‘His memory always makes me smile’: Virginians remember John Lewis

‘His memory always makes me smile’: Virginians remember John Lewis
Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., poses for a photograph under a quote of his that is displayed in the Civil Rights Room in the Nashville Public Library Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (Source: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - People from around the world took a moment to honor the life and legacy of Georgia Congressman and Civil Rights leader John Lewis on Thursday.

Three former presidents, along with a host of leaders and family members, paid tribute to the late 80-year-old who died from pancreatic cancer in an emotional service.

“Congressman John Lewis’ life and legacy is an example of how life can change for the better,” Adele McClure said.

McClure is the executive director for Virginia’s Black Caucus and met the civil rights icon years ago when she interned on Capitol Hill.

“Just as John Lewis had met his hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. around 17 or 18 years old, I too had met my hero around the same age,” McClure said.

Years later, McClure had another chance to say thank you. This time happened while both were protesting against President Donald Trump’s proposed immigration ban.

“I always think about how he spent so much of his time here on earth fighting for our rights. I was honored to be in his presence for a few brief moments,” McClure said.

“His memory always makes me smile,” Adele Johnson said.

Johnson is the Executive Director of the Black History Museum and sees Lewis as an inspiration to all races and ages.

“He was a man who had strong beliefs and didn’t just let them die. He followed up and fought for those beliefs his entire life,” Johnson said.

Lewis made one last trip to Richmond in June of 2019 for the dedication of Arthur Ashe Boulevard.

“We have to continue to fight. We must never give up. We have to continue to move forward,” McClure said.

A few days ago, McClure made one final visit to see Lewis.

This time McClure waited in the long line to pay her respects as Lewis’ body lied in the Capitol rotunda.

“I thought about the sacrifices he made, and an hour and a half is nothing to pay our respects to our hero,” McClure said.

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