ATLANTA — Presidents, dignitaries, friends, family and leaders all gathered Thursday to say farewell to Congressman John Lewis in one final celebration of life for the civil rights hero and longtime public servant.
While three former presidents - Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama - were all present for the service, a fourth, President Jimmy Carter, joined them in honoring and celebrating the life of Lewis.
The Georgia Democrat, now 96 years old, has been sheltering at his home in Plains, Georgia with his wife Rosalynn. Carter took a moment to share words of condolences in the form of a letter.
The letter, read aloud by Ebenezer Rev. Raphael Warnock, is below:
"To the friends and family of the Congressman John Lewis:
Rosalynn joins me in sending our condolences to all gathered today to mourn the loss of one of our nation's great leaders.
Throughout his remarkable life, John has been a blessing to countless people. We are proud to be among those whose lives he has touched.
While his achievements are enjoyed by all Americans, we Georgians know him as our neighbor, friend and representative. His enormous contributions will continue to be an inspiration for generations to come.
Please know you are in our hearts and prayers during this difficult time. We hope your warm memories and the love and prayers of your family and friends will be comfort to you in the days ahead.
Lewis, who died July 17, was 80 years old. The Georgia Democrat served to represent the state's 5th District for more than three decades. His life and civil rights works were honored over the course of six days of ceremonies spanning from his home state in Alabama, to Washington, D.C. where he served, to his adopted home in Atlanta.
He will be interred at South-View Cemetery.
Final Farewell to John Lewis