“I’ve come here today because I, like so many Americans, owe a great debt to John Lewis and his forceful vision of freedom.” Those words from Barack Obama were fitting as dozens of dignitaries turned out Thursday to pay tribute to John Lewis.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak wrote:
At a moment when the country is reckoning anew over questions of systemic racism following the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless other Black and Brown Americans, Thursday’s funeral was a measuring moment: Both a time to reflect on the grainy black-and-white newsreels of another generation’s struggle and an opportunity to assess where that struggle continues to come up short.It’s the type of remembrance that marks the passage of a nation’s history, provides a record of its highest and lowest moments and lays down a marker for the type of person — the type of hero — deserving of the country’s attention and respect.
“Someday, when we do finish that long journey towards freedom, when we do form a more perfect union…John Lewis will be a Founding Father of that fuller, fairer, better America.”“You want to honor John? Let’s honor him by revitalizing the law that he was willing to die for… Once we pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, we should keep marching to make it even better by making sure every American is automatically registered to vote, including former inmates who have earned their second chance. By adding polling places and expanding early voting and making election day a national holiday so if you are someone working in a factory or a single mom who has to go to her job and doesn’t get time off, you can still cast your ballot.”“Even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations. and targeting minorities and students with restrictive id walls and attacking our voting rights with surgical rescission, even undermining the postal service in the run-up to an election. it’s going to be dependent on mail in ballots so people don’t get sick.”
We honor that memory today because he learned to walk with the wind, to march with others to save a tiny house, because as a young man, he challenged others to join him with love and dignity to hold America’s house down and open the doors of America to all its people. We honor him because on Selma, on the third attempt, John and his comrades showed that sometimes you have to walk into the wind along with it as he crossed the bridge and marched into Montgomery. But no matter what, John always kept walking to reach the beloved community. He got into a lot of good trouble along the way, but let’s not forget, he developed an absolutely uncanny ability to heal troubled waters. When he could have been angry and determined to cancel his adversaries, he tried to get converts instead.
Bill Clinton honored John Lewis at an Atlanta memorial service:
"Always keeping his eyes on the prize, always believing none of us will be free until all of us are equal. I just loved him. I always will. And I'm so grateful that he stayed true to form" https://t.co/VsQZd2FxnS pic.twitter.com/ggXnjjluqw
— POLITICO (@politico) July 30, 2020
George W. Bush
We the people, including Congressman and Presidents, can have differing views on how to perfect our union while sharing the conviction that our nation, however flawed, is a good and noble one. We live in a better and nobler country today because of John Lewis and his abiding faith in the power of God, the power of democracy and in the power of love to lift us all to a higher ground. The story that began in Troy isn’t ending here, nor is the work. John Lewis lives forever in his Father’s house, and he will live forever in the hearts of Americans, who act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God.
"We live in a better, more noble country because of John Lewis."
— ABC News (@ABC) July 30, 2020
Speaker of The House Nancy Pelosi also choked back tears as she shared her memories and thoughts about Lewis. She said 50 of her colleagues were there as well.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi tears up in emotional remembrance of John Lewis: "We come with a flag flown over the Capitol the night that John passed. When this flag flew there…it waved goodbye to John. Our friend, our mentor, our colleague. This beautiful man." https://t.co/sVteeuYRLu pic.twitter.com/u2Pf46Ka03
— ABC News (@ABC) July 30, 2020
Pelosi closed her eulogy with this:
The last night he was at the Capitol, it wasn’t raining, thousands of people were showing up to pay their respects. A little bit after 8:00, there was a double rainbow. A double rainbow, but it hadn’t rained. It was just a double rainbow over the casket. And for us, it was – we waved goodbye when he started to leave us, he was telling us, he was telling us: I’m home in heaven. I’m home in heaven with Lillian.
We always knew he worked on the side of the angels, and now he is with them. May he rest in peace.