Former President Barack Obama will deliver the eulogy at Rep. John Lewis’s funeral on Thursday, according to CNN and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are also expected to attend the service honoring the late Georgia congressman and civil rights icon, the news outlets said, citing sources familiar with the plans.
Lewis, a Democrat, died earlier this month at the age of 80 after a months-long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Since Monday, lawmakers and members of the public have been paying their respects to Lewis, whose body has been lying in state at the U.S. Capitol. Lewis is the second Black lawmaker to be honored in this manner, after Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) last October. Only about three dozen people, including 12 presidents and four Unknown Soldiers, have lain in state at the U.S. Capitol.
Obama, who has referred to Lewis as “one of my heroes,” will eulogize him at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, CNN and the Journal-Constitution said.
In 2011, Obama ― who was then president ― bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, on Lewis.
“Generations from now, when parents teach their children what is meant by courage, the story of John Lewis will come to mind,” Obama said at the presentation ceremony. “An American who knew that change could not wait for some other person or some other time; whose life is a lesson in the fierce urgency of now.”
Though Obama, Clinton and Bush are expected to attend Lewis’s funeral, President Donald Trump does not plan to participate in the service, CNN reported.
Trump said earlier this week that he “won’t be going” to the Capitol to honor Lewis.
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, paid their respects to the late congressman on Monday.