By LIBBY CATHEY, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — The physical presence of the late Rep. John Lewis — known as the “conscience of the U.S. Congress” — will reverberate through the chambers and halls of the U.S. Capitol for a final time this week.
The civil rights icon is being honored in a private, invitation-only ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, followed by an unprecedented public viewing taking place outside the building through Tuesday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, wearing a patriotic mask and sunglasses, stood on the flight deck Monday at Joint Base Andrews alongside Lewis’ family and current staff, as his body arrived from Alabama.
BREAKING: The late Rep. John Lewis and his family land at Joint Base Andrews before a solemn procession takes him to the U.S. Capitol one final time. It's part of a multi-day celebration commemorating the civil rights icon's extraordinary life and legacy. https://t.co/vgYZA4uUf6 pic.twitter.com/Cdc1XHDuiA
— ABC News (@ABC) July 27, 2020
A procession shut down several streets in Washington as Lewis’ body was transported to the U.S. Capitol.
Lewis’ only son, John Miles Lewis, exited the family motorcade at Black Lives Matter Plaza, the site of Lewis’ last public appearance, before D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser presented him with the street’s sign.
Following Monday’s private ceremony, Lewis will lie in state at the top of the building’s east front steps for public viewing. Visitors can pay their respects from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday and from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday. Masks are required and social distancing will be enforced.
The White House declined to comment on whether President Donald Trump will go to the Capitol Hill for the viewing.
Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence are expected to visit Monday evening, according to the vice president’s schedule.
Lewis is the second Black lawmaker to lie in state at the Capitol, a tribute reserved for the most revered Americans, following the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, a longtime Maryland democratic lawmaker, who died last October.
After Lewis’ casket was loaded into a hearse earlier Monday, the funeral procession passed by landmark sites in Washington, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. and Lincoln memorials, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Black Lives Matter Plaza.
The motorcade following the hearse consisted of at least 46 of the Georgia Democrat’s family and friends, including his son, who was accompanied by his friend LaTasha Brooks; his siblings Samuel Lewis, Henry “Grant” Lewis and Rosa Tyner; his sister-in-law and a host of nieces and nephews.
Ceremonies on Capitol Hill followed a weekend that paid tribute to the late icon’s life, first in his hometown of Troy, Alabama. On Sunday in Selma, 55 years after he was beaten on “Bloody Sunday,” Lewis, the son of sharecroppers, crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge for a final time.
To cheers and applause, the casket of longtime congressman and civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis is carried across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on a horse-drawn caisson in Selma, Alabama. https://t.co/QcpKciVHL3 pic.twitter.com/16yOITUcPW
— ABC News (@ABC) July 26, 2020
Following ceremonies in the nation’s capital, Lewis will lie in state at the Georgia State Capitol on Wednesday. He will be laid to rest on Thursday at South View Cemetery in Atlanta after a private funeral at Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once led.
As the motorcade made its way to the Capitol, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution by unanimous consent from Rep. Jim Clyburn to rename Democrats’ voting rights bill, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, after Lewis. The legislation would restore certain key protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act against racial discrimination that the Supreme Court struck down in 2013.
“He had internalized non-violence the way nobody else had. A lot of us had adopted it as a tactic — but John committed his life to it,” Clyburn told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos Monday after the vote.
Rep. Jim Clyburn to @GStephanopoulos on late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis: "He had internalized non-violence the way nobody else had. A lot of us had adopted it as a tactic—but John committed his life to it." https://t.co/cNuE67wXMO pic.twitter.com/tbMwiJs4Xr
— ABC News (@ABC) July 27, 2020
Lewis played an instrumental role in the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, which established greater protections for people registering to vote in the South.
A military honor guard is accompanying Lewis’ casket throughout the multi-day celebration of life.
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