Rep. Adam Kinzinger: John McCain's life will be seen as a testament to the strength of the American character

Senator John McCain was as passionate as anyone I’ve ever met; he fought hard and argued fiercely. His campaigns were hardscrabble brawls, he didn’t take unfair criticism sitting down, and he wasn’t afraid to be wrong or alone in his opinions.

That being said, his arguments were never personal and if he ever felt slighted, it wouldn’t last long. He valued passion on both sides of the aisle, and never let it derail the overall mission: the success of our great nation.

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Tough as nails, the Maverick McCain had been a hero of mine long before I had the privilege of meeting him, traveling with him, and later having the honor of calling him my mentor and friend. He took tough stances, and I admired him greatly, even when we disagreed.

John would be the first to say he wasn’t always right, and that he made mistakes, but he fought for what he believed in and stood firm on what he felt was the right thing to do. It’s probably what I respected most about him, and something I try to emulate in his absence.

John would be the first to say he wasn’t always right, and that he made mistakes, but he fought for what he believed in and stood firm on what he felt was the right thing to do. It’s probably what I respected most about him, and something I try to emulate in his absence.

America is stronger and more successful because we have people from all over with different backgrounds and different viewpoints. We are a better nation when we self-evaluate and pull our disagreements from a political argument, rather than letting personal hate drive our debates.

We should never end Thanksgiving dinner because of political issues, or stop speaking altogether because we disagree. The freedom to debate and voice these opposing viewpoints is part of what makes America the greatest country ever created, and we can never take that for granted.

John and I shared a similar world view and valued the freedoms that America provided us and millions of others. We agreed that America has a unique and important role in the world for human dignity and peace; to stand as a beacon of hope for others around the world.

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The life of the Maverick McCain will be seen as a testament to the strength of the American character, and people around the world will forever see him as a symbol of courage, hope, and perseverance.

I still miss my friend, my mentor, and my hero, John McCain. I hope that we take the time to remember the importance of civil discourse, passion in one’s beliefs, and the value of American leadership. God knows America, and the world, need it now more than ever.