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Moulton Reflects On Legacy Of Congressman John Lewis

Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA)

SALEM, Mass. — Representative Seth Moulton released the following statement on the passing of Congressman John Lewis of Georgia:

“When I grew up, we seemed to have a lot of Great American heroes around. From the Greatest Generation who won World War II, to the Civil Rights Leaders of the 1950s, to the men who walked on the moon. To call one of them a colleague was one of the greatest honors of my life, and it hit me every day I saw John Lewis on the House Floor. “Good Morning, Sir!” was my usual greeting, not because of my Marine background or his age—most people in Congress are older than me—but simply because there is nobody in Congress who had more respect. Nobody.

But he was much more than just a towering figure. He was a loving, caring, indefatigueably optimistic friend and mentor, especially to young people like me. John and I took bets on the 2017 Super Bowl, with the winner committing to visiting the other’s district. After the Patriots had the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, we started talking dates for his visit to Massachusetts, but with a few conflicts and his getting older, I suggested an alternative: a visit to some of the civil rights sites in his hometown. Through all the turmoil of the last few years, there are only two times I’ve cried in Congress: visiting the prison in Hanoi with John McCain and visiting Atlanta with John Lewis. 

If you ever doubt what a hero John and his fellow American patriots were, spend some time in Atlanta, or Birmingham, or Selma, where he came within an inch of his life fighting to uphold a nation’s ideals, even when the nation said they don’t apply to you or your family. I found myself wondering if I would have had the courage to join in those protests, to be a freedom fighter, to change a nation. That’s what John Lewis did: he changed America, and in so doing, he changed the world. And he never lost faith in either as he did it. 

During the impeachment trial, I asked him if he’d ever seen it this bad. And while he told me, “Never, not even during the Civil Rights Movement because, he said, there was more hope, more movement,” he nonetheless maintained his characteristic optimism and looked at me confidently, like a preacher to a Sunday School student, and said, ‘But, don’t worry, we’ll get through it. Keep the faith, brother. Keep the faith.’

We miss you, John.”
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