Page 18 - Scene Magazine 45-08 August 2020
P. 18

  Local Interest
BY AARON D. EDLEFSON, MPA
Director, Calhoun County Veterans Affairs
   On July 17th, United States Rep- resentative John R. Lewis died at the age of 80. By now, more than likely, anyone reading this knows of his death. Rightfully so, it was covered by news outlets throughout our nation. His death was mourned and his life celebrated
of the Student Nonviolent Coordinat- ing Committee and represented them when he spoke at the August 28, 1963, March on Washington. At age 23, he was the youngest speaker at the march. On March 7, 1965, Lewis was beaten after crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge while leading a peaceful march, an event later known as “Bloody Sunday.” Mr. Lewis’ accolades as a civil rights leader are well known.
healthcare for female Veterans, ex- tending benefits to blue water Vietnam Veterans, creating better access for Veterans who are in a mental health crisis, expanding benefits for homeless Veterans, job creation for Veterans, increased transparency from the Depart- ment of Veterans Affairs, and honoring the sacrifice of Veterans who have been overlooked in the past.
by people across the globe who have felt the impact of Mr. Lewis’ life and his unending dedication to freedom
and equality. He was so esteemed that on July 27 and 28, he laid in state in
the Capitol Rotunda. According to the Office of History, Art & Archives of the United States House of Representatives, only thirty-eight individuals have laid in state or honor in the Capitol Rotunda or National Statuary Hall since 1852, among them twelve Presidents.
What is less known was his record
as a lawmaker in supporting the rights of Veterans, as well as the benefits and programs that help them. During his tenure as a Representative he sponsored or co-sponsored 146 pieces of legisla- tion that went to the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee. These pieces
of proposed legislation spread across a wide range of subjects. They include, but are not limited to, improving bene- fits for underserved Veterans, improving
Known as the “conscience of the
US Congress,” he was a truly inspiring man. In his final days he wrote a letter that was to be published on the day of his funeral, which the New York Times published on July 30. The final sentence of that powerful letter reads, “So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.” May you rest in peace, Mr. Lewis, and may we carry on your dream of freedom and equality.
Mr. Lewis’ dedication to the Civil Rights movement was nothing short of extraordinary. The last living member of the “Big Six,” he served as the president
A Legacy of One, A Message to All
 Providing services for veterans and their families.
Federal Benefits Emergency County Burial and Programs Assistance Benefits Benefits
                                                                                                          (269) 969-6735 • 190 East Michigan Avenue, Third Floor, Battle Creek, Michigan calhouncountymi.gov/departments/veterans_affairs/index.php
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