John Lewis’s life and legacy were both mourned and celebrated this week in D.C. On Monday, his casket moved in a procession through the city on a route that covered locations special to his life.
Lying in state
There was a private service for Lewis inside the Capitol Rotunda, followed by a two-day public viewing outside the Capitol on Monday and Tuesday. The casket was set at the top of the Capitol steps, and viewers passed below at the bottom of the steps.
While the viewers could not go up close to the casket, there were views from the bottom of the steps.
People brought signs and messages to the viewing:
Fraternity brothers came to pay their respects. Lewis was a member of Phi Beta Sigma since 1974. The fraternity, one of the Black Greek organizations that is part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, has an emphasis on alumni service summed up by their motto “Culture For Service and Service For Humanity.”
A poster of Lewis was the place where people wanted to take selfies:
1,2: ©Karen Ramsey, 3: ©Victoria Pickering
People in line were required to wear masks, and tried to social distance. The lines were long, snaking up and down First Street and at times also went down East Capitol and behind the Supreme Court.
Black Lives Matter Plaza
Black Lives Matter Plaza offered tributes to Lewis. He had visited the new street mural on his last public appearance a month before his death. He said, “It is very moving, very moving, very impressive. I think what the people in DC and around the nation are sending a mighty, powerful and strong message to the world that WE WILL GET THERE.”
Flags at half staff
Flags were flown at half staff on buildings representing all three branches of government – the Capitol, White House, and Supreme Court
Ribbons on the house that he lived in on Capitol Hill.
Remembering the March on Washington
Lewis was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington. The stone is engraved at the Lincoln Memorial where he and Martin Luther King, Jr. and the other speakers stood, and someone had placed flowers there after Lewis’ death.
His powerful legacy of speaking hard truths and fighting for rights for everyone will live on. Rest in power, John Lewis.