ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — There was a long line outside of Georgia State Capitol Wednesday afternoon, as people waited to pay their final respects to Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis.
“Nobody has justice until everybody has justice, and I’m very sad, and I miss him, but I’m very happy that he’s at peace,” said Craig Pigg, an Atlanta resident.
“It’s just a powerful moment for me to give my thanks to Representative John Lewis,” said Andria Montrose, who lives in Cumming.
Lewis, who recently died of pancreatic cancer, tweeted a message last year that has stuck with his supporters. It reads, in part, “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
“He never gave up, from his time of birth until the end,” said Atlanta resident Diskin Bailey.
Congressman and Civil Rights Icon John Lewis lies in state at the Georgia State Capitol. pic.twitter.com/JHblBTLQyX
— Valencia E. Jones (@vjreports3) July 30, 2020
Since Saturday, a Celebration of Life tour has taken his body from his home state of Alabama and across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, where state troopers attacked him on Bloody Sunday during a civil rights march 55 years ago.
“He had every reason in the world to be bitter, and he never was,” Victoria Foster, another Atlanta resident, said.
He was then celebrated in Washington, D.C., before making his final stop here in Atlanta.
The motorcade arrived at the Capitol early in the afternoon, and an honor guard carried him up the steps into the Rotunda, where he now lies in state.
State and local officials weighed in on Lewis’s legacy at a special ceremony.
“Congressman John Lewis changed our country in profound and immeasurable ways and his legacy of passionate service is truly unmatched,” said Governor Brian Kemp.
“We gather here today in what was once a stronghold of the Confederacy, together. Because this prophet lived and this prophet named John Lewis loved,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
They reflected on who he was.
“We hurt inside and we mourn the loss of Congressman John Lewis. Yet we cherish the life he lived and the contributions he made to humanity,” said State Representative Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus).
“Congressman Lewis who was born to sharecroppers who was called by God and he rose to greatness as a gentle man,” State Representative Karen Bennett (D-Stone Mountain) said.
In light of the civil unrest currently plaguing the nation, many shared how they want to honor Lewis in the days ahead.
“He had this philosophy of being inclusive, and if we can just take just a little bit of that when we leave here today, I think our communities and our nation will live up to its ideals,” said Foster.
Lewis’s funeral is scheduled for tomorrow at Ebenezer Baptist Church.