Pelosi hails Lewis's legacy: 'He insisted on the truth'

Pelosi hails Lewis's legacy: 'He insisted on the truth'
© Bonnie Cash

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWhite House officials, Democrats spar over legality, substance of executive orders Sunday shows - Trump coronavirus executive orders reverberate Pelosi: 'Of course there's room for compromise' on 0-per-week unemployment benefit MORE (D-Calif.) paid tribute to her longtime colleague Rep. John LewisJohn LewisBill Maher delivers mock eulogy for Trump Hillary Clinton touts student suspended over crowded hallway photo: 'John Lewis would be proud' Maxine Waters expresses confidence Biden will pick Black woman as VP MORE (D-Ga.) Thursday at his funeral in Georgia, calling him a “beautiful man.”

"We come with a flag flown over the Capitol the night that John passed. When this flag flew there ... it waved goodbye to John,” Pelosi said, her voice breaking. “Our friend, our mentor, our colleague. This beautiful man that we all had the privilege of serving with in the Congress of the United States.”


“When John Lewis served with us, he wanted us to see the civil rights movement and the rest through his eyes. He told us so many stories, he taught us so much, and he took us to Selma for two decades,” she added, referencing Lewis and colleagues’ annual visits to mark the anniversary of the Selma march.

Lewis, Pelosi said, “wanted us to see how important it was to understand the spirit of nonviolence.”

Pelosi invoked the concept of satyagraha, a form of nonviolent resistance pioneered by Mahatma Gandhi. While it refers to nonviolence, Pelosi noted it also literally means “insistence on the truth” in Sanskrit.

“That is what John Lewis was all about: nonviolently insisting on the truth,” she said. “He insisted on the truth in Nashville, Selma, in Washington, D.C., at the Lincoln Memorial. He insisted on the truth wherever he went. And he insisted on the truth in the Congress of the United States.”


Lewis, she said, “always talked about truth marching on. He always worked for a more perfect union.”

Pelosi said that over the Fourth of July weekend, she presented Lewis with a flag pin reading “one country, one destiny,” the words sewn into Abraham Lincoln’s coat on the night of his assassination.

“John Lewis and Abraham Lincoln had so much in common,” she added, noting that the platform on which Lewis’s casket lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda was initially constructed for Lincoln’s casket.

Lewis, she added, was “always about young people,” noting Lewis’s optimism about the capacity of young activists to bring meaningful change.