ATLANTA — As Rep. John Lewis returned to his longtime home city of Atlanta, the motorcade carrying him stopped at several landmarks throughout the congressional district he represented for more than 30 years.
Wednesday morning, Lewis left the U.S. Capitol where he laid in state in the Capitol’s rotunda for the last two days.
Stay with Channel 2 Action News for complete coverage of John Lewis’ homecoming. We’ll have LIVE coverage of Lewis’ funeral on Thursday on Channel 2 Action News and streaming on WSB Now on our mobile devices, as well as Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire.
From there, he was flown to Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Cobb County, where he started his journey to the Gold Dome.
During a brief ceremony, Lewis’ family and close friends watched on as a military honor guard removed Lewis’ flag-draped casket and moved him into a hearse to be taken through the city of Atlanta.
[PHOTOS: Rep. John Lewis arrives in Atlanta for homecoming at Capitol]
Sophia Johnson was one of more than 50 people who stood outside the base to wish Lewis farewell.
“It’s sad that he’s gone, but we need to get in some good trouble. There’s so much going on in the world today,” Johnson told Channel 2′s Chris Jose.
Sheila Edwards said she considered Lewis a mentor and a close friend.
“I really appreciate the wisdom he offered me, the advice that he offered me. He always told me, what he told everybody, keep the faith. Stay on the path,” Edwards said.
Lewis’ motorcade left Dobbins around 1 p.m. and made its way along Interstate 75, getting off at 10th Street in midtown Atlanta.
From there, the motorcade made its way along 10th Street, stopping at the rainbow crosswalks at the intersection of 10th and Piedmont, where he was met with a crowd of people watching on.
Lewis was a longtime fighter for gay rights. He even served as the Grand Marshall of the Atlanta Pride Parade in past years.
With hands over their hearts, onlookers cheered on Lewis as he drove by.
From there the motorcade continued south on Monroe Drive to Ponce de Leon Avenue, where the motorcade passed the Chabad Intown Synagogue.
As the motorcade continued, it turned down John Lewis Freedom Parkway. The road was renamed for the civil rights icon in 2018.
At the time, he said it was “very moving” to have the road named for him and encouraged the young people in the crowd of the naming ceremony that day to get involved with changing the world.
“We’ve come too far. We’ve made too much progress and we’re not going back. We are going forward,” Lewis said.
As the motorcade moved on, it went through the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic District and paused along Auburn Avenue, at the five-story mural that was painted in his honor.
The mural has become a makeshift memorial for people to stop and pay their respects for the congressman.
Channel 2′s Audrey Washington was at the mural when the motorcade stopped and said it was an emotional moment for those onlookers who were there to honor Lewis.
“He’s been a hero to so many people,” said Jennifer Toney, an assistant principal at a metro school.
She told Washington about the first time she met the civil rights giant.
“He was just so sweet. He took the time to ask me about myself and how I was doing, so his kindness,” Toney said.
She said it was especially moving to meet Lewis because her own grandfather once marched with him.
“He just told me pivotal times in his life, because he was in college at the time. It was just so moving for him to be there and to change the story of America at the time,” Toney said.
Jennifer Wilson said she brought her child to the mural, so she could get a quick glimpse at the motorcade.
“We just wanted to come and honor his memory,” Wilson said.
From there, Lewis’ motorcade made its way to the Gold Dome.
He was met with a full honor guard after driving under a massive American flag hanging from the ladders of two Atlanta fire trucks.
As the casket was removed, Gov. Brian Kemp and first lady Marty Kemp, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and State Rep. Calvin Smyre walked out to welcome the congressman as he was brought into the rotunda of the state capitol, where Lewis will lie in state until his funeral on Thursday.
Cox Media Group