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 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
I lived on the site of his bombing target in Hanoi (2015-2016) next to the lake he landed in. Everyday I walked past his memorial - John McCain, Air Force! The Vietnamese could not understand how a man flying was not in the Air Force. I visited Hoa Lo (Hanoi Hilton) often and found the display of his rescue photos heart wrenching. I have always had absolute respect for John McCain. For his service, his leadership, his willingness to do what's right even if it costs, and for his candor. God Bless John McCain and may he rest in richly deserved peace.
-- Karen, Pennsylvania
I have always admired John McCain’s love of our country and his commitment to service. His courage in dealing with brain cancer was yet one more example of his admirable approach to life. He will be missed by all.
-- Wendy, New Jersey
John McCain was an American hero and showed us how we should treat everyone with respect.
-- John, New York
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
A great American, I will miss him.
-- Jack, Pennsylvania
Mrs. McCain, I am so sorry for your loss. I was fortunate to have met Senator McCain in March of 2017 on a flight from Brussels to DC. Senator McCain took the time to speak with me and I greatly appreciate it. We spoke about Israel, and the importance of public service. He commented on the fact that two of his favorite places in the world were Jerusalem and Istanbul. I have a great admiration for his courage and willpower to fight for what he believed in until the very end. I only spoke with him for five minutes but those five minutes have made me proud of my Americorps service and in pursuing my MSW. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. The world truly lost an incredible individual. He will forever be missed. Sincerely, Miriam Goldstein
-- Miriam, Maryland
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
I humbly come before you God, asking that you bless and comfort his family and his extended family in the United States Senate as well as his beloved Navy. Welcome this patriot into the Gates of Heaven; and give him a hero's homecoming and may both Admiral McCain Sr. and McCain Jr. be present along with every military member who has passed before him rendering the much deserved hand salute. And with the final words O' Lord, say the honorable words, "Welcome home thy good and faithful servant, welcome home". Senator McCain sir, You have fought the good fight, and you have claimed your mountain in the United States Senate and in the State of Arizona. Rest easy sir. We'll take the watch from here. #HandSalute
-- Nolan, Texas
Shook hands with John and his beautiful wife when I did a little work on his 2008 presidential campaign. Nice people.
-- Gilbert, California
He was simply, my hero...
-- Dianne, Michigan
I saw John McCain, during the time he was a POW, he protected other POW from being tortured. He told me that a Vietnam, soldier came to his cell and ask him if it is true that US Carriers have a swimming pool? To prevent any harm or torture to the prisoner that said this, he answered; " Yes; some have 2 pools".
-- Alfredo, Florida
A man who seemed to care. A man with a sense of humor. He had my vote as a person I could ask to be my representative.
-- Scott, Virginia
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 am a Viet Nam veteran and a Republican. I have always held John McCain in the highest regard. I watched the return of the POWs and cried as they exited the plane. God Bless John McCain
-- Lamar, Georgia
A true hero and patriot. We thank him for his service, love and courage for our Country. He was always there with sincere help when called upon. Our condolences go out to his family during this time. God bless him and may he Rest In Peace with Our Lord.
-- Sandra, Arizona
Senator McCain had seats very near mine for the Arizona Coyote games at America West Arena. I saw him often at these games. He always had a kind word, a smile, a wave, a nod of recognition. The Country has lost a man that was its rudder in stormy seas. A man that exemplified character, sacrifice, and sense of duty to Country and family. God speed Senator McCain and may God bless your family in this trying time. We have lost you, just when we need you the most. That said, you have done your duty. Prayerfully, I hope that there are those of compassion and character that can carry on your good work. Rest in Peace, Sir.
-- Steven, Arizona
Live on Senator. I will always remember the kind words you shared with the Public at the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy.
-- Fred, Florida
John McCain was a diamond in the dust of Washington, D.C. He was a precious gem. Our sympathies to the family of an extraordinary man. Rest in peace, John. Chad and Barbara Zitta
-- Barbara, Pennsylvania
ONLY THING I HAVE TO SAY IS AS A MARINE MY FATHER WAS WWll MARINE AND MY STEP DAD WAS IN THE NAVY 4 32 YEARS. I MAY HAVE EVEN MET JOHN WHILE ON THE BASE AT ALAMEDA. ALL I KNOW IS I HOPE HE GETS FULL HONORS AT ARLINGTON. GOD BLESS YOU ALL
-- WILLIAM, Kansas
Every one Loved John
-- Floyd, Arizona
America has lost a Son and Hero. Rest in Peace Senator your work here on earth is done. I have watched you over the years. Your dignity and service to our country will always be remembered. Prayers to you and your family.
-- Doris, New Hampshire
You will be so missed. The country loved you. Rest in peace.
-- Connie, Arizona
We were Naval Academy classmates. He was my naval and American hero.
-- Thomas, Hawaii
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
I wish all American would read this hero store. We must all come together in America and be more like him! I will work harder in my live. God Bless Mr.McCain and His Family
-- Mark, Louisiana
I remember seeing Senator McCain during the 2008 campaign defend President Obama from the accusation that he was an Arab. He said the President was an American citizen. I also remember seeing the dramatic vote on the Senate floor when John cast the deciding vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act. I saw him many times on television and he was straightforward and direct in many of his answers to questions whether they were good or bad ones. He will be deeply missed in the US Senate at a time when it could use the voice of a man with the courage of his convictions.
-- Christopher, Maryland
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
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
Dear McCain Family, I had the honor of meeting Senator McCain in Houston, TX. He was a very gracious man. We lost an icon in American politics. He was honorable, honest, and a hero. He was not afraid to speak his mind. He helped people in the United States and around the world. He will be remembered forever. Please accept my deepest condolences.
-- Imtihan, Texas
I was on the wrestling squad at Episcopal High School with John McCain, and I supported him financially and with a vote in both of his races for President. He was a bona fide American hero whom I admired greatly.
-- Robert, Virginia
Senator John McCain, you will always be our hero. No-one can fill the vacuum you have left behind.You will be truly missed. May your sweet soul REST IN PERFECT PEACE. Our sincere condolences to the McCain Family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
-- Madonna, Arizona
Our deepest condolences. Senator McCain was a true American Hero, a maverick and not just an individual that cared deeply for his friends, family and loved ones but a Senator who fought for the people and cared deeply for every American. Rest In Peace Senator, your work is done Respectfully John Connors
-- John, New Hampshire
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
Mi mas sincera condolencia a la familia y a todos sus seres queridos, se ha perdido una grande persona y un ser humano extraordinario para la historia de EEUU . estara en mi memoria y en la de todos los americanos. un ciudadano español. gracias por poder expresar mis sentimientos.
-- jose javier, Spain
He gave me a glimpse of what a George Washington and Abraham Lincoln's Courage, Honor and devotion to the truth was like. They would have been proud to have known him as a friend.
-- Garrick, New York
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
I met Senator McCain three times, once at a campaign rally in 2000 which is memorialized with a photo of him with me and my wife. We met more privately two other times where we discussed Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. I knew I was in the presence of an American patriot. At a time when are challenged at home and abroad his ,eacership will be sorely missed.
-- David, New Mexico
Fair winds and following seas from a Navy family.
-- Christina, Virginia
as men who "go down to the sea in ships" farewell, god speed." Anchors Away" John Sidney McCain
-- Arnell, California
Thank you for your service to the United States of America, Senator John McCain! You have been a shining example to all of a hero, of a public servant, of a humanitarian, of a world leader! You were willing to fight for your country & die for it if needed. You never gave up. You endured torture that would have broken many. Your bravery is that of a super hero! You lived your life with dignity & have earned my respect as well as many throughout the USA & around the world! God bless you & your family! May you rest in peace, dear sir! You deserve it!
-- Wanda, Ohio
A Great Great Man. He will be miss by all
-- Ron, Washington
Rest In Peace, Senator John!
-- Tran, Vietnam
You can always trust that Senator McCain will do the right thing, the man - who selflessly leads, inspires and always stands by principles. Today, when the free world faces one of the toughest fights against the forces of darkness, we, Georgians and all the other free nations have been blessed to have him. On the day of the Russian invasion in Georgia, while being in the Presidential race his phrase “today we all are Georgians” strongly resonated across as the call to rest of the world to stand against the Russian aggression.
-- Batu, Georgia
I hope John McCain’s influence will guide America in the days and months and years to come. His character, bravery and heart will never be forgotten. He would have been our greatest President, I believe. We need him now more than ever. I feel we the people let him down. Maybe now we can be an example for him.
-- Barbara J, New York
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
You asked to that when you are gone, how would you like to be remembered? You said "That you lived honorably." Sir, you did. Some will call you hero, father, friend, and Senator. I will call you a Sailor. One of "OUR" Navy's best. I can only offer you a thank you. Fair Winds and Following Seas.
-- Naeem, Ohio
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
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
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
If so inclined, flowers may be sent to your local VA Hospital. Thank you.
Balcony photo credit: Charles Archambault