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John Sidney McCain III 1936 - 2018

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.

Memorials and Services

There will be memorial events celebrating the life of Senator John Sidney McCain III in Arizona and Washington, D.C.
Please see below for more information:

The Story of John Sidney McCain III

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.

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Donate to a Charitable Cause

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:

The McCain Institute Foundation
The McCain Institute Foundation is a tax-exempt 501C3 charitable organization founded to support the work of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. Guided by values that have animated the career of Senator John McCain and the McCain family for generations, the McCain Institute for International Leadership is dedicated to advancing character-driven global leadership based on security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity. LEARN MORE AND LEND YOUR SUPPORT.

Translational Genomics Research Institute
When TGen’s founder, Arizona-born Dr. Jeffrey Trent, was the Scientific Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, Senator McCain was instrumental in convincing him to return to Arizona and bring new knowledge with him, establishing TGen in an effort to turn breakthroughs in genetic research into medical advances. Today, TGen is poised to take that knowledge and transform brain cancer research in honor of Senator McCain. We invite you to join us in honoring Senator John McCain with the establishment of the John S. McCain III Endowed Chair in Brain Cancer Research. LEARN MORE ABOUT GLIOBLASTOMA AND LEND YOUR SUPPORT.

Statements and Tributes

Statement from The Office of Senator John 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.


Mourning the Departure of Senator John McCain

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

Tributes at the U.S. Naval Academy Honoring Senator John McCain today by General David H. Petraeus and Jack McCain.


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Remembering John 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.

what a great vietnam vet he was a american hero may he R.I.P.

-- Joseph, New York

A truly loving father and kind man. Thank you for your service.

-- Teresa, Arizona

A man to be respected.

-- Wendy, Connecticut

Sorry for your loss

-- Joan, New York

Live on Senator. I will always remember the kind words you shared with the Public at the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy.

-- Fred, Florida

We wish to share our feelings about a true American hero.

-- Robert, Indiana

People like John McCain are what truly make America great!

-- Kippi, Tennessee

The very definition of HERO. Thank you for giving yourself to us.

-- Betty, Illinois

John McCain for me was a man who I greatly respected. He fought for what he believed was right regardless of "how the party" felt about the issue. Integrity ran through and through John. His response to the lady at a political event "defending Obama" truly showed a man of grear integrity. I am proud to say that I had an opportunity to vote many times for John McCain. He will be missed by our country and the world. I thank the McCain family for sharing him with us.

-- Rev. Louie, Arizona

Our prayers are with your family

-- thomas, New York

I was in the USAF in SWA when John McCain was taken hostage by the NVA. We did everything we could to rescue him but to no avail. John McCain will always be a true American Hero to everyone in the military. I’m positive he has “...reached out and touched the face of God”

-- Tom, Alabama

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

My memories of the Senator involve being introduced by LtCol Orson Swindle, USMC, POW, his and my friend. Will not write long, I admired the Senator for all the reasons others have said, but most of all because HE was a real patriot , and we as a strong Nati0n, in his image, will prevail.

-- Col Bob, Maine

Couple years ago I was at the Phoenix airport with my young son and son in law. I was sending off my son in law to another tour in Afghanistan as a highly decorated Special Forces soldier. Senator McCain came over to us and thanked my son in law for his service. They chatted privately for a few minutes and took pictures together. Amazing man. A real friend!

-- Lee, Arizona

John McCain was the Executive Officer of VA174 when I was in A-7E RAG training at Cecil Field in the mid 1970s. He personally taught me low-level tactics, and weapons training at MCAS Yuma AZ. What a GREAT instructor, and motivator! And John had one of the most infectious senses of humor of anyone I have ever known. What an inspiration of a man!!

-- Richard, Idaho

Senator McCain will always be remembered by us as an American Hero and a man who served the American people his whole life. Thank you John McCain.

-- Mr. & Mrs. George, Arizona

2 of my children and I had the pleasure of attending The Senators 100th town hall in NH when he was running for President. I was fortunate to be called on for a question. He was gracious and strong that day. He even complemented my young children. We sometimes watch the replay on CSpan. We think of that family time and cherish the memory. As well, I was just recently working in Vietnam and visited the Relic in Hanoi. I was moved to tears reading the history and how much I’m sure that he endured for the fight for our great country. But more importantly, the grace he showed on his return. He will be missed and our families prayers are with you during this time of sorrow. I know, as you do, that he is in God’s Loving arms for all time. God Bless you!

-- Michael, New York

Senator McCain was one of the last great politicians in this country. I will remember him as a principled man who stuck to his guns and argued for what he thought was right, regardless of who was on the opposite side of the issue or his party’s position. I doubt that we will be fortunate enough to see any politician like him again. I am grateful to him for his service to our country and to his adherence to his principles. I send my love and respect to his family and hope they will know how much the American people will miss him.

-- David, New Jersey

I loved him too. Met John at the Memorial Day celebration at the veterans cemetery two years ago and gave him a kiss and a hug. I wispered in his ear that I loved him and thanked him for all he did for the people of Arizona. He stood back a bit and looked me in the eye and said, you made my day and you’re very welcome. He made me feel like the most important person in the whole world at moment. I’ll ever forget that sweet person.

-- JoAnn, Arizona

My name is Mina Castilho, I admire and loved Senator McCain. What a great loss for the whole world. Thank you Senator McCain for dedicating 60 years of your life to serve this wonderful and great Country. I am sending love and blessings to His family. May our God hold all of you in His loving arms. I will miss your sense of humor your service and fight to make this a better place. R.I.P Sir!!!

-- Mina, California

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

There is a belief that great people are even greater and have more influence in the after life. Certainly we can hope that Senator McCain will watch over us and continue to protect us from his new standing.

-- Joseph, Nevada

My condolences to his family and friends, he stood for his beliefs and this country and thats why I voted for him when he ran for President

-- Dennis, Ohio

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

Senator McCain was a true American Hero and Patriot who deserves the respect and gratitude of EVERY American. Thank you Senator McCain for a job well done. Rest In Peace.

-- Leo J., New Jersey

We never met or saw him speak personally but always respected his service to our country. Thank you Senator John McCain.

-- Martin & Cheryl, Wisconsin

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

he was a great senator from the state of Arizona. Anthony , Greenville

-- Anthony, North Carolina

Well, I've followed his career ever since he stepped off the plane from Vietnam and stepped back on U.S. soil. I've always thought of Johm McCain as an American hero. I was so thankful for Meghan's expression of love for her "beloved father". What father would not want such a statement from his daughter or son after he's gone. That means a "job well done" in this life.

-- William, Texas

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

A true patriot and warrior. Mission complete, God bless.

-- Michael, Texas

I am grateful to Senator McCain for your serving and contribution to the USA. Please Rest in Peace. I pray for you. God bless Senator McCain!

-- Larry, California

He is a man with dignity and respect. He’s great father, brother, and human person... btw am Arizona resident n I’ll miss him. ??????

-- Maanka, Arizona

"We have to fight. We have to fight against propaganda and crackpot conspiracy theories. We have to fight isolationism, protectionism, and nativism. We have to defeat those who would worsen our divisions. We have to remind our sons and daughters that we became the most powerful nation on Earth by tearing down walls, not building them." America will be poorer for losing the voice of this brave. RIP

-- Michael, Texas

Senator McCain has been a true Patriot with great love of country. He was a true Statesman and man of honor and integrity. He will be missed by those who knew him and citizens just like me! God is welcoming this special soul!

-- Jane, Florida

While in college at the University of Arizona, I worked on Senator McCain's first bid for the senate. I always admired Senator McCain's service to our country, his honesty and tenacity. May he Rest In Peace.

-- Janet, Wyoming

We will keep you in are hearts for the rest of our lives

-- John, Oregon

In awe of his amazing service to this country! Well done. Prayers for comfort and lasting memories of laughter for all.

-- Sonya, Maryland

I have always admired his courage. I enjoyed listening to him speak and reading his life story. I love how he addressed the American people “My Friend(s)”. I can still hear his voice in my head, “county first”. I am an immigrant and I know America is exceptional because of people like John McCain.

-- Sueet, Maryland

I will remember John as a man that went threw enemy torture. A Veteran that stood up to help us Veterans while in the Senate.

-- Rory, Wisconsin

Rest in Peace John. There will never be another John McCain.. We will miss you and will pray for you.

-- Paula, Arizona

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

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 considered him a wonderful honest politician. A man of the people.

-- Ruth Lee, New York

I have learnt from the life of Senator McCain what distinguishes an outstanding leader: He knows who he is; what he stands for; what he believes in; where he is going; and most of all; he epitomizes character-driven leadership in action. I understood from his life example that 'Leadership is not something we stand for, rather, it is a stand for something'!

-- Karambu, Kenya

Forever my hero!

-- Bengi Poston, Texas

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

I did not have the privilege of meeting Sen. McCain, but I have known his story for a long time. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. Our country has lost a true patriot and hero.

-- Susan, Texas

I voted for John McCain. He would have been a great president! However, he was a great senator and patriot!

-- Dean, Colorado

I remember Mr. McCain commitment to a very strong military and thereby always keeping us all safe. Mr. McCain was a leader in realizing a comprehensive immigration law he co-sponsored with Ted Kennedy. It was very sad day when this comprehensive immigration plan was defeated by Congress. I also remember very well Mr. McCain class in ignoring insults from Donald Trump and how he campaigned against Barack Obama by speaking very positively about Mr. Obama as a person, only disagreements were policies, not personal. In today's Congress, we sure need new Mr. McCains !!!

-- Thor, New York

Thank You

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.