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.
Sen. John McCain was a good and decent man. I'll remember him that way and be thankful for his extraordinary service to our country.
-- Carol, Florida
I ran into John years ago. He was running through the Phoenix airport on his way back to Washington. He carried his own suitcase instead of leaving that chore to his assistant. When I said, "Hello, Senator!" he stopped, gave me that big smile, and chatted for a few moments, despite the fact that he was obviously in a great hurry. What a guy!
-- John, Nebraska
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
One thing I know: No matter what your politics, John McCain believed that no human being of whatever race, creed, ethnicity, heritage, or supposed criminal activity should be tortured. He Believed that torture was wrong -- always!. And so do I.
-- Jean, Wisconsin
People like John McCain are what truly make America great!
-- Kippi, Tennessee
Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family of Senator John McCain. May the comfort of God surround you at this time and in the days ahead. Amen.
-- Edward, Texas
We lost a tremendous man, warrior and public servant. God speed to the family
-- Kevin, Illinois
I'll always remember a great line you gave "The most dangerous place in DC is between Chuck Schumer and a TV Camera". Bless you and your family and thank you.
-- John, California
I lost my big role model!
-- Chris, Germany
Senator John McCain was a human being that honored his work to do good for others. When I met him, Senator McCain was modest and sincere man. One of the few true heroes of our country. Best regards to Cindy and the McCain family, Hon. C. WS Kim
-- Charles WS, Illinois
A Great Great Man. He will be miss by all
-- Ron, Washington
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
The senator was a friend of Bulgaria! R.I.P!
-- Stoyko, Bulgaria
I am a democrat in Tucson, AZ. I have great respect for this man. He worked across the aisle for the good of ALL Americans and the whole world. There will never be anyone like him. I bet Aretha Franklin is ushering him into heaven with her songs!!! Well done, good and faithful servant!
-- Kathleen, Arizona
As just an ordinary citizen I wish to thank his wife Cindy for all the support she gave to over the years to this patriotic man and husband . He will not be forgotten and neither will she . So Thank You Cindy and May God Be with as your new challenges come .
-- Connie, Arizona
Thank you for your service in the US Navy, Sir. You were a true hero!
-- Cathy, North Carolina
Happy trails good friend till we meet again! Rest well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-- Thomas N, Arizona
I really want to extend my most heartfelt sympathy to Sen. McCain's family. While I didn't always agree with his politics, I ALWAYS admired his integrity, honor, and humility. It makes his loss doubly sorrowful in the political climate of today. While I didn't know him personally, I feel confident that he was a truly good man all the way down to his soul. I believe we can all learn something from his life, and we should strive to be as true a person as he was. And again, my deepest sympathy to all of his family. He will be missed.
-- Sheri, California
Thanks You John for your service. Rest assured you will be missed. My condolences to your family.
-- Jeff, Missouri
I was one of the special forces that went in to get my brothers,we did not make it.It seames they new we were coming we lost many of our brothers that day John I do it again because of our fath for one another. REST IN PEACE. REST IN PEACE
-- WARREN, Arizona
I send my heartfelt condolences to a man that fought the fight in so many ways ...probably the hardest fight was the horrible disease called cancer.May he RIP.So sorry to his family.
-- Marion, New York
A great warrior for the United States. Gone but will never be forgotten.
-- Bruce, California
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
Dear Mrs. McCain and family: We would like to express our condolences to you, Honorable John McCain’s Family, for your great loss. Words are inadequate at this time of grief, but we would like you to know that we will always cherish the memories of the Senator as a Combat Hero in Vietnam, enduring six years of harsh imprisonment at the so-called “Hanoi Hilton”. The Senator fought alongside us against the invasion of the Communists to ensure Freedom for the South Vietnamese people. As our Greatest Benefactor, The Senator wrote the McCain Amendment, signed into Law in 2002, which restored derivative refugee status to save thousands of South Vietnamese Prisoners of War and their families from the retribution of the Vietnamese Communists. Senator McCain was a "fighter" and a true "patriot" until the very end; his legacy of service and "love of country" were unparalleled. We send our prayers for "peace" and "healing." Respectfully Yours, Tan Nguyen Republic of Vietnam Veteran
-- Tan, Virginia
I had the proud preivlege of meet Sentor McCain during a campaign rally stop in Wisconsin during his second campaign bid. His way of politics and reaching across the aisle in Congress will be missed. The maverick will be missed. I wish his soul rest and hold his family up in my prayers during this difficult time.
-- Martin, Wisconsin
John taught me that character is the most important quality of a leader....measured by actions ... guantified with respect ...appreciated with love...he was an awesome soul!
-- Bernie, Massachusetts
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
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
I thank you for your service. You are loved and cherished by the country you loved and served so bravely. I will miss you.
-- Emmy, Florida
Dear All, We are Canadian but have watched with great respect over many, many years how Senator McCain unflinchingly always chose the correct and most positive road for American citizens and America, often disregarding partisan politics. America, and more especially his loved family, have lost a truly great Patriot, husband and father, and person who cared selflessly for the greater good. Not only has America, but the World, has lost a person that we all loved. Our thoughts go out to the McCain family and all Americans who identified with his always most laudable causes. Gob Bless John, his family and America.
-- Norman, Canada
I first met Sen. McCain and heard him speak at a Tucson pilot's meeting at Pinal Airport in 1989 or 1990 (not sure exact). Amazing man. Godspeed, Senator.
-- Jeff, Arizona
He was a gentleman and a man of dignity. Serving his country with respect.
-- Cathy, Georgia
God Bless him.
-- Andrew, California
A true american he will never be forgotten
-- Deborah, California
I've long admired and respected Sen. McCain for his strength, leadership and love of America. He dedicated his whole life to serving our country, striving to make it better and stronger, and becoming a mentor to many.
-- Susan, Texas
You will be missed my friend. My memories in our work to make America what it is today.
-- Randall Spreitzer, Arizona
I SAW HIM IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA WHEN HE WAS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN 2008. AND I WILL MISS HIM ALOT.
-- TOBY, Alabama
An honorable man who led by example. Statesman, Patriot, American. RIP Senator McCain.
-- Pam, California
You will be missed. Thank you for your leadership
-- Tom, Wisconsin
I’m a simple person with a simple life but John touched my life in many ways. I am truly sad to have a survivor like John pass and wish his family , friends and well wishers my condolences. He percervied during his extraordinary life of trials and public service. While not everyone would agree with the path and conviction that his life took him, he stayed true to it. That alone sets him apart from the masses. God bless him and his family as they walk this new path. My thoughts and prayers are with you all, even though I don’t know any of you.
-- Theresa, New York
I admired him for his service in uniform to our Country, his service in the Congress and Senate, his strength as a Politician and his example as a family man. He was valiant to the end and I will always remember his legacy and pray that those who feel disdain towards him and call him a RINO finally look at the truth and honor the man, husband, father, Sailor, leader, lawmaker that he was. RIP John McCain.
-- Joan, Virginia
You taught us to forgive. I wish I could have been a better student .
-- Nolan, California
Thank you for your service to America. RIP Senator McCain
-- Joseph, Alabama
It is rare in our lifetime to see such a courageous American. My family is so glad we are living during the time to be a Republican American family at the same time as this wonderful and brave man. Such a loss for our country. We will miss him.
-- Errol, New Jersey
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
A Man who put America and it's people first and fought to acheive it. John was one of a kind There should be more like him in American Government RIP John You will surely be missed
-- Pat, West Virginia
A true American hero. May God rest his soul
-- Neal, Connecticut
While I was a POW in several prisons in Hanoi, John McCain was an inspiration for me to make it "one more day." It was a distinct honor to help in his 2008 Presidential Campaign. He would have been a terrific President! GBU JSM
-- Tom, South Carolina
My husband Richard (USMC Viet Nam 1967) and I express our appreciation for Senator McCain's service, of all kinds. And sorrow to his family as he will be deeply missed. May God bless you, each one, and grant you comfort and deeper faith in Christ alone.
-- Kathryn, Arizona
Our country lost its great son. RIP John. World won't be the same with out you. You deserved to be and you will be remembered by millions of people around the world. America had been blessed by decades of your service.
-- Stan, New York
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