Biden honors civil rights icon: ‘We are made in the image of God, and then there is John Lewis’

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday mourned the death of Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), saying the civil rights leader was “truly a one-of-a-kind, a moral compass who always knew where to point us and which direction to march.”

“We are made in the image of God, and then there is John Lewis,” Biden wrote in a statement. “How could someone in flesh and blood be so courageous, so full of hope and love in the face of so much hate, violence, and vengeance?”

Lewis, the renowned civil rights leader who served as a symbol of the movement throughout his more than three decades in Congress, died Friday at the age of 80.

Biden, a former senator from Delaware, served with Lewis in Congress during the lawmaker’s 34-year tenure, and wrote that it is “rare to meet and befriend our heroes.”

“John was that hero for so many people of every race and station, including us. He absorbed the force of human nature’s cruelty during the course of his life, and the only thing that could finally stop him was cancer. But he was not bitter,” he wrote.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee recalled speaking with Lewis for ultimately the last time just a few days ago.

“His voice still commanded respect and his laugh was still full of joy. Instead of answering our concerns for him, he asked about us,” Biden wrote. “He asked us to stay focused on the work left undone to heal this nation. He was himself – a man at peace, of dignity, grace and character.”

Biden also reflected on demonstrations happening across the country against police brutality and racial injustice, encouraging parents to teach their children about Lewis amid the ongoing unrest.

“For the peaceful marchers for racial and economic justice around the world who are asking where we go from here, follow his lead,” Biden wrote. “For his fellow legislators, govern by your conscience like he did, not for power or party. He was our bridge – to our history so we did not forget its pain and to our future so we never lose our hope.”

Biden ended by telling Lewis to “march on, dear friend.”

“May you reunite with your beloved Lillian,” he concluded, referring to Lewis’s wife who died in 2013. “And may you continue to inspire righteous good trouble down from the Heavens.”

U.S. politicians from both parties, as well as international leaders, paid homage to Lewis.

Former President Obama said he “stood on the shoulders” of Lewis, and credited the activist’s sacrifices for helping him become a U.S. senator and the nation’s first African American president.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany released a statement saying Lewis “leaves an enduring legacy that will never be forgotten.”

President Trump, who arrived at his Sterling, Va., golf course on Saturday morning, has not yet directly acknowledged Lewis’s passing.

Tags Barack Obama Civil rights movement Donald Trump Joe Biden Joe Biden John Lewis John Lewis John Lewis death Kayleigh McEnany Trump golf club

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