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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Obama's Eulogy for John Lewis

Former President Obama delivered a moving, eloquent eulogy at the funeral of Rep. John Lewis today at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.  It's well worth your time to listen to this historic address.  Excerpt:
The life of John Lewis was, in so many ways, exceptional. It vindicated the faith in our founding, redeemed that faith; that most American of ideas; that idea that any of us ordinary people without rank or wealth or title or fame can somehow point out the imperfections of this nation, and come together, and challenge the status quo, and decide that it is in our power to remake this country that we love until it more closely aligns with our highest ideals. What a radical ideal. What a revolutionary notion. This idea that any of us, ordinary people, a young kid from Troy [Alabama] can stand up to the powers and principalities and say no this isn't right, this isn't true, this isn't just. We can do better. On the battlefield of justice, Americans like John, Americans like the Reverends Lowery and C.T. Vivian, two other patriots that we lost this year, liberated all of us that many Americans came to take for granted.

America was built by people like them. America was built by John Lewises. He as much as anyone in our history brought this country a little bit closer to our highest ideals. And someday, when we do finish that long journey toward freedom; when we do form a more perfect union – whether it's years from now, or decades, or even if it takes another two centuries – John Lewis will be a founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America.

And yet, as exceptional as John was, here's the thing: John never believed that what he did was more than any citizen of this country can do. I mentioned in the statement the day John passed, the thing about John was just how gentle and humble he was. And despite this storied, remarkable career, he treated everyone with kindness and respect because it was innate to him – this idea that any of us can do what he did if we are willing to persevere.

A life of courage, perseverance, gentleness, humility, kindness, and respect: what a concept. What a man. What an American.

Former presidents Bush and Clinton also spoke at the funeral:

Former President Carter was too frail to travel but sent a letter of condolence which was read out during the service:

The current squatter in the White House was nowhere to be seen, but he did tweet out a plug for a pizza joint during the ceremony:


Frank said...

How very fitting that Obama delivered the eulogy for Lewis. How dignified, how eloquent, how deep his understanding of the struggle, the history, the significance of this event at this time and place.

And that it was on National TV must be a thorn in the side of 45. Hopefully a big sharp, barbed thorn.

Russ Manley said...

Yes, yes, yes to all you said, Frank.

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