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.
Dear McCain family, I want to send my deepest condolences on the death of Sen. John McCain. I had planned on sending the following note to him on Wednesday, his birthday. Sen. McCain, I hope your birthday finds you surrounded by loved ones. I wanted to let you know that how you describe your life: trying to live your life with honor and occasionally failing and ruminating on those failures, has made me feel that I am not so odd. I intend to work harder in being grateful for my life as my new year resolution. (My birthday – my new year- is the same as yours, but a different year.) Sincerely, Retired Army Master Sergeant Lisa Beth Davis Altadena, CA
-- Lisa Beth, California
and this the power family I m send though my senator McCain touched the lives of people everywhere he traveled 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 johns 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 johns life by continuing his legacy of service and leaving this world a better place for generations to come the McCain family
-- ashley, Florida
he was a great senator from the state of Arizona. Anthony , Greenville
-- Anthony, North Carolina
You were a great man of God May you RIP.
-- Harry, Virginia
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see GOD. Senator John McCain had every reason to be hard hearted, but time and time again, John forgave...pure hearted John forgave. He always looked forward, not back. He walked the walk. He kept reaching. He was human, but he didn't quit. He kept looking up. God is his strength. So yes, blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see GOD. Thank you McCain Family for sharing John with us. We pray you know God's presence, love and comfort during these very difficult days.
-- Debbie, Virginia
May all Americans strive to follow Senator McCain's extraordinary example of honor, integrity, true patriotism, and public service. My deepest sympathies to the McCain family.
-- Danielle, Virginia
John McCain was a true American hero. I'm glad to have lived in his lifetime. Thank you John for your service to our country.
-- Patricia, New Jersey
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
megan McCain sorry about your dad he was the best man and president god will take care of him and rest in heaven thanks lord 2018 by joel mansfield
-- joel, Texas
A great American statesman and hero. I have admired him throughout his career. I have retired from the USAF as a Colonel and honor him for the sacrifices he has made for his country.
-- Bruce, Indiana
Remembering a very, very good man. What a great example John McCain left for us to follow. Farewell brave hero. Sleep well.
-- Audrey, New Jersey
I am sad and disappointed that I did not get a chance to meet you in person. It was always a pleasure to listen to what you had to say! A great man and role model for us. Thank you for your service Sir!
-- Patrick, Arizona
Rest in heaven , you will be truly miss , praying for the family may God give you all strength as y’all grieve over your love one
-- Sharhonda, Louisiana
The truest definition of an American Patriot. Thank you Senator McCain for your service to our great state and nation. May your life be an inspiration to others. God Bless Senator McCain and his family. My deepest condolences, a fellow American.
-- Denise, Arizona
Have never had the pleasure of meeting him am 80 years old and he is my choice to have dinner with so much respect for him. Would love to thank him for his service to mankind and country
-- Gayle, South Carolina
I served in Vietnam. Your legacy will inspire the young men and women thinking about entering the military and flying aircraft. Your unselfish position, and willing to sacrifice your life on behalf of the soldiers on the ground is appreciated. Your gallantry in action saved many lives, like myself. Mr. McCain, know that we will always love you, respect you and pray for you and your beautiful family!
-- Carlos, Texas
I had the distinct privilege to serve as a delegate for John in both the 2000 and 2008 Republican National Convention from Massachusetts. I have such admiration and respect for this man. My great sympathies to his family.
-- Madeleine, Massachusetts
I feel very fortunate that I was able to shake this true American's hand a few years ago! What a truly great man of great character and strength.
-- Josephine, California
It was such an honor working on the 2008 campaign. If anyone deserved to be the President of this country, Senator John McCain was the one. Spent his entire life serving this country, what a loss to all Americans.
-- Candace, California
You are a tough act to follow and will be missed. America thanks you for your service.
-- Vicki, Montana
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 served as the Senator's Iowa State Chair in 2008. I regret that a health issue prevents me from joining you all on Saturday. What a remarkable human being. Prayers for the entire McCain Family; immediate and all of us. Dave Roederer Iowa
-- David, Iowa
While I have never met John in person, I have followed his career with great admiration for his honesty and patriotic stance along with his strong support for our military. When we heard of his diagnosis of Glioblastoma it hit home hard as our adult son Douglas Fadely, was diagnosed with the same brain tumor in July of 2016. Doug is still doing well after surgery in July, 2016 and further treatments but it is like a time bomb. Our hearts go out to John's family and we know the suffering is over for John and he is living now in a pain free kingdom. We have lost a great man and we loved him dearly from afar.
-- Jan, Florida
As a moderately liberal Democrat I had never contributed to a Republican candidate. But as a Vietnam Veteran (river patrol forces 1966-1968 and 1969-1970) I had to pay attention to the statements and positions of John Mc Cain. And no matter where one stood on the political spectrum, it was clear that Senator McCain was a principled, insiteful, and patriotic leader. So I contributed what I could. And I wish it had been more and could have had more of an effect. I know I will miss him and believe our country will also miss his voice of patriotism. My condolences to his family and our nation.
-- Don, Kentucky
To the McCain Family Although I did not know Senator McCain personally,I respected him greatly. As a veteran, he made me proud! Master Sergeant, USAF, RETIRED
-- Cassandra, Alabama
John, May you Rest In Peace in heaven with God! You lived a life that shows the world what American is about! May God bless your family!
-- Jack, California
John McCain was a true American hero. Probably the most significant hero of my lifetime.
-- Rick, California
I voted for John Mc Cain for President. His words " A steady hand at the tiller " propelled me forward. Yes Sir.
-- Oscar, Texas
I will always be reminded of John McCain, because of his daughter Megan who will shine in the shadow of her father.... is a remarkable intellect, and is able to articulate so clearly the attributes that make a legend in US history. I am hoping she will rise up, and follow in her fathers footsteps.
-- Karen, California
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
Since I worked in Operation Homecoming I have followed John McCain’s career with respect. He is a hero to our nation and to all people who believe in honor and service. Quid custodiet ipsos custodes? He was a watcher who inspired us all. God bless you and thank you. There will never be your equal.
-- Philip, California
John McCain understood better than most what it means to be deprived of liberty. That’s why he became a passionate advocate for the liberty of people everywhere. Humans cannot reach their full potential unless they are free. Nor can America be safe in a world where tyranny is on the march. America’s greatest adversaries during his lifetime, from Imperial Japan to Putin’s Russia, emerged from non-democratic systems in which dictators invaded other nations to stay in power at home. The terrorists who attacked America on 9/11 incubated in the democratic deficits of the greater Middle East. Whether in China or Venezuela, military-ruled Burma or Hun Sen’s Cambodia, McCain took it personally when strongmen abused their citizens’ inherent rights – just as he celebrated democratic revolutions in the former Soviet Empire as victories of human dignity. People everywhere saw the best of America in him; he was the best his country had to offer the world. His spirit lives everywhere men and women are free.
-- Dan, Virginia
My thoughts and prayers are with the family of my friend (many years ago) John....he was the greatest......I will give a donation to the Humane Society in memory of our great Senator.....Peg Matteson. Solterra, Lakeside
-- Mrs Margaret F. Peg, Arizona
I think of John McCain as a comrade who served this great Nation with love of service to country, family, self, and humanity. God Bless his Spirit and God Bless America.
-- Paul, California
Sen. John McCain taught us what honor, true patriotism and basic human decency look like. He will be missed.
-- Max, Pennsylvania
I was and had been a huge supporter of John McCain! I’m so saddened to hear of his passing! My thoughts and prayer go out to the McCain family! Thank You John McCain for your Service and all that it intails!!!!!This country lost the best of the best !!!!!
-- Lori, Michigan
I enjoyed campaiging for John, at his office. He was a wonderful person. The staff was great there was always, an aboundance of food and treats, for the volunteers! You would never go hungry in his office. My deepest sympathy to his whole family.
-- Marie, Arizona
A great man! Thanks so much for your selfless service to our country. You will truly be missed.
-- Linda, Florida
You taught us to forgive. I wish I could have been a better student .
-- Nolan, California
I met Sen. McCain in 1997 during my tenure as Chairman of the RNHA. It was a priviledge to count on him and his staff to engage in different issues related to our Hispanic community for four years. He never said no, his doors were always open and was always ready to step forward. Later, in 2008, I had the honor to be his Delegate at the National Convention held in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Always an Officer and a Gentleman! He will be missed. RIP Captain John McCain, USN (Ret)
-- Jose, Virginia
My husband, a retired Vet, died of Alzheimer's in 2016. But when he was still clear of mind and could speak, he would constantly speak about Senator McCain and his strength, honesty and gentle personality. He didn't know the Senator personally. But it was a great comfort to him that Senator McCain "was there to help us all". Comfort to all of the McCain Family. He can now rest among the heroes.
-- Marie A., Virginia
John McCain met my dad, sister, and niece on the Campaign trail. My dad had cancer. He invited them on his bus. My dad brought along a photo album of me and my tour in Iraq where I was serving. He took the time to look at every picture and told my dad the places he visited (he had come to Iraq to visit us troops). His visit with my dad was one of the best moments in my dad's life. I wrote John McCain from Iraq thanking him for visiting the troops. My dad gave him my letter and he wrote me back personally. I will cherish his letter and the impact he had on my family. Thank you for your service Mr. McCain. I salute you. God Bless you and your family.
-- Gale, Florida
My heartfelt thanks to Senator John McCain and to his family for his dedication to country, service and family. Love and admiration from my entire family... Henry, Laurie, Sasha and myself, God Bless you all
-- Lena, Idaho
Death can never take a good man away, for in the hearts of the people he inspired, his legacy remains and continues throughout generations. Sen. John S. McCain will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in peace. Please accept my humble condolences.
-- Jean Marc, Belgium
Dear Senator John McCain. I want to thank you for everything you have done for this country. You have been a friend to all of us. You will not be forgotten.
-- Michael, Florida
May the grace of God be with the McCain family as John go home to be with Jesus.Thank you for a job well done!
-- Marsha, Georgia
We lost a tremendous man, warrior and public servant. God speed to the family
-- Kevin, Illinois
The only thing is to pray for him. May God RIP.
-- mafuli, Florida
One of my proudest moments was speaking for him at the Iowa Caucus, and then voting for him, against all odds that fall. I will always believe that the issues we are struggling with today would not have been so extreme or intractable had he won in 2008. I would have followed him into fire if he had asked. He spent 6 years in a box in Asia, for me, my family and this country. Godspeed.
-- Charles, Iowa
A man of relentless courage and selfless dedication. Your legacy lives on...
-- Gregory W., Virginia
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