Family, leaders honor civil rights leader and lawmaker John Lewis

Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 3:12 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The nation said farewell to a beloved civil rights hero Monday. Georgia congressman and civil rights warrior John Lewis is lying in state on Capitol Hill. Lewis was an icon of the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, and other flash points in American history.

Lewis passed away July 17 after a battle with pancreatic cancer at 80-years-old.

After Lewis’ casket traveled from Alabama, lawmakers in Washington, D.C. paid their respects to the late congressman, a man who fought for civil rights and racial equality until his final breath.

Crystal-blue and clear skies welcomed Lewis for his final visit to the Capitol building, a place he left an enduring mark on during his 33 years in office.

“John Lewis became a titan of the civil rights movement and then the conscience of the Congress,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the late Rep. John Lewis' casket sits on the same wooden platform used for former President Abraham Lincoln.

Posted by Gray Television Washington News Bureau on Monday, July 27, 2020

Monday afternoon, his colleagues – Democrats and Republicans, alike – honored his life, wearing masks and socially distancing as a sign of the times.

“All of John’s colleagues stand with his son, John Miles, their family, and the entire country in thanking God that he gave our nation this hero it needed so badly,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) remembers once being invited to Lewis’ home for a dinner with other members of the Georgia delegation. Even though they were on opposite sides of the aisle, Ferguson respected Lewis’ leadership and principles.

“Even though you may not see eye to eye with him on issues, he always chose to disagree with you in a respectful manner…and that’s something that I think we should all try to emulate,” said Ferguson.

Lewis was the last surviving member of the ‘Big Six’ civil rights leaders a cause he nearly lost his life for in the 1960s.

The public viewing takes place on Monday evening and Tuesday outside the U.S. Capitol.

Well-wishers will need to wear masks and socially distance while waiting in line to honor Lewis.

The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives also took legislative action Monday to honor Lewis with a measure that renames a part of the Voting Rights Act after the civil rights hero. That provision was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013.

Today marks the third of six days honoring Lewis’ life. His funeral in Atlanta will close out the memorial services.

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