The three former presidents came together to honor Congressman John Lewis at his funeral in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday, completing a week of memorial services for the longtime jurist and civil rights icon.
Former President Barack Obama gaveCelebration of Lewis’s life. “He, no one in our history, brought this country a little closer to our highest ideals,” Mr. Obama said.
He addressed the issue defining Lewis’s legacy, calling on Congress to act on the right to vote. He said, “Respect the law for which he was ready to die, by reviving that law. “John wouldn’t want us to stop there. Once we pass it, we should march to make it better,” he said, listing new provisions such as automatic registration and making Election Day a national holiday. to make.
Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also paid tribute to Lewis, whoAt the age of 80 earlier this month.
Mr. Bush, the first of the surviving presidents to pay tribute to Lewis, said Americans live in a country that is better today because of late congressmen.
“John Lewis always looked outward, not inward. He always thought of others. He always believed in preaching the gospel, in word and deed, insisting that the answer to hate and fear Should be given with love and hope, ”Mr. Bush said. “John Lewis believed in God. He believed in humanity, and he believed in America.”
Mr Clinton noted that Lewis “left us with a marching order” in his op-ed in the New York Times published on the day of his funeral. In the piece, Lewis urges Americans to continue to get into “good trouble”. The former president suggested that Americans honor the request: “Salute, suit up, and march.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed Lewis’s 33 years in Congress, during which she represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, and the lessons she taught the legislative body. Pelosi said, “When they talked, people listened. When they led, people followed them. We loved them very much.” “We say goodbye to this person, our leader, our friend.”
The funeral is about a week’s tribute, including a weekOn Saturday, and A. Sunday in Selma – the same bridge where he was beaten by the Troopers Police of the State of Alabama during a march to Montgomery on March 7, 1965, known as “Bloody Sunday”.
After Lewis’s coffin he traveled to Washington, DC, where he was recalled to a service in the US Capitol and was the first black lawmakerIn the Capitol Rotunda.
Lewis was the youngest person to speak in Washington on March 1963, and was a friend of Martin Luther King Jr. He spoke to CBS News in June about his activism in the 1960s.
“Yes, I was beaten, left bloody and unconscious. But I have never been bitter or hostile. I have never given up. I believe that somehow and if in cashing the soul of a nation If it becomes necessary to use our body to help, then we must do it, ”Lewis said.