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 remember Senator McCain's voice when I was serving with USAID in Iraq. His honest confrontation with the situation encouraged me in my work, but more importantly as a citizen. I will continue to be inspired by his work, his work, his words, his love of country, his dedication to service, and his memory.
-- Dana, California
John McCain was the greatest man of his generation. Also. of mine.
-- Tim, Maryland
Thank you for your years of dedication to the United States, your commitment to uphold the Constitution and contributions for human rights. You will be missed. God Speed Senator.
-- Tedi, Texas
He did a great job and will be missed. My prayers and thoughts for the McCain family.
-- Maria, Delaware
A true American hero and a representative to all citizens! Our thoughts and prayers are with the McCain family.
-- Cristi, Kentucky
Country before party, allies before foes, liberty before despots. Living currently in Europe I was asleep when the news of the untimely death of John McCain came. A friend from DC who knew the Senator well woke me up. My reaction was very simple: I cried and I am not ashamed of it. RIP.
-- Giles, Switzerland
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
John McCain was a hero from the Vietnam war and I admired him.
-- LaVonne, South Dakota
Senator McCain’s lifelong commitment to public service has been truly inspiring for me, particularly as a career military officer. From combat service in Vietnam to the halls of Congress, his courage and allegiance to the ideals of freedom speak to me as a leader and a citizen. His example challenges me to never fail to act on principle and to do so regardless of the personal consequences. Senator McCain embodies the “man in the arena” and in keeping with President Roosevelt’s wishes, to him should go much credit. His lifetime of public service deserves the highest possible praise and admiration.
Mr. McCain was a true patriot of the American people. We will miss this great man. Peace be with you.
-- Annette, California
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
Thank you for your service John.
-- j, Minnesota
I was privileged to represent John in a few small legal matters back in the 1990’s. John retained me because our mutual friend, John Dowd, referred me. I remember feeling enormously proud to represent a man I so deeply admired. He was an easy client to please. His colleague Jon Kyl and I were law partners for twenty-six years before he went to the House of Representatives with John. And I had the rare pleasure of watching a football game or two with him at Sun Devil Stadium. While my interaction with him was infrequent, I immensely enjoyed his quick smile and a few small things we shared about my service in the USAF and his in the USN. Perhaps the most important reminder I have of him is the blurb he wrote for the back cover of my 2004 book about the famous Miranda v. Arizona case. I was an Independent voter when John first came to Arizona, and I voted for him every time. He was brave, good, and true. There are others, but very few in the U.S. Senate today.
-- Gary, Arizona
Great, great man!! He had steel backbone and and was a model of principled leadership. Service to God and country before self. He was from the fabric all leaders should aspire to be made of.
-- MATTHEW, Virginia
Our two kids, Mary Leigh and Joshua had their first public service experiences working hard in NH and CT on the 2008 campaigns. The Senator was kind enough to remember "the kid in the yellow jacket" years later. Tracy, the now-adult "kids" and I all appreciate the opportunity and honor to support this great American. I we only hope that he was not the last of his breed.
-- Michael, Connecticut
My deepest condolences to Johns family and closest friends! I believe he was a man of utmost integrity! John is the reason I registered to vote. And the reason I continue to do so. I never thought it was that important until the 2008 election. He made me realize just how important it is to not only register but to actually go out and vote. He will forever be remembered not just to me but so many other people as well. May he rest in peace! And may God forever watch over us all!
-- Edward, Florida
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
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
Heartfelt sympathies to the entire McCain family. A true Maverick willing to help others even those he never met. Thank you for your service, celebration and humility.
-- Kathleen, Florida
It was my honor to work for the Senator, 18+ years. He always listened to what staff had to say, even if it was a different opinion. I respected and admired him greatly. RIP
-- Deborah, Arizona
I meet him in maybe 2001 in the AZ airport gift shop. I asked for a photo and his daughter Megan took it. We took a few since I am a blinker. Back then a regular camera so had to wait till I was back in Texas to develop. I called my mom from a pay phone to tell her.
-- Shelly, Texas
I voted for John McCain. He would have been a great president! However, he was a great senator and patriot!
-- Dean, Colorado
I never met you but I can see a Great person in you. You served for our country. I am a democrat and in the last few years, the way you were treated were unfair and not deserved. I will pray for you and your family during this difficult time Sir.
-- Abraham, New York
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
Amazing hero and patriot. He will forever be an inspiration to many of us about service to our country. Blessed to have worked for his campaign and honored to know what kind of man and person he was. A generation of dedication will always be remembered. Eternal rest grant grant unto thee Lord and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he Rest In Peace. Always forward and God speed sir.
-- Mario, California
I was honored to have met the Senator when he came to our community during his run for the Presidency. He was a man that I respected very much. Even though he was a little young, he was one of the GREATEST GENERATION of soldiers who fought for this country, a country he truly loved. He will be missed.
-- John, Florida
Dear Family: With all his many impressive accomplishments I always looked at him with pride . I was pleased to have been a classmate in USNA-58 with him for a while. He was a great man. The country will miss him.
-- Rich, Wisconsin
In January of 2003 a friend and I were traveling to Vietnam. Upon arriving in Saigon we visited the former Presidential Palace, now a museum to the “American War.” Photos of John Mcaain’s capture were throughout, celebrating it. As we came up to main floor we were stunned to see Senator McCain, his wife and youngest daughter. My friend and I approached and told him how much we admired him and he and Cindy were so very kind. We gushed to our guide that this man could be President, that he was such an important American. But what really sticks with me was the grace of this man who was held prisoner in this country, tortured, his treatment celebrated in this very museum and yet, he was cordial and kind to his hosts. What grace and forgiveness far beyond the ability of most people. He was a truly great man.
-- Cathryn, Illinois
We in Germany are grateful for this honorable and brave statesman of the whole western Community. R.I.P.
-- Jochen, Germany
John McCain: An Honest, Loving, and Honorable Man. He was A Man of Strength, Integrity, Bravery and Faith. He had a wonderful sense of Humor and they say, "he had a bit of a temper"! Bless You John, You will be incredibly missed by Your Family and Friends. Your "Foes" won't know where to find a "Fair Honest Fight"!! A Life Fully and Well Lived...Rest now....C. Sue Collins
-- Connie, California
I never got the honor to meet John, what I seen and watched him he was a True American. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. R.I.P John McCain
-- Michael, Michigan
As a Starbucks barista in Cottonwood, Az for the past 11 years, I had the privilege of making the Senator, and his family their favorite drinks several times a year. We never spoke politics. We talked about our kids, we talked about movies, we shared a lot of laughs. He got a kick out of a John McCain bobble head my son bought me for Christmas, and I made fun of his wearing the same shirt every time I saw him. I respected him for his unending service to our country, I loved him for his sense of humor and affection. Rest east, my dear friend, the holidays will never, ever be the same for us in the Verde Valley.
-- Sandy, Arizona
Senator John McCain was a compassionate man and took a stand against torture. I am thankful for all he had done for the world.
-- John, South Dakota
He was a great hero, unlike many before him. As a Korean Was veteran, I can share his pain. He will be missed.
-- Gerald, California
While touring Tiananmen Square in Bejing, China, because of my similar size and white hair, I was mistaken for John McCain! People surrounded me all chanting his name! Put business cards in my hand and shirt pocket! Took photos with me! He was and will always be loved and respected throughout the world! Gods speed John McCain. God bless his family and friends.!
-- Ken, Florida
I met John and Cindy in Santa Clara, California in 2000. As a retired naval aviator myself, I have a deep respect for John's leadership and patriotism.
-- Stan, Washington
Thank you for everything Senator McCain. I will always be grateful for your service and for repairing US-Vietnam relations.
-- Peter, California
Our country has lost not only a Great statesmen but a true hero. My prayers go out to the family. But know, he will be well received at his new post.
-- Leonard, Illinois
Senator McCain lived America’s best qualities: patriotism, integrity, compassion and principled advocacy among them. His example lives on for all of us.
-- Fred, California
I had the opportunity to talk with Senator McCain many times in Yuma and in DC. In 2008 I was a delegate from Yuma to the Republican National Convention in MN. Senator. McCain and family sat right in front of me and being there was just awesome. I went door to door for him in Vegas - it was my honor. God bless you Senator McCain - you are in a better place. Thank you for all you did for this country.
-- Cindy, Arizona
It was an honor to do what I could. I was there for him during his Presidential campaign. He would have been a super President. I wished that I had known him better. Prayers and GOD's comfort be with the family as you grieve. He was one of a kind. Will be missed by many.
-- peggy, Arizona
HIS HONESTY, INTEGRITY AND DEVOTION TO HIS COUNTRY WILL ALWAYS BE AN INSPIRATION. MAY HE REST IN PEACE.
-- SHARON, Arizona
Senator McCain was a great man, and a hero. He will be so missed but always remembered. Rest In Peace, John.
-- Frederick, Maryland
"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." - Ralph Waldo Emerson In every sense, we can say that Senator John McCain succeeded.
-- Anthony, Georgia
I remember him in Peterborough N.H. the night before the 2008 election.
-- Stephen, Massachusetts
Rest In Peace Senator McCain. Thank you for your service to our country. Very pleased to learn about the TGen Project That you brought to Arizona. I know many people will benefit from that.
-- Janie, Arizona
Had Honor to meet this GREAT man prior to the Ronald Regan Presidents Dinner (D.C), Sen. McCain gave us a Photograph we will cherish, it's my wife with me & Sen. McCain, "Carolyn is the Rose between two thorns" I tell this story too many. This picture will be on display in our AZ vacation home. Our Nation has loss a Hero, & Icon of Freedom. We loved him & Honor his memory. We plan to attend the AZ service about 7 hours from Ca...God bless him & Family.
-- Frank X, California
A true American Hero !!! My family and I will always remember you and keep you in our prayers...
-- Ernesto, Florida
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
the senator John Mc Cain will be always on my mind God bless his family
-- christian, 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