WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings’ flag-draped casket was carried up the steps of the United States Capitol for a final goodbye to the country he served for more than 20 years.
The late lawmaker died unexpectedly last week at 68 years old. Cummings was given the rare honor to lie in state in National Staturay Hall Thursday, allowing colleagues, family and community members to pay their final respects.
Cummings’ good friend, Congressman Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, helped bid a public farewell alongside his other congressional colleagues.
“He’s defined by the character of his heart the honesty of his dialogue and the man that – the man that we will miss,” Meadows said.
“He did not just represent Baltimore he embodied it, he celebrated its victories, sought to advocate for its needs and worked to heal its wounds,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said.
Leader of the Congressional Black Caucus Karen Bass, D-California, called Cummings “a quiet giant who inspired everyone.”
“He’s remembered as a man who pulled no punches was authentic to the core and a champion for our democracy,” Bass said.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, says Cummings was the “North Star of the House” who wanted nothing but the best for the nation.
“Elijah has said that our children are our living messengers to a future we will never see,” Pelosi said.
Cummings is the first African American lawmaker to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol. Beyond his government service, he will be remembered as a civil rights icon.
“Martin Luther King Jr. clearly is welcoming Elijah as a warrior and drum major for justice,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said.