As John Lewis’s casket was placed in the Rotunda at a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, the most moving moment was when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had a recording played of his own words.
“Never become bitter. Never become hostile. Never hate. Live in peace. We’re one. One people and one love,” Lewis said, as the socially distanced crowd of lawmakers and family members rose to their feet and gave him a standing ovation.
Broadcast and cable networks aired the ceremony, and further coverage this week as Lewis lies in state at the Capitol on Monday and Tuesday. His body then will be flown to Georgia on Wednesday, where he will lie in state at the state Capitol, before a funeral on Thursday in Atlanta.
Lewis, who died on July 17, was, as Pelosi noted, the “conscience of Congress,” a revered figure among his colleagues not only for his background as a civil rights icon but as a politician of genuine warmth. He is the first African American lawmaker to lie in state in the Rotunda.
Before his casket was brought to the Capitol, his family led his hearse through a procession through Washington, including a stop at the Lincoln Memorial, where Lewis was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963, and then to the corner of 16th & I, which was renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza in the wake of protests following the death of George Floyd. A large portrait of Lewis was placed at the corner, in front of the building that houses the Motion Picture Association.
Joe Biden plans to visit the Capitol to pay his respects later on Monday. Asked whether he plans to pay tribute to Lewis, President Donald Trump told reporters, “No. I won’t be going. No.”
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