Rest in peace, John McCain

During 60 years in public service, first in the Navy and more recently as a United States senator, John McCain made many sacrifices and did enormous good for us, his fellow Americans.

Before passing on to his reward, he rendered one more very great service.

He reminded us who we are.

McCain, who died last week, wrote a letter to us during his final days. It was released this week.

Much of it is an expression of thankfulness for his family and his nation.

“I am the luckiest person on earth,” he wrote.

Then he reminded us: “We are citizens of the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil. We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and advance those ideals at home and in the world.”

We take away from that greatness “when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all corners or the world,” he went on.

Perhaps McCain was puzzled by the readiness of many — throughout the ideological spectrum — to fear other Americans as much or more than we do sworn foreign enemies.

Our differences of opinion can be harsh. But, as McCain reminded us, “we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement.”

“Do not despair of present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here,” McCain wrote.

“Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history,” he added.

His last letter — ending with “God bless America” — confirms McCain’s stature as a hero and patriot.

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