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Body of Late Congressman, Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Returns to Washington


The hearse with the flag-draped casket of Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., drives on 16th Street, renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza, near the White House, July 27, 2020.

The late U.S. congressman John Lewis returned to Washington on Monday, taking a final journey past several civil rights landmarks before his casket was taken to the Capitol, where it will lie in state for officials and the public to pay their last respects

After being flown into Joint Base Andrews in Maryland outside Washington, Lewis's casket was loaded into a hearse and taken into the city via motorcade led by motorcycle police.

The motorcade took a circuitous route through the city, with a slow pass by the Lincoln Memorial where, in 1963, Lewis had been the youngest speaker during the Martin Luther King-led March on Washington. The motorcade then drove by the memorial honoring King, on the tidal basin just off the National Mall.

Next, the motorcade wound across the Mall, past the White House and onto the newly minted Black Lives Matter Plaza, where the civil rights icon made his last public appearance in early June. Lewis, who was diagnosed in late December with pancreatic cancer, died July 17.

From there, the motorcade worked its way back to the Mall for a pass by the African American Museum, where Lewis is remembered among other civil rights activists.

From there, the motorcade eventually arrived at the Capitol where Lewis' casket was greeted by a host of high-profile political leaders for an arrival ceremony in the Capitol's Rotunda.

Inside the capitol, public officials, including presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, are expected to pay their respects.

The general public has been prohibited from entering the Capitol complex since mid-March, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so Lewis' casket will be positioned at the top of the center steps of the Capitol, just outside the Rotunda.

Later Monday, people would be able to walk up to the bottom of those steps to pay tribute to Lewis, with social distancing and mask-wearing requirements in place.

The public will be able to pay their respects to Lewis all day Tuesday, before his body is flown to Atlanta to lie in state Wednesday in the Georgia Capitol. A funeral will be held at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the historically black church where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached.

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