Remembering John Lewis: Visitors say final goodbyes as civil rights icon lies in state

Washington D.C.

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Visitors in Washington, D.C. were able to see the late Congressman John Lewis and say a final farewell to the civil rights icon again on Tuesday.

Masked faces waited in the July heat to file past the east steps of the U.S. Capitol where they could look up to Lewis one last time. The long-time Georgia Congressman, referred to as the “conscience of Congress,” died at the age of 80 this month after a battle with cancer.

Ada Lee Walters of Frederick, Maryland held back tears after seeing his casket. She was here once before to see President John F. Kennedy lie in state. Walters wanted to be there for Lewis because of how much he did for the Black community.

“And that they brought him back here so we could say goodbye means a lot,” she said. “It’s a part of history, especially with John Lewis.”

The body of the late Congressman lies just outside the Capitol Rotunda to allow for socially distant visitors. It was moved there after a celebration of life ceremony that was held Monday.

Among those who stopped by Tuesday were senators, like California Democrat Kamala Harris, on their way to vote.

“To just see him honored rightly in this way…I’m very proud that this is happening,” Harris said.

The line of people that passed by Lewis’ casket was steady. It included people of all ages and races.

But the group that stood out of the most was the children. Lewis often spoke of the next generation carrying on his work of racial equality.

One family that stopped by – the Webb family – said they plan to put in that work together.

“He has passed the baton to us and to our generation and our children’s generation to continue the work,” Erica Turnipseed-Webb said.

The youngest son in the Webbs family, Kellis, just did a book report on Lewis at the end of the school year.

“I was sad that he passed because I think he could have done more,” Kellis said. “But I think it’s time for us to start change.”

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