Andy Griffith, an iconic American figure, passed away at the age of 86 Tuesday. He may have disappeared, but hopefully what he represented is still alive and well through the legacy he leaves behind.

Both the character he portrayed on the “Andy Griffith Show,” Sheriff Andy Taylor, and who he was, personally, reminded Americans what the country was like at its best and showed that a simpler, more rural lifestyle could bring out the best in the American people.

The show itself portrayed a simpler time to its viewers amid the roller-coaster decade of the 1960s. Griffith’s show, and his tough-but-fair-minded sheriff of smalltown Mayberry, gave viewers a sense of calm and peace in age marked by violence and war.

Griffith was perhaps one of the most decent people on television, one who embodied the 20th-century values Americans most cherish. He treated everyone fairly and exercised great common sense. He believed in a strong work ethic and felt that people would respond to fair treatment. He didn't believe in the abuse of power or position and believed strongly in the Judeo-Christian principles that produced a caring and just nation.

Even country singer Randy Travis called Griffith “the most likable guy he’s ever met.”

Some would say that this is just a fairytale, but I think all of us can remember people as we were growing up who reminded us of Andy Griffith. Despite the secular progressive forces in our nation today, Griffith’s full life reminds us of who we were and who we can be.