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“John Lewis was an extraordinary man. He suffered for this nation, enduring what would have easily broken other men, so that future generations could enjoy the full blessings of freedom. Racism, segregation, and discrimination were not history for him; they were everyday life. But John wasn’t just a patriot on sunny days. His patriotism urged him forward to fight for America with nonviolence and defend it with peacefulness. We are a better nation because of John Lewis.

“I got to know John when we traveled together to Selma to cross the bridge and commemorate his famous march. I saw firsthand that he was a great leader and a committed teacher who believed in civic education and led by example. Fittingly, John’s final act of public service was also about civic education: he and I sent a letter yesterday urging more money to be spent on civics courses in elementary, middle, and high schools. Even on the last day of his life, John never stopped working to improve the lives of others.

“It was a true privilege to call John a friend. I admired him and will miss him. His life and legacy of patriotism will endure for as long as America does. Judy and I are praying for John’s family.”