John Lewis Funeral Service in Atlanta

Lead Late John Lewis Live Jake Tapper _00022120

"We can witness our federal government sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators", the former president said.

Get our best delivered to your inbox. "It will be a great embarrassment to the USA". But he added that people must vote to secure lasting change.

"And someday, when we do finish that long journey towards freedom", Obama added, "when we do form a more ideal union, whether it's years from now or decades, or even if it takes another two centuries, John Lewis will be a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America". "Not when few elections have been as urgent on so many levels as this one".

Others expected to speak at the service are Lewis' nieces, Rev. Dr. Bernice King, former President George W. Bush, former President Bill Clinton, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, former Atlanta mayor William Craig Campbell and former President Barack Obama who will deliver the eulogy.

"His enormous contributions will continue to be an inspiration for generations to come", Mr Carter wrote.

"We live in a better and nobler country today because of John Lewis and his abiding faith in the power of God, in the power of democracy, and in the power of love to lift us all to a higher ground".

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The timing of Trump's unconstitutional suggestion was juxtaposed by the publication of a post-mortem essay that Lewis had sent to The New York Times to be published on the day of his funeral.

"Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble", Lewis wrote.

"As we honor the life of this nonviolent warrior, who embodied the very spirit of Christ and showed us we have the spiritual power to resist injustice and evil and hatred and vitriol with the force of love and truth, we are eternally grateful", King said.

Clinton referenced the Times essay during his remarks: "It is so fitting on the day of his service, he leaves us his marching orders: Keep moving". "I suggest we salute, suit up and march on". Due to COVID-19, the funeral will be closed to the public, however, it will be televised for those who wish to pay their respects to the civil rights icon.

Mr Lewis' death came in a year during which "Black Lives Matter" protests against police brutality have brought thousands onto USA streets, underscoring the still-raw depths of the country's racial history.

After speaking at length about Lewis's accomplishments, Obama noted that the congressman continued to be an activist even as he grew older, because of "the whirlpools of violence and hatred and despair that can always rise again". His parents were sharecroppers, and he once worked in a cotton field. He recalled working with him to bring the National Museum of African American History and Culture to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. In 2008, Bush signed into law the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, which Lewis co-sponsored.

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