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.
A great man! Thanks so much for your selfless service to our country. You will truly be missed.
-- Linda, Florida
He inspired me to get re engaged with my country I called for days in support for campaign finance reform I hope his passing inspires people to come together I’ll never forget him Thank You Gary DeRogatis
-- Gary, New Jersey
In prayer for all and each one of John McCain in peace and comfort in the Lord Jesus Christ Holy Name Ask!! The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit AMEN
-- Mary, Kentucky
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
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
My prayers to all his family and may he Rest In Peace . It would of been a great privilege to of meet such a man my condolences to all of his loved ones
-- Maria, California
RIP John A true hero.
-- Gary, California
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
We mourn the loss of Senator McCain, one of this nation's greatest citizens. A true patriot. May he continue to watch over the Senate and this country. Most sincere condolences to his family and others who loved him and were inspired by him.
-- Evan, Delaware
We love you John.
-- Jerry, Michigan
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
He was a gentleman and a man of dignity. Serving his country with respect.
-- Cathy, Georgia
I've never donated to any politician in my 65 years, but having had a strong respect for John McCain, I donated to his Senatorial campaign in Arizona, even though I live in Pennsylvania! Susan Smith, LooptyHoops and Vistage
-- Susan, Pennsylvania
This great man lead our Nation and will be remembered as one of the greatest of all time. Goodbye Patriot.
-- Dan, Oregon
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
I never had the honor of meeting John and shaking his hand personally, but did work as a volunteer lobbying for him from my Michigan home in several elections, Senatorial and Presidential. John was a shining example of clear-sighted ideals, a paragon of patriotism in our government, and showed what it meant to be a "Man of the People". Indeed, he taught by example even in adversity's face the meaning of "being a man". He understood the importance of a strong military and the strength of our great Constitution. I treasure a personal note of thanks he once sent for my lobbying efforts. Truly, "The Man Who Should Be King" (correction: President). Ronald Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt, whom he honorably stands shoulder to shoulder with, would be proud. As are all true Americans, and heavy-hearted, as am I. A righteous, honorable man! May God rest his soul!
-- Jim, Michigan
As a moderately liberal Democrat I had never contributed to a Republican candidate. But as a Vietnam Veteran (river patrol forces 1966-1968 and 1969-1970) I had to pay attention to the statements and positions of John Mc Cain. And no matter where one stood on the political spectrum, it was clear that Senator McCain was a principled, insiteful, and patriotic leader. So I contributed what I could. And I wish it had been more and could have had more of an effect. I know I will miss him and believe our country will also miss his voice of patriotism. My condolences to his family and our nation.
-- Don, Kentucky
-- michael, Georgia
He was not only a true warrior, but also a friend, He will always be remembered for his leadership.
-- Anthony, Arizona
An Honorable man, an American Patriot devoted to what is right for America. You will be missed.
-- Nancy Morton, North Carolina
My husband & I contacted Sen McCain some years ago. We had a friend Robert Keys who was dying in hospital in AZ. He was a serviceman who admired Sen McCain. I called his office & asked that the Senator send Mr Keys a letter of appreciation for his service. He received that letter a few days before he died & it meant so much to him. So I called his office to thank him. Now I thank him again. God bless to you all. PS His daughter framed that letter
-- Charles & Celia, California
I worked for John McCain"s election in the Bay Area ,California .Met him briefly at at the College auditorium at DVC. I admired and hoped we would have a man like him leading our country.He lead our world !God bless him and give this family our love. His example will endure
-- Fernando, California
What an honorable guy...wish I’d have met him! I identify with his quick fuse, and sense of humor. To me, his humanity and decency shown brightly when the woman at a rally called Barack Obama an Arab, and John rebuked her...and how he got many jabs in at Obama at the Al Smith dinner, but then honored him. WOW! Imagine our president (small p) doing anything like either of those things today. So sad! From what I knew, I loved the man! We need to honor him through integrity and service that we do now daily. My heart reaches out to the McCain family.
-- Roger, Nebraska
Hello, I am writing from the UK and wish to offer sincere condolences to Senator McCain's family, friends,and supporters.Though politically at odds I have always been inspired by his truest of all courage,integrity and dignity and sharp political intellect. From across the pond it has sometimes been difficult as an outside observer,Senator McCain always seemed a beacon of principal and incredible courage.Many people across the world know what a great American hero he was,in my humble opinion maybe one of the best Presidents you never had. Again sincere condolences,I am saddened today. P.
-- Paul, United Kingdom
Admiration for a life well lived, by a refugee from Vietnam, still in-exile after 43 years.
-- TRINH, Maryland
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.
I always admired his clear stands and his military career. The US lost one of their moral leaders in a time of uncertainness. Rest in peace Salute
-- Alexander, Germany
Thank you for your great service to our Country! Rest In Peace and God Bless You!
-- Michael, Pennsylvania
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
You will be missed my friend. My memories in our work to make America what it is today.
-- Randall Spreitzer, Arizona
R E S P E C T- one word that embodies John McCain and all he stands for.
-- Cornelia, Georgia
I had the distinct privilege to serve as a delegate for John in both the 2000 and 2008 Republican National Convention from Massachusetts. I have such admiration and respect for this man. My great sympathies to his family.
-- Madeleine, Massachusetts
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
Every one Loved John
-- Floyd, Arizona
John McCain, a name to remember, a man served his country with honor! -- David, a Chinese Canadian Citizen
-- David, Florida
I have long been an admirer of Senator McCain and very much wanted to see him become our president. I'm deeply grateful for his service to our country as a soldier, a statesman and a role model. To the McCain family, I extend my heartfelt sympathy on your great loss...and ours.
-- Anne, Wisconsin
I am a democrat. Senator McCain was one conservative that I listened to. His love and desire for a better country shined through his words and deeds. Thank you Senator you will always have my respect
-- Gene, Washington
Our country most definitely lost a hero. I am proud that I reside in the same state as John McCain. He will be greatly missed.
-- Lynne, Arizona
The last American hero. Honest, Brave, and Caring. He returned with Honor, and left with Honor.
-- Gregory, Michigan
A great american - thank you for your friendship to Germany - we will not forget. R.I.P.
-- Thomas, Germany
You were a true hero.
-- SAHBA, Texas
As a first generation American, I always admired John McCain's believe in American idealism and his determination and commitment to give all he had to protect her and to preserve and promote liberty and justice for all not only with a fancy speech but with his actions. A great man, a true American hero and someone for next generations to look up to.
-- Cameron, California
I only knew Senator McCain from TV. I saw in Him a strong virtuous man. I am not religious, but I wish my deepest sympathies to his family and friends. I doubt He will EVER be forgot. Least of all by me. Love John T.
-- John, Nebraska
A man of Honor and Integrity
-- Gregory E, Florida
Thank you for your enduring service to our country. I voted for you in the 2008 Presidential election.
-- Marcie, Illinois
My deepest sympathy to the family. We have lost a. great hero and statesman.
-- Joseph, Connecticut
John McCain put Arizona on the map for politics. I'm proud to call myself an Arizonan. Thank you Senator McCain for all you did for this country.
-- Jamie, Arizona
-- Bryan, Arizona
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 have always admired John McCain's courage and strength of character. We owe him a debt of gratitude, one we could never repay. Thank you for a lifetime of service to our country...for the example of patriotism and citizenship you have demonstrated. To the McCain family, I mourn with you and will be praying for you during these difficult days. Your husband and father will love on in our hearts and American spirit. May God's peace and comfort be yours. What a man...what a legacy John McCain leaves behind...a true American hero...my hero! Not many would give their lives for people they don't even know...yet John Mc Cain gave it all willingly. Thank you...forever grateful!
-- Pam, 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