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 was very saddened to hear of Mr. McCain's passing. I was (and still am) an admirer of the man. I wish he had run for president. He was one of the few true patriots in this country. He will be sorely missed.
-- Teresa, Nebraska
He loved the same beautiful Arizona that I once loved. He gave generously to CHOC hospital where I once worked. Good memories last.
-- kathy p., Alabama
We can't say "Thank You " enough to Senator McCain to served our both country (South VietNam and US) He's our hero forever. And also Thanks Cindy and family.
-- Danny, Maryland
My love and prayers go to the family of this fine man. When he first started in politics both my daughter and myself worked in his office and worked for him. We also worked for Jon Kyl and Barry Goldwater. Prayer and hope that his replacement will be of a very high caliber, like Jon Kyle. I hope young people will read of his devotion and learn what keeps America the land of the free!
-- Billie, Oregon
I am a physician who helped take care of Senator McCain's kids. We had been out of the country several July 4th's. My daughter asked it we could stay in the US one year and John's office was helpful I setting up tours in DC. We asked to meet him when we came back to AZ. When we met in 2005, I reminded him who I was, asked him to run for President and offered to be his running mate. He thought a minute, said my kids are alive and "OK, you're in"! When we asked him how the average American could make a difference, he responded to keep the memory of the holocaust alive. He then quoted from Jewish authors. What a thrill and honor to have met him and have our family discuss this with him. We will never forget this honor to be with him.
-- Alvin, Arizona
Honorably served and will be missed!!
-- Beverly, Arizona
I remember Sen. McCain at Wright State University introducing Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. It was a fun and optimistic time. I will always remember his patriotism.
-- Mary S, 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
Senator McCain, was a great American, great leader, great man , My deepest sympathy to the family, rest in peace.
-- Lorenzo, Arizona
Thank you for standing up for a free press and the First Amendment. And being honest about mistakes you made in life. We all have made some. It's called being human. You will be sorely missed!
-- Kerry, Arizona
A lot of respect for this true American, your honesty and social awareness. You will be deeply missed.
-- Karel and Ellen, Netherlands
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
Just never prouder in my life to cast a vote for President when I voted for Senator John Mcain.
-- Creighton, Massachusetts
I never met John McCain, but it looks like he cared a lot about the American People, He spoke up about the what was right and wrong about politics, He voted in the house about which way to go about each bill the way it was planned out, God Bless you RIP John McCain, our condolences goes out to the family, Thank you for your service.
-- Melanie, Arizona
I was fortunate to meet and to learn from John McCain; but here, I will share a story about a book autograph. I took my young daughter and a copy of Faith of My Fathers to a Tucson event. In the backyard of the private residence, I noticed that at least 50 people had also brought the book. I returned to the front to ambush him. He arrived, promptly signed his book, and was sincerely impressed upon hearing it would be a gift for my father. As media began to record the event, I noticed that my daughter had found a porch swing and was testing the height limits on it. She ignored me and continued to play. So somewhere, there is a video and photographic record of me watching Senator McCain sign his book, and of my daughter ignoring both of us on a swing in the background.
-- Gerald, Arizona
He would have been the Best President ever!! Also a President for everyone, not just his party. Hopefully his life will influence the rest of the USA. He was truly a great & honest person!!
-- Shirley, California
My memory of John McCain will always be the class and dignity with which he conducted himself during and after the 2008 Presidential Campaign. There is no greater example of his extraordinary character.
-- Michael, Massachusetts
Thank you John McCain for everything you have done for our country. Hero’s never die only retired.
-- Edwin, California
Thank you for giving our children an example of what an American hero is. May your legacy inspire many to lead.
-- Leigh, North Carolina
Senator McCain is not only a role model for me and my husband, but also for our teenage children. Although we didn’t always agree with him, we always respected him as a great patriot and man of character. In this political age when leadership pales, Senator McCain is a shining beacon of dignity, honesty, integrity and courage. God rest Senator McCain and bless his family with the knowledge that he touched the lives of so many in the world for the better. Senator John Sidney McCain will be forever remambered.
-- Jameela, Arizona
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
Thank you Senator McCain for all you did for the American people and for man kind. You are already missed and will always be remembered for your love of country . Rest easy SIR
-- Harry, Florida
We‘ll never forget him as a fighter for freedom and democracy! Trump would like to win a war (we hope there will be no war). The free world won the most important war against aggressive cominism as to the strength primarily of USA. Senator John McCain always was a supporter of the transatlantic friend- and partnership. He was himself a very strong soldier and was almost tortured to death in his fight for freedom and justice! We cannot say thankyou enough and will never forget him. All the best wherever you are ( to be sure a good place) Mr. Senator McCain !!!
-- Klaus from Germany, Germany
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
SENATOR McCAIN WAS AN AMERICAN HERO. HE GAVE HIS LIFE FOR BEING A PERSON WHO WORRIED ABOUT HIS FELLOW COUNTRY MEN THEN HIS POLITICS . I WILL BE DEDICATING A TREE IN ISRAEL IN HIS HONOR. MENCH.
-- ARTHUR, Florida
I was a Democrat, but when John ran for President, I'd always said that if he ever ran , I would support him. Party didn't matter as much to me as the intent and decency of the candidate. John is the reason I became a bipartisan ..until trump...and I will be again when integrity is restored to the GOP... by emulating John's ethics. It can honestly be said that John was a "great man", that only comes along in decades. I wasn't prepared, though I knew it might come. Even now, John helps us differentiate the split screen contrast between revered and notoriety. He helped us through the troubled days of late while he was here, and will be the inspiration for us to regain our country's place in the world. I will remember you, John.
-- Jenneva, Arizona
I had the honor of being a delegate to the 2008 Republican National Convention. I enjoyed meeting Senator McCain there and remain proud to have helped nominate him for President.
-- David, Georgia
Senator Mccain was a true hero and statesman. He will be missed by American citizens. I"m so sorry for your loss.
-- diane, Florida
It is my prayer we find someone with your honesty and competence to lead and govern us. God bless you!
-- Steven, Arizona
To the McCain family, my family and I wish to offer our sincere condolences on your loss. To me, Senator McCain personifies the meaning of what it is to be a real American patriot. He truly followed the path of Robert Jordan by sacrificing for his country. I admire him for admitting that he after all was human and capable of making mistakes. But he said that's ok as long as you own it. As a Vietnam veteran I would just like to say REST IN PEACE may God be with you
-- Ruben, California
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
Our family was supportive of Senator McCain for president. We were blessed to meet him in Howell, MI. During his run for Presidency. He shook hands and hugged my father a WW11 vet. My father passed in January 2016. Senator McCain thank you for your service and your love of America!?? God Bless.
-- NANCY, Michigan
I want to thank Sen. McCain and his office for assisting me in getting my Social Security check back in 2001, He went out of his way in helping me, and I will never forget what he has done for me. God speed and Happy birthday!
-- Monica, Arizona
My salute to a great career and a man of wonderful inner strength who served his county with honor and courage. May he rest in peace and be embraced by the arms of Jesus Christ.
-- Nicholas, Pennsylvania
I will never forget the Senator's reaction in defense of his competitor, Barrack Obama, during the presidential campaign of 2008. When a woman in the audience said she did not trust Obama and that Obama was an arab, McCain showed his character when he replied that Obama was a good and decent family man. A true statesman, this country has lost a special and unique person, who put his principles and love of family and country above himself. A rare thing in today's political climate! I hope (and pray) that somewhere, there is someone who can stand up for what is right, just as Senator McCain did day in and day out. Thank you sir-we are so grateful for your service!
-- Frances, Minnesota
I’m at a loss for words tonight. Both in the midst of war and in the halls of Washington, Senator McCain's dedication to our country never faltered. In this era of talking heads and 24-hour news cycles, John McCain reminded us that we are not defined by our divisions or our disagreements but by our common bond as Americans. We can never replace him but we can honor him by continuing his mission. Thank you, Senator. hashtag#countryfirst
-- Maya, Washington, D.C.
Honor to a great Hero
-- Eduardo R., Florida
Thank you for your great service to our Country! Rest In Peace and God Bless You!
-- Michael, Pennsylvania
My Deepest Sympathy to the family..He was truly a protector of our Freedom..He is now a Heavenly Angel ..
-- RoseAnn, Pennsylvania
I remember him in Peterborough N.H. the night before the 2008 election.
-- Stephen, Massachusetts
As a daughter of a career Army Officer who served in Vietnam in 1969-1970 I knew the story of Senator McCain. Through the years I always talked to my Father about Senator McCain. My Father passed away at 94 on 10-17-17 and this October will be interred at Arlington. I cried when I heard the Senator passed away. Truly reading Meghan’s tribute reminded me how strong her Father was and though our Fathers never met they shared love of family and country.
-- Denise, Georgia
I saw Senator McCain on Hilton Head Island, SC...he was so dynamic and funny. I have a son who is a Cmdr. in the Navy and I know that Mr. McCain was one of his influences. My thanks, most especially to his family...they sacrificed a great deal for him to do his work for us, bless you during this very difficult time.
-- Toni, Texas
I voted for John for president! I too was a Vietnam veteran! I always looked to him as a leader! He voted his heart and beliefs! John put his country first!
-- Gary, Montana
Sorry for your loss
-- Joan, New York
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
A honest man, a fair human, thank you.
-- Uwe, Germany
My dear maverick will truly miss you is going to be difficult without writing letters to you an email I will never forget the graciousness your wife displaying at the parties of Fourth of July in 2000 and 2001 will be parties that I truly will treasure now you are with your heroes Barry Goldwater, William T Garland, mote Mo Udall and other great Arizonans including the classy Gov. Rose Mulford your example of not putting anybody down will be a countless example in US history illustrated talk express one of the best memories of my young adult life as I stated in your last letter that that hope you had a chance to see I said that the maverick force be with you Megan Cindy and the rest of him became family I mourn your loss your loss is my loss as well!!
-- Ted, 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
I appreciate his service to our country -
-- David, California
I remember meeting John McCain at a book signing sponsored by RJ Julia held at Daniel Hand High School in Madison, CT where he also gave a speech on national security and the Iraq war I believe. This was while he was working in Congress to improve airport security after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I honestly don't remember the speech but I do remember him signing both of my copies of his books, Faith of my Father's and Worth the Fighting for, shaking his hand and having our photographer taken which was later framed and which I have kept displayed on my bookshelf as a reminder of one of the greatest and most memorable experiences of my life. I loved his Straight Talk Express campaign in 2000 and his book, Hard Choices. I voted for him in the 2008 presidential election. He has my eternal gratitude, admiration and respect. RIP John McCain.
-- Gregory, Connecticut
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