On behalf of the National Naval Officers Association:

Our hearts are deeply saddened as we have lost a giant in life, one of the original Freedom Riders, civil rights activist, leader of the march from Selma to Montgomery, and a member of Congress representing the people of Georgia for 33 years—Congressman John Lewis.

Congressman Lewis dedicated his entire life with blood, sweat, and tears to ensure and protect human rights, secure civil liberties, and build “the Beloved Community” in America. He was known as one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced. Congressman Lewis has been called “the conscience of the U.S. Congress.” His integrity, character, and moral compass was such that he commanded widespread respect in the chamber. He was born the son of sharecroppers on February 21, 1940, outside of Troy, Alabama. He grew up on his family’s farm, that he later purchased to keep in his family.

A graduate of Fisk University, Congressman Lewis was active in organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee. He also coordinated the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the Mississippi Freedom Summer to organized voter registration programs. The impact of his life was felt from sea to shining sea as he was awarded over 50 honorary degrees from prestigious colleges and universities, recipient of numerous awards from eminent national and international institutions, the author of numerous books, and honored in movie about his life called John Lewis: Good Trouble.

Congressman John Lewis believed in the humanity of Americans and was optimistic about the future of what our country can become for our children and our children’s children. The road map has been established. An inspiration to all the members of the National Naval Officers Association, let us continue to build upon his legacy with wisdom and dedication for a better tomorrow. Our hearts and condolence go out to the Congressman’s family and his son, John Miles-Lewis.