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John Lewis, Lying in State, Is Honored as Part of a ‘Pantheon of Patriots’

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When the honor guard placed Representative John Lewis’s coffin in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday, the civil rights icon’s body lay upon the same catafalque that President Abraham Lincoln’s did.

It was a fitting tribute: The raised box that once supported the president most responsible for ending slavery now carried the first Black lawmaker to lie in state in the Rotunda, a man who dedicated his life to ensuring that with freedom came equality.

“Under the dome of the U.S. Capitol, we have bid farewell to some of the greatest Americans in our history,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during an emotional ceremony Monday afternoon to honor Mr. Lewis, a Georgia Democrat who endured numerous arrests and beatings in his lifelong push for civil rights. “It is fitting that John Lewis joins this pantheon of patriots.”

Speakers recalled Mr. Lewis’s remarkable rise in American life, from a farmhouse in Pike County, Ala., with no running water or electricity to his leading role in the effort to end segregation and his ascent to the halls of Congress.

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Mr. Lewis’s coffin inside the Capitol Rotunda.Credit…Pool photo by J. Scott Applewhite

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