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 can't imagine our country without this amazing man. He will be sorely missed.
-- Laurie, New Jersey
We will never forget you, Senator McCain. It’s a heartbreaking day.
-- Kate, Massachusetts
Senator McCain, thank you for being a HERO to all Americans. I’m a naturalized American and you were the reason why I started to vote and I casted my first Presidential vote for you. Because I respected your love of country and respect for all people across the world. Love of country was obvious but I truly believe it was the passion to serve others and your desire to help others live better lives that sharpened and defined your innate leadership skills. The suffering you endured in Hanoi, made you a stronger and better man who recognized and value people as human beings and individuals and made you rise above politics, party, or personal gain. You leave a great legacy and your life and service will inspire many. Hopefully the current politicians will learn and follow your leadership and voters will recognize to vote wiser. Rest In Jesus’s Loving Arms.
-- Betsy, Massachusetts
A great american - thank you for your friendship to Germany - we will not forget. R.I.P.
-- Thomas, Germany
I never met Senator McCain but I remember him for his courage, determination, humility, and love. As a POW, there is no greater love than a man who would lay down his life for a friend. That was Senator McCain. I will truly miss watching him on television "stand up for the right and greater good". On Friday afternoon God welcomed him home with open arms and a huge smile, saying, "Welcome home, thy good and faithful servant. A job well done. He will celebrate his 82nd birthday in Heaven while smiling down on his true loves. His family and his country.
-- Pamela, South Carolina
Eternal rest grant unto John McCain o Lord and may Your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. May his family feel your comfort o Lord in these coming days
-- Daniel, Illinois
A true hero and consummate statesman!!!
-- Susanna, Florida
Truly will be missed and a great person .And rest in peace.
-- Greg, Colorado
I am so thankful for Senator McCain's service and sacrifice for our country. I have appreciated his communication through the years when I reached out to him even though I wasn't from Arizona. We are keeping your family in our prayers!
-- Ken, Arkansas
What a great man! The definition of integrity is John McCain. For my trip to Vietnam, he gave me note signed by him to keep me safe. A true American hero, he is what our country always needed and always will. He will be missed! John, please guide us from above.
-- Pierre, Arizona
John McCain: An outstanding man and the best example of what a true American in politics should be, there are few that have the ability today to work with "let's work together" attitude but he was open for that. He has inspired both sides of the isle. he inspired me. Senator McCain stood firm when he refused to leave his men in Vietnam. He will always be known as a great American hero. I am saddened he is gone but feel he served his country well, showed self respect in the way he lived his personal life and political life. He is a man that God will take into eternity. Senator McCain is probably one of the few men that will be talked about in decades and years to come. God bless his sweet family.
-- Carol, Tennessee
We have lost a great American. He loved his country and worked for it to be better every day. I had the honor of being with him during his Presidential campaign in Tampa, Florida . Rest in peace. God bless him and his family.
-- Jose, 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
I am a democrat. Senator McCain was one conservative that I listened to. His love and desire for a better country shined through his words and deeds. Thank you Senator you will always have my respect
-- Gene, Washington
I sorry for you lose
-- clara, North Carolina
He is a true American hero and statesman. I met with him a couple of times to encourage his support for certain legislation. He was polite and respectful even though he saw things differently. I was impressed by his attentiveness and his thoughtful explanation about why he would not support it.. He made a difference to our country. Politicians can learn much by paying attention to his passion for placing the country first. Rest In Peace, you great man.
-- Albert, Arizona
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
Dearest McCain Family, I am an officer of South Vietnam and was able to witness Senator McCain’s sacrifice and heroic actions during the war. We are forever indebted to him and his help getting us out of the communist education camp to freedom and took care of our community in Arizona. My thoughts are with your family during this time. Thank you, Tran Bui
-- Tran, Arizona
I don't have any personal memories of Mr. McCain, I just would like to express my condolences to the family.
-- Barb, Ohio
John McCain represented the best of our country. He served his God, his country and his family in true style. He believed in discussing our differences and reaching a compromise position. The D's and Rs need to follow this philosophy . Unity should be our goal.
-- Linda, New Jersey
Thank you Sir, for your honor, courage and service. You will be missed. Rest in peace.
-- Renee, Arizona
I always felt a sense of ease with Mr. McCain being in our country’s government. I could trust that he would fight for what was right and needed to be done. I love that he spoke his mind and said things outright. I wish all his family sincere wishes at this difficult time.
-- Rebecca, Ohio
Honorable Senator John McCain returning home from prisoner of war status is the first memory I have of this inspiring defender of The United States of America. Since that time, he has persevered in putting country above party. Character -driven leadership is his greatest legacy. May the current and next generation of leaders follow in his path. Thank you for your gallant service dear patriot.
-- FRANCES, Arizona
What I remember most is attending the Arizona Women's Conferences sponsored by Senator McCain. He brought in keynote speakers and wonderful workshops that provided women a place to network as well as gain knowledge. He was a great senator and Arizona was lucky to have him. He brought integrity, humor, dedication, and the willingness to work across the aisle to Washington. Thank you to the McCain family for sharing him with us all. May God bless him and you.
-- Mary, Florida
-- michael, Georgia
Thank you for your many years of service, Senator McCain. Your leadership is inspiring. We are grateful. Rest in peace.
-- Nancy, Pennsylvania
During his internment as a POW I proudly wore my copper Bracelet & prayed for John McCain. I still have my cherished bracelet and a Thank You letter sent to me in response to a "Welcome Home" message I wrote to him when he returned to the USA. I admired this brave man as did so many others. Aloha to Senator John McCain's Family .
-- Shirlee, Hawaii
Senator John McCain was a compassionate man and took a stand against torture. I am thankful for all he had done for the world.
-- John, South Dakota
A truly world citizen - a hero to the world - rest in peace "sir"with love-respect - peace be with you and your family
-- JOHN, Canada
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 young person starting to notice politics, I first became familiar with Senator McCain when he was running for President and selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. In the years after that, I would see him in the news and was impressed with his work and the heart felt sentiment he gave upon his return to the Capital after his diagnosis. We need more people like the Senator both in government and society. Patriotism is everything and too many people treat it like nothing these days. That needs to change.
-- Bobbi, Pennsylvania
While a Senator and Presidential Candidate in 2008 we were very lucky to attend a wonderful campaign stop Senator McCain made in Miami, Fl. It was late at night but the mood and crowd was electric. God Bless you Senator and your entire wonderful family!
-- Richard, Florida
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
Live on Senator. I will always remember the kind words you shared with the Public at the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy.
-- Fred, Florida
It was a tremendous honor to be part of the convention to elect Senator McCain president. He and Governor Palin would have been great for our country. His legacy will remain: a hero, a warrior, a man who stood for right, who gave to our Country. He will hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
-- Monterey, Nevada
John McCain and I flew, on the A4 Skyhawk , from NAS Cecil Field, Florida to KINGSVILLE, TEXAS; he was speaking to future Navy pilots. The Sky Hawk was the type of airplane he flew in the Navy; I will never forget his smile after making a perfect landing back at Cecil Field. We enjoyed our flight and enjoyed the hoagie in Texas before we flew back to Florida. Then Itold him, "You will be making Admal and given a Carrier to command." To my surprise, I saw him on TV as Senetore of Arizona. He answered. "Alfredo, I am going into politics" When I found out he was a Senetor, I said " when he says he will do something; he does it. me he was going into polytecs. WHERE he was giving a conference. was giving at Kingsville Texas. We flew out of NAVAL AIR STATION CECIL, FL.
-- Alfredo, Florida
I do not have a personal memory of this great man but his heroism, service and love for country compelled me to volunteer for his Presidential campaign. I can’t help but wonder if we would have been in a better place as a country had he been elected as President. May his example live on.
-- Deborah, Florida
John once said that his life was changed when he realized that he had been put on this earth for something more than his own amusement. I read these words and they transformed my attitude about my purpose on earth. I am most grateful to him for helping me see this.
-- John, Florida
Senator McCain's sense of duty, honor and sacrifice to his country was second to none, and his deeply-held convictions that mirrored those beliefs was exemplified on his personal life, both public and private. We shared service in Vietnam, but the statement that "all gave some, some gave all" surely describes the Senator for those warriors who are willing to fight for their nation. May his legacy be enhanced by his willingness to fight the battles he undertook for the welfare of this nation. Semper Fi.
-- Mark, Arizona
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
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've never donated to any politician in my 65 years, but having had a strong respect for John McCain, I donated to his Senatorial campaign in Arizona, even though I live in Pennsylvania! Susan Smith, LooptyHoops and Vistage
-- Susan, Pennsylvania
"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." - Ralph Waldo Emerson In every sense, we can say that Senator John McCain succeeded.
-- Anthony, Georgia
God bless the McCain family and surround each of you with peace.
-- Theresa, Michigan
The last American hero. Honest, Brave, and Caring. He returned with Honor, and left with Honor.
-- Gregory, Michigan
Mr. McCain was a true patriot of the American people. We will miss this great man. Peace be with you.
-- Annette, California
Senator McCain has showed the world what real leadership means - deliberate, thoughtful, and principled - regardless of personal difficulties. We are all richer for his example of true citizenship, and for his lifetime of service.
-- Brenda, Canada
I worked for John McCain"s election in the Bay Area ,California .Met him briefly at at the College auditorium at DVC. I admired and hoped we would have a man like him leading our country.He lead our world !God bless him and give this family our love. His example will endure
-- Fernando, California
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
Senator McCain was a rare individual and a true American hero. He will be greatly missed. It was my honor to work on his Presidential campaign. My sincere condolences to his close friends and family.
-- Becky, Missouri
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