, and honor. You made me proud to be an American. My deepest sympathies to Mrs. McCain and the entire McCain family.
-- Brian, Pennsylvania
Sen McCain I miss your honesty and wisdom. You are our Hero and we will never forget your sacrifice and contributions to our great Country. Ramesh V Kapur
-- Ramesh, Massachusetts
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
Thank you for your service to our great Country! We honor you and miss you already
-- David, Florida
This is my tribute to an example of Values and Virtues of a Human Being. From a young age he understood that he could go far in service of our country- perhaps with an able help from his family. And as destiny and God would have it, he lands in a foreign country who could have none of his military values. And it is there where he learns that His Country is and should stand for much more that freedom, democracy, but for the benefit of all in this planet. And he matures his senses of Duty, Country, and Liberty, and Love, and Religion. Maturity came from pain and solitude and comparison of values and states of well being. A sense of team, collaboration, and mission and purpose took this young aviator to give true words to the words Hero, Senator, Father, Mentor, Husband, Son, and sailor of Legacy. RIP
-- Gus, California
My deep condolences to the McCain family. One of the best politicians in the Western world.
-- ALESSANDRO, Italy
Rip my prayers goes out to your family and thank you for your services and standing up for us
-- Lynn, New Hampshire
I May be a Democrat, But John McCain may have been a Republican, He Was for All People in this Country. That is what made this man, A Great Human Being. Deepest Sympathy To his Family at this Time. RIP Mr. McCain, and God be with his Family.
-- Robert, Nevada
I have always followed late Sen. John McCain on his performance on the floor of the senate. Will personally miss him. R.I.P
-- Ikerave, Nigeria
Honor to a great Hero
-- Eduardo R., Florida
A man of principle, honesty and courage. I fear for our country without him in it.
-- Mary, 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
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
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
He loved the same beautiful Arizona that I once loved. He gave generously to CHOC hospital where I once worked. Good memories last.
-- kathy p., Alabama
He was a great hero, unlike many before him. As a Korean Was veteran, I can share his pain. He will be missed.
-- Gerald, California
he put his fellow soldiers before himself. He put the country before himself. That's what a hero is. John McCain is a true hero.
-- Fred, Florida
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
as men who "go down to the sea in ships" farewell, god speed." Anchors Away" John Sidney McCain
-- Arnell, California
#IncredibleStrength - at a Public Town Hall John stood there and listened to every word without interrupting as a "disgruntled" Veteran read "a prepared speech", many pages long, time consuming, his raised voice and anger self-evident, criticizing John's Senate Record - then calmly, after asking the Veteran if he was finished, John added "if you can do better, run for the Senate".
-- Lance, Arizona
RIP Senator McCain. May God be with his family and many friends and colleagues during this difficult time.
-- Roxanne, Michigan
We have lost the most consequential legislator on planet Earth. John McCain served as our very best ambassador for American values. The world is a better and more secure place because of John McCain. Sen. McCain’s legacy is that of a selfless public servant who jealously guarded and advanced American values wherever and whenever they were under threat. He was a role model for all of us in putting country ahead of personal interest. I will remember fondly the time I was fortunate to spend with him. His wisdom, his commitment to service, and his love of country were an inspiration. We extend our heartfelt gratitude for all of his contributions to Arizona, the nation, and the world, and we extend our deepest condolences to Cindy and his family.
-- Glenn, Arizona
People like John McCain are what truly make America great!
-- Kippi, Tennessee
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
John McCain is a true hero! He will be missed by all. I don't know of anyone in America who has sacrificed so much for his country! Truly a special man. May America's politicians learn to serve their country half as well as Senator McCain! Thank you sir! Thank you for everything.
-- Toni, Texas
You will be missed. Continue to watch over us. Thank you for your service Our American Hero. RIP
-- paula, New York
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
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