Updated:ATLANTA — For the few Americans honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, it is a magical moment.
Four Atlantans have the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- America's highest civilian honor.
They include Atlanta civil rights activist the Rev. Joseph Lowery; former U.S. representative, ambassador and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young; Baseball legend Hank Aaron; and now Rep. John Lewis.
Lowery was among the recipients of President Barack Obama's first class of medal recipients.
Lowery spoke to Channel 2 Action News reporter Jeff Dore about Lewis getting the award.
"Oh, this is giant," Lowery said. He wore the smaller version of the medal as he talked with Dore.
"He's worked hard in his labors for justice and righteousness in this country and I think he deserves it," Lowery said about Lewis.
As a young man, Lewis marched with Martin Luther King Jr. He was beaten severely at the Selma march that turned America's heart for the civil rights act.
State Rep. Tyrone Brooks has marched, and been jailed, with Lewis. Now Lewis represents Brooks in Congress while Brooks represents Lewis in the state Legislature.
"We can't just take this lightly," Brooks said. "Here's a guy who made it possible for the civil rights act to become law, and here we are the beneficiaries of the civil rights act itself," he said.
Lowery said it is a national response to the summons of King.
"When he said, ‘Come up out of the basement of race and color to the higher ground of content of character,' to me, that's what this medal signifies. The nation did answer that summons," Lowery said.