By Eamonn Burke
Civil rights icon and Democratic John Lewis will lie in state in Washington D.C. following his death on July 17. The funeral procession, which began on Saturday, included the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where a state trooper broke Lewis’ skull during a march, and a stop in Selma. It culminated in the arrival to the U.S Capitol and the ceremony held at 1:30 pm today, and it will continue until Thursday, when he will he laid to rest in Atlanta.
The arrival of the procession prompted many regulations including street closings and prohibited items in the city of Washington D.C.. The ceremony was private, put public viewings were available as well, in addition to crowds around the hearse as it made its way to the Capitol Rotunda. Those who were inside and invited, mostly House and Senate members, sat apart in circles. Speakers such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remembered the life of Lewis.
“John was revered and beloved on both sides of the aisle, on both sides of the Capitol” said Pelosi. McConnell remembered the “respect and love” that Lewis showed everyone. The speeches were followed by a performance of “Amazing Grace” by Christian singer Wintley Phipps. Finally, Lewis’ son John-Miles-Lewis led the conclusion of the service.
John Lewis was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a powerful civil rights organization, and later became the chairman. He also helped organize the 1963 March on Washington at which Dr. Martin Luther King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech.