John Lewis’ unending quest for a better country

Several years ago, on the day after John Lewis appeared at the Kentucky Author Forum in Louisville, he sought me out on the House floor. He grabbed and hugged me and then said, “I had one of the greatest days of my life in your city.” I was so proud that Louisville had made such a positive impression on him, just as he had made such an impression on the packed house the night before. 

He raved about the people he had met, and he said he was wowed by the Victorian homes in Old Louisville. He told me he couldn’t wait to return to Louisville and spend more time touring. That return never came. 

John Lewis’ death was not a surprise. Pancreatic cancer doesn’t spare many. Just before the pandemic effectively shut down Congress, I walked with John from the Cannon Office building, where we both have our offices, to the House floor. He was frail, and he walked much more slowly than his customary fast pace. He was upbeat, told me his treatment was going well, and he was determined to see Trumpism defeated this November. When we were banished from the Hill for months, I suspected I would never see him again, and that has become the sad reality.

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