Obama to eulogize John Lewis as former presidents attend civil rights icon’s funeral

Politics

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 15: U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) (R) is presented with the 2010 Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama during an East Room event at the White House February 15, 2011 in Washington, DC. Obama presented the medal, the highest honor awarded to civilians, to twelve pioneers in sports, labor, politics and arts. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Watch the service at 8 a.m. PDT Thursday live on FOX 5 or on fox5sandiego.com.

ATLANTA (CNN) — Former President Barack Obama will give the eulogy at US Rep. John Lewis‘ funeral on Thursday and former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush will attend the service, according to sources familiar with the former presidents’ plans.

The sources added that Clinton and Bush will also participate in the funeral for the late civil rights icon, which will be held Thursday morning at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. The service marks the last day of a six-day memorial ceremony honoring Lewis.

The news of the three former commanders in chief each having a role in the service comes after President Donald Trump said Monday that he wouldn’t pay his respects to Lewis when he lay in state at the US Capitol.

“No I won’t be going, no,” Trump said when asked whether he would travel either later Monday or Tuesday to honor the late congressman.

Trump offered brief words on condolence on Twitter after Lewis’ passing earlier this month and ordered flags lowered for a day. Earlier Monday, the White House said Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen would pay their respects to Lewis on Monday evening at the Capitol building.

There are no plans for Trump to attend Lewis’ funeral on Thursday.

Lewis and Obama were mutual admirers of each other, with Lewis having described Obama’s 2009 inauguration as an “out-of-body” experience.

“When we were organizing voter-registration drives, going on the Freedom Rides, sitting in, coming here to Washington for the first time, getting arrested, going to jail, being beaten, I never thought — I never dreamed — of the possibility that an African American would one day be elected president of the United States,” he said at the time.

In 2011, after more than 50 years on the front lines of the civil rights movement, Lewis received the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, placed around his neck by America’s first Black president.

Obama said in a statement following Lewis’ death that the civil rights icon will “continue, even in his passing, to serve as a beacon” in America’s journey towards a more perfect union.

“He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise. And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example,” Obama said.

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