Washington says final goodbye to civil rights legend

Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 12:58 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The celebration of the life of John Lewis came to a close in Washington Tuesday. It was the final day for lawmakers and the public to pay respects on Capitol Hill.

Even with blistering heat and the ongoing pandemic threat, the general public would not be stopped from honoring a man who dedicated his life to civil rights and equality. John Lewis’ casket was on display at the U.S. Capitol one last time, giving his former colleagues a final goodbye.

“I can hear him when I close my eyes as I called out to him, the boy from Troy. He would often say the girl from Selma,” said Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.).

Sewell called Lewis a father-like mentor and credits him in part for her political rise. She said the conditions for a farewell are not perfect given the pandemic and heat wave, but Sewell is happy the man who cared about so many is getting a proper sendoff.

“John in life took the opportunity to really stop and answer any question anyone had, take lots of pictures and sign autographs. He was always this gentle giant,” she said.

Washington, D.C. hit 95 degrees just to start the day. Face coverings were required too, yet despite the conditions, a line of mourners streamed to the Capitol.

Georgia Republicans, who did not always agree with their counterpart’s politics, said the show of support exhibits how important the civil rights legend was to the country.

“John Lewis knew that the way to get things done were to stand on your convictions and to stand for those convictions in a peaceful nonviolent way,” said Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.)

“When he got on an airplane. I mean everybody wanted to speak to him. Wanted to have a picture with him,” said Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.)

“He was about as Christ-like as you can be, I believe. I think people have just so much respect for him. He always turned the other cheek. Anybody who attacked him, it didn’t change John Lewis,” said Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.).

The public viewing in Washington ends on Tuesday night. Lewis’ casket will travel to Atlanta Wednesday where he will be laid to rest.

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