Thousands gathered outside of the state capitol and cheered while the late Congressman John Lewis’ casket arrived at the Georgia Capitol on Wednesday.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, First Lady Marty Kemp, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and State Representative Calvin Smyre all stood in solitary on the front steps. In reverence, they all watched as Lewis’ casket was carried up the steps in preparation for the state to honor a man who represented and served District 5 at the U.S. Capitol since 1987. The late congressman and civil rights leader was placed in the rotunda where he laid in repose until later in the evening.
During the state ceremony honoring Lewis, Gov. Kemp says that the late Congressman “left a lasting legacy, but there’s still work to be done.” That legacy is what Jahre Clements from Atlanta remembers about Lewis. She shared that the civil rights icon registered her to vote back in 1986 at Booker T. Washington High School. Clements says it was a moment in time and added that the late congressman “was deserving of this and so much more.”
Outside a line wrapped around the capitol and so many admired and respected, Lewis waited patiently to enter into the side entrance of the capitol to say a final goodbye to a man who contributed so much to the civil rights movement.
Some standing in line shared why it was important to pay their final respects as the late congressman laid in repose under the gold dome.
The arrival of Lewis’ casket at the Georgia Capitol wrapped up several days of celebration of life for the Atlanta democrat, who died July 17th after a battle with cancer. A private funeral service will be held Thursday morning at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.