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Nation mourns the death of John Lewis: ‘One of the greatest heroes of American history’

The nation flooded the internet and airwaves with mourning over the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), honoring the civil rights titan’s legacy of fighting for equal rights for all.

Americans from across the political spectrum and all walks of life honored Lewis, who died late Friday night at the age of 80. Lewis carved his place in history with a lengthy career advocating for civil rights, from being beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., on “Bloody Sunday” to serving 17 terms representing an Atlanta-area district in Congress. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Lewis “a titan of the civil rights movement whose goodness, faith and bravery transformed our nation” and a legislator who was “fearless in his pursuit of a more perfect union.”

“Every day of John Lewis’s life was dedicated to bringing freedom and justice to all,” she said. “In the Congress, John Lewis was revered and beloved on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol.  All of us were humbled to call Congressman Lewis a colleague, and are heartbroken by his passing.  May his memory be an inspiration that moves us all to, in the face of injustice, make ‘good trouble, necessary trouble.’”

“John Lewis was an icon who fought with every ounce of his being to advance the cause of civil rights for all Americans. I’m devastated for his family, friends, staff—and all those whose lives he touched,” added Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), the nation’s second Black female senator. 

Former President Obama praised Lewis’s “enormous impact” on the country and noted his “gentleness and humility.”

“He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise. And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example,” he wrote in a Medium post

“We have lost a giant,” former President Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement. “John Lewis gave all he had to redeem America’s unmet promise of equality and justice for all, and to create a place for us to build a more perfect union together.” 

Though a staunch liberal, Lewis’s activism earned him respect and plaudits from lawmakers across the political aisle. 

“The Senate and the nation mourn the loss of Congressman John Lewis, a pioneering civil rights leader who put his life on the line to fight racism, promote equal rights, and bring our nation into greater alignment with its founding principles,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “Our great nation’s history has only bent towards justice because great men like John Lewis took it upon themselves to help bend it. Our nation will never forget this American hero.” 

“John Lewis was a legend who dedicated his life to achieving justice for all. His fight for freedom transformed the lives of countless Americans, and the legacy he leaves behind will continue to impact generations to come,” tweeted Georgia Rep. Doug Collins (R).

“Few people have the grit, tenacity or courage of John Lewis,” Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) said in a statement. “Our nation is better because of his leadership and courage.”

Celebrities also took to social media to praise Lewis and his legacy of activism.

“Today we have lost a heroes’ Hero.. Thank you God for John Lewis’s life of service. Let us continue to try to walk his walk of truth. Rest in Power,” tweeted Mariah Carey. 

“This is a great loss for America, and for everyone who believes in making the world a more just place. John Lewis not only saw that our country could be better–he never stopped working to make it that way. We need leaders like him more than ever,” said Bill Gates.

Tags Barack Obama Barack Obama Bill Clinton Bloody Sunday Civil rights movement Doug Collins Edmund Pettus Bridge Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton John Lewis John Lewis John Lewis death Kelly Loeffler Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Selma to Montgomery marches

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