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.
John, was a hero, gracious, and authentic. It was a pleasure working on his campaign for President, and knowing that he had a sense of right and wrong, and looked at inclusion of all classes of persons foremost. God bless, and condolences on your loss and the loss to this Nation. Sincerely,
-- Steve, Michigan
Thank you for your service to America. RIP Senator McCain
-- Joseph, Alabama
Our family has been saddened by this loss, John McCain was a light of hope in a dark time politically. We laughed at his self defacing jokes, his delightful honesty. Most of all, we felt protected from corruption. He was not afraid to speak his mind when others were cowards or motivated purely by the polls. In short, he had guts and conviction of his beliefs. The rest of the party seems to have lost their moral compass. As he goes with our Lord, I am sure he will be welcome. We'll miss you, love and encouragement from our family to his on this day.
-- Renee, Oregon
True Hero, Man of Honor, my family and I had the honor to meet and speak with the greatest American hero of our times!
-- Ali, California
Good bye Senator McCain,thank you for your service, you were a real hero.. You'll be gone but never forgotten. Rest in peace
-- Rose, Massachusetts
We never meet. I sometimes disagreed. Still, John was the best American to represent my generation. We will all eventually perish. I just hope to see another John McCain before that day.
-- John, Idaho
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
He was an honorable man, so much admired for his kindness, honesty and decency. Senator McCain was very much loved by many.
-- Gwen, Missouri
God Bless You John, Thank You for Serving Our Country..
-- William, New York
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
A truly loving father and kind man. Thank you for your service.
-- Teresa, 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
I voted for him for President. I guess I was always going to , but after Sarah Palin said "he is the only candidate running who has ever truly fought for you" it sealed the deal. Sincerest condolences to your family ...losing a husband and a father is one of life's biggest body blows...so sorry for your loss.
-- Ginny, New York
My heart and prayers go out to McClain family we love you stay strong and remember what he stands for unity and love he will always be our hero
-- Shirley, South Carolina
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
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
Thank you Senator for your dedication to this nation. As a Ukrainian American I will also forever remember your support for Ukraine. RIP
-- Oksana, Washington
I considered him a wonderful honest politician. A man of the people.
-- Ruth Lee, New York
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
I lost my big role model!
-- Chris, Germany
Dedicated to America. There is really nothing more one needs to say.
-- Paul, Illinois
On behalf of my family I would like to extend our deepest sympathies on the death of Senator John McCain. Without the courageous Americans like Senator John McCain our nation would not stand so bravely, gleam so brilliantly and live so freely. I wish to quote Light Horse Harry Lee’s, George Washington eulogy but today it could be written for the patriot, hero and a lifetime public servant, Senator John McCain, "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."
-- Erick, California
I never had the honor of meeting Senator McCain, but my daughter will know who he was, when she is older. I hope one day she will see in me, what I saw in John McCain, a man of honor and integrity, who had the courage to stand for his beliefs. Someone who did the right thing, because it was the right thing to do, even when it came at great personal sacrifice. He was one of the few people who I wholeheartedly respect and I am eternally grateful for the courage and commitment he showed throughout his life. Fair winds and following seas!
-- Jason, Hawaii
A tender touch, hardly felt but with a widespread impact. John McCain’s work on leadership is far reaching like a fire in a wild wind. McCain's character of selfless devotion to country & global influence is empowering next generation leaders worldwide.
-- Mira, Sierra Leone
Senator John McCain was a true American hero and a champion for All people. He made the world a better place through his actions and words. Rest In Peace, Senator.
-- Stephen, New York
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
The only thing is to pray for him. May God RIP.
-- mafuli, Florida
Thank you Senator John McCain for your support of the military.
-- Msg David, Texas
We in Germany are grateful for this honorable and brave statesman of the whole western Community. R.I.P.
-- Jochen, Germany
In 2009, I was working as a physician in Phoenix and went to a meeting where John McCain was the guest speaker. After the speech, I was talking with some colleagues, turned around, and there was the Senator. I certainly did not expect that he would come out afterwards to talk with any of us. He shook my hand and thanked me for being a physician in the state. I stammered something about him always being an inspiration to me (I still have a copy of "Character is Destiny") that I am sure made little sense. Still - the fact that this important man would just come out and talk to local constituents like that always stuck with me. If the political winds had different timings, he would have been a superb President - but regardless he was a superb Senator and human being.
-- Marc, Colorado
I never had the honor of meeting Sen. McCain, but I'm deeply appreciative of all he's done for the country. John, you'll be missed.
-- David, Colorado
I was a huge fan of Senator McCain. Unfortunately, as a Canadian, I could not vote for him but I did get to meet him in New Hampshire when he was first running for President and get him to sign his book. I have met a lot of politicians and VIPs in my life but he is the one who impressed me the most. I cannot help but feel that American and world politics would be much improved had he become President but they are at least a whole better for his extraordinary life and contributions. Rest in peace, Senator
-- Tim, Canada
Our prayers are with your family
-- thomas, New York
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
#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
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
I never met John Mccain, but he stood out from many powerful and priviliged people. He always put others before himself. He adopted children from destitute countries. McCain family, stay close to God because that is where he is at now. May God bless Senator John McCain and his family.
-- Andre, California
In awe of his amazing service to this country! Well done. Prayers for comfort and lasting memories of laughter for all.
-- Sonya, Maryland
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
Our hearts go to the McCain family and our country for his lost!
-- Maria, Florida
We voted for John McCain in 2008 for President and are saddened by his passing. I lost an aunt to glioblastoma this past December. She only lived a few months after her diagnoses. Prayers for the McCain family during this difficult time.
-- Gail, Alabama
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
A leader. A patriot. An honorable soul. A true American.
-- Adam, Michigan
A true American. He had more guts than any other president.
-- Mir, Bangladesh
Thank You !
-- Alvin, Pennsylvania
For our generation, John McCain stood as a true hero, an example of patriotism, even through the dark hours of Viet Nam, and what was to follow. Self sacrifice .. putting our country above our immediate needs... no matter what the cost. Will always honor his memory!
-- Sue, California
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
A true patriot and warrior. Mission complete, God bless.
-- Michael, Texas
But we are sad. We need him more than ever.
-- Nora, Massachusetts
Thank you so much your help our country, We miss you
-- Van, Maryland
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