President Barack Obama will eulogize civil-rights hero John Lewis during a funeral service for the late Georgia congressman in Atlanta on Thursday.
Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton are also expected to attend the Ebenezer Baptist Church service, scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Eastern.
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Deanna Congelio, a spokeswoman for President Jimmy Carter said the President and Rosaylnn Carter are “not traveling these days” but are sending their condolences in writing. Carter had appointed Lewis to a federal position when president. … Although Lewis did not originally endorse Obama’s 2008 campaign against Hillary Clinton, Lewis came around, and the two formed a close relationship. Obama awarded Lewis the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. … Ebenezer’s Rev. Raphael Warnock will be presiding over the invitation-only funeral service. Lewis will be buried Thursday afternoon next to his wife, Lillian, at South-View Cemetery.
In an op-ed written shortly before he died, and published Thursday by the New York Times, Lewis wrote that he was “inspired” by nationwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
“That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on,” Lewis wrote. “Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. …
“Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe,” Lewis wrote. “In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.
“When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.”
Watch the service live below.