Rep. John Lewis' home-going was a rousing, inspiring ceremony -- highlighted by President Obama's eulogy which took aim at President Trump's actions ... while also urging all Americans to vote.
The roughly 3-hour funeral in Atlanta's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church featured speeches from President George W. Bush, President Clinton and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ... who all spoke before Obama delivered his eulogy for the longtime Congressman and Civil Rights leader.
Obama went after Trump without naming him, saying, “Even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations and targeting minorities, and students with restrictive ID laws and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision; even undermining the postal service in the run-up to an election that’s going to be depending on mail-in ballots so people don’t get sick."
He also invoked George Floyd's memory saying, "Today we witness with our own eyes kneeling on the necks of black Americans" as well as the civil unrest that's been going down for more than 50 straight days in Portland.
Obama had opened his tribute to Lewis, saying ... “It a great honor to be back in Ebenezer Baptist Church in the pulpit of its greatest pastor, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to pay my respects to perhaps his finest disciple.”
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Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush sat near the front row as they paid their respects. Bush spoke first, saying ... “We will never forget joining [John] in Selma, Alabama for the 50th anniversary of his march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where we got to watch President Barack Obama thank John as one of his heroes."
President Clinton was up next and warmly quipped, "I must say, for a fella that got his start speaking to chickens John’s gotten a pretty finely organized and orchestrated and deeply deserved sendoff this last week.”
Clinton closed his remarks, saying ... “I would infect every American with whatever it was that John Lewis got as a 4-year-old kid and took through a lifetime to keep moving and keep moving in the right direction and keep bringing other people to move and to do it without hatred in his heart."
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The funeral closed with the gospel family the Winans performing an original song, "Good Trouble," written for John Lewis, who famously urged young people to "get into good trouble" ... by being activists.
President Obama had awarded Lewis the Medal of Freedom in 2011, and said during that ceremony ... "Generations from now, when parents teach their children what is meant by courage, the story of John Lewis will come to mind."
The tributes began in Troy, Alabama where he was born, and carried on to Selma's infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge. His body was then flown to D.C. for a memorial in the Capitol rotunda Monday, and finally ... his public viewing Wednesday at the Georgia State Capitol, which drew thousands to pay their respects.
To coincide with his funeral, Rep. Lewis sent an essay to The New York Times 2 days before his death to be published today. In his last words, Lewis called for Americans to "answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe."
He said he was inspired in his final days by the social justice movement following the killing of George Floyd and others, saying ... "You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society."