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House holds moment of silence for John Lewis

By JulieGrace Brufke
The Hill

The House held a moment of silence on Monday for Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights legend who served for more than three decades in the House until his death late last week.

Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) — who was joined by members of the Georgia delegation —  led the moment of silence, highlighting the impact Lewis’s work had on his country.

“The world is a better place because John Lewis spent his life pursuing freedom, justice, opportunity, love and peace for all of humanity,” he said.

“While he is an icon in the history of America for his courage and his sacrifice in making good trouble, his enduring humility reflected the true timbre of his character. He inspired us as the conscience of the Congress. And we have all been truly blessed to know, love and share the life and legacy of this extraordinary human being,” Bishop said.

Rep. Tom Graves said Lewis had welcomed him in the well after his own election to Congress.

“I’ll never forget that day — it was his thunderous voice that filled the chamber as he welcomed me and introduced me to each of you,” he said. “It’s truly a privilege now for me to be able to stand before you and to honor him not far from where he honored me as we remember the life and the legacy of who is known as a gentle, gentle giant.”

“I’m better off because of John Lewis, we are all better because of John Lewis, our nation is so much better because of John Lewis,” Graves said.

Following the moment of silence, the chamber erupted in applause, with some members tearing up following the tribute.

Lewis, 80, was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in December.

The longtime lawmaker played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, walking with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the march on Selma days after Lewis and other peaceful demonstrators had been attacked by state police.