Decent, honorable, dedicated, hard-working, patriotic, passionate and compassionate, a man of the people: these are the words that properly characterize the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, whose sudden and untimely passing has shocked and saddened a nation which believes in traditional American values.

Cummings could have used his prominent position to amass vast wealth, and he could have lived in a posh, gated community. He eschewed such trappings of power, instead choosing to live in the inner city of his beloved Baltimore.

Cummings' dogged pursuit of justice and the willingness to call out wrongdoing earned him the enmity of the president, a badge of honor.

Let the nation unite for at least a brief moment to mourn the passing of a giant of the legislative branch, a man whose big shoes can never be filled.

Oren Spiegler

Peters Township