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Today I went inside my email and maybe like some of you, you got this in your inbox.
This email brought back my meetings with Congressman Lewis and one in particuliar in 2004 with our teenage daughter, Brandy.

This was the email I received and then I will proceed to tell you about the man I was so blessed to  speak with.

Subject Line:  They don't want you to vote

Amanda --

This is deeply personal for me.

I've been marching and preaching and fighting for voting rights for over 50 years. Today, we're seeing a deliberate and systematic effort on the part of Republican officials to prevent minorities, seniors, the young, and the poor from casting their ballots.

Republicans are intent on beating my friend Lois Frankel and we can't let them steal this election. We must do everything we can to protect the vote. We set a goal by Sunday to make sure we have 100 voters standing up for Lois.

Will you stand with Lois and help today so we can make sure she wins this November?

Lois believes like I do that voting is critical to our society and it matters. We must do everything we can to protect the vote. Too many courageous people have fought to secure the vote. Don't let it be taken away. Stand up for Lois and help us today with a gift. Please contribute now.

Thank you,

John Lewis

Please jump below the squiggly

The year was 2004.  I was engaged in the Kerry Campaign.  I was calling and trying to attend as many rallys as I could.  I had just had a visit from the C-Span Bus and was hyped about the 2004 election including a Get out the Vote CD of narration of which I put together of facts and either sold cheap or gave away. I know all the proceeds went to helping veterans.

  I think Doc Zombie may still have a copy of it.  There were months of research going into that CD.  My husband helped me record it digitally before we mastered it in a studio.  We were in Georgia.  

The Kerry Campaign was holding a rally in Atlanta and I decided on Saturday, I would attend that Sunday rally.  I asked our 13 year old if she wanted to go and she did.
We found a parking spot and got out of the car and walked to see the lines and of course the Bush protestors across the street.  We walked into the Indoor arena, and I had the CD with me.   I carried it with me but no camera.  I was waiting for the rally to begin when I was asked to join Veterans on stage.  I remember I had my husband's jacket that displayed 101st and Helping Vets displayed on it.

   Brandy was thrilled that
we were on stage and getting to be standing with Sen. Kerry and I spotted Sen Cleland and went to talk with him a bit and then took my place back on stage with vets and advocates.

My daughter was so hyped regarding that rally that she was all aflutter.  After the rally, still on stage,  Congressman Lewis walked over to her and they started talking about school and the soon to be voters of tomorrow.  I was talking to Senator Cleland and walked back to shake hands with  Congressman Lewis.  He was going out of his way to speak to all he could.  We were not behind any rope lines so we had access to everyone that was on the stage.

  People were lining up and taking pictures and we walked outside to go to the car when I remember I had forgotten to hand that CD to
Congressman Lewis or Sen. Cleland.  I noticed a glowing, well dressed black gentleman walking not far from us.  I immediately took her by the hand and said, " Let's go" I got to give this CD to Congressman Lewis.  We walked briskly to catch up with him before he got in his ride, I was sure was about to pick him up.

  I caught up with Congressman Lewis, and he remembered us and said, " We meet again".  I observed this beautiul soul who is not a tall man but a giant in my eyes.  He said, " Young lady, if you ever want me to come speak at your school, just give me a call".  We were not in his district but it did not matter as he offered to come to her school.  She was overwhelmed when he handed her his card.   She then  said, "My Mom said you knew Martin Luther King".  This is where the story got really great for me.  He looked at me and said, " I did know Dr. King and he was a good friend."  He turned to me and said, " I love to see parents engaging their children in the election and voting process.  It is my whole life".  I remarked, " Congressman Lewis, I appreciate all you have done for the voting rights.
I appreciate your sacrafice and patience of which I am not blessed to posses to have faced the things that you and Dr. King faced and honored to be here in your company.
I then said, " When we spoke a few minutes ago, I was so overwhelmed with the moment that I forgot to get you this Get out the Vote CD that I made and I want you to have".  He looked down at the CD.  I told him it was a narration of why we should vote and all we could do if we voted democratic.  

Congressman Lewis said, " I fear there may come a time that those battles will have to be refought.  I hope not."  I shook my head and said, Congressman, that time came in 2000 but I hope you do not mean on a national level again.  " He said, " Well, I pray that time never comes".  He then said, "Thank you for your activism on getting out the vote and I want to come to this young lady's school.  Just call my office and we will arrange for that to happen. "   It never happened beause my daughter was discouraged in school from having Congressman Lewis visit.  We were not allowed to bring the C-Span school bus to her High School for a FREE presentation of media arts when they came down.  Why?  Because Villa Rica High School is a redneck backwards school that I fought on more than one occasion later on.

John Lewis is soft spoken, and gentle and radiates of pure goodness.  I noticed that lump on his head and on the way home from the rally I couldn't stop Brandy from being so hyper as I thought back to the days of voter suppression and I want my husband to meet John Lewis.  He missed that rally and to this day he holds that white card, engraved in gold in a special box.

Please get out the vote.  Please remember people like Congressman Lewis and help him help Lois Frankel and other democrats.  Remember how he was treated by the tea party in August 2010 and remember he had time for a child and to encourage her to be involved.  He told me he was going to give the CD to the DNC for me.  I was thrilled.

Courage and Heroes, like John Lewis, I have been blessed to converse with, and I count them as some of our better angels, still mortal.  After that email came, today with that subject line, I thought, your worst fear has arrived.

My daughter, Brandy I have my arm around and the jacket I wore to the Rally, my husband is wearing.  This was taken in front of the Cspan bus that came to give me that award that I am proud of.

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Originally posted to Vetwife on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 07:28 PM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 07:28:25 PM PDT

  •  I am moved beyond words, Vetwife (9+ / 0-)

    Congressman Lewis is indeed a very special soul and a national treasure. Yes, it does seem as if we are having to fight for our most basic and most important right again, but because of men like Congressman Lewis and Dr. King, I will walk through the fires of hell to protect that right for all Americans.

    "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. We must put our hands on it and we must bend it in the direction of justice." MLK

    by mindara on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 07:45:39 PM PDT

  •  Love max cleland also (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, Vetwife, emidesu, j b norton

    What saxby chambliss a draft dodging bum did to him was the biggest travesty in politics.

    Follow on twitter @progressiveelec -

    by alpolitics on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 09:16:30 PM PDT

  •  John Lewis and the kids. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, Vetwife, emidesu, j b norton

    Thank you for your diary concerning John Lewis and the interactions your family has had with him.

    I grew up in Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, before moving to Alabama in 1989. Soon after arriving in Alabama, there were three daughters in our family.

    My mother lived nearby, and she took my daughters with her as she worked on her many causes across Alabama, the southeast region, and onto Washington DC. My kids learned a lot. Primarily, that the offices of government were there to serve them.

    I had a job in Birmingham working 7 days on, 7 days off. That means... 26, one week vacations a year!

    We had a pop-up camper, time, and a land to discover.

    Some of the trips we took had nothing to do with anything but playing and growing up. But some, like the trip we took in 2004 to mark the Lewis and Clark expedition (a three week trip) were classroom expeditions, with swimming in the evening.

    I vaguely, sorta knew about the Bloody Sunday event at The Pettus Bridge. I checked the calendar... saw some time although we couldn't be there on the 40th anniversary, we'd be there the weekend before. I did a ton of research; learned so I could teach daughters.

    I never told the kids where we were going the day we loaded in the car and headed... "To Selma".

    My second daughter saw the sign; she knew the bridge!

    We spent a few hours there... visiting nearby sites related to the civil rights events.

    Then 4 years ago, my oldest daughter called me (19 or so at the time) screaming,

    "I saw John Lewis today! He came to UAB!"

    To me, John Lewis is a hero among heroes.

    Back to you... thanks for the diary. You took my breath away!

    Then I read your bio and saw you're a part of the SPLC.

    You're a hero too!

    What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness, Anger, discontent and drooping hopes... Life is too strong for you-- It takes life to love Life

    by Nebraska68847Dem on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 09:35:26 PM PDT

  •  Thank you so very much (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emidesu, j b norton

    No...he is the heroic one.   I thank you so very much for sharing this wonderful part of your life and so glad your
    child got to see Congressman Lewis.

    You did a good job with your children it sounds like !

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 09:43:22 PM PDT

  •  Vetwife... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    j b norton, Vetwife, jplanner

    I love John Lewis and you are making me love you. Your heart stands out here.

    The founding fathers knew of the mutually corrupting influences of Church and state, wisely sending them to opposite corners.

    by emidesu on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 10:13:15 PM PDT

  •  beautiful diary, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thanks so much...John Lewis is a wonderful man. My husband met him when he worked in DC (many moons ago). True American hero...and so are you and your daughter.

  •  We had such a good time that day/ thank you (0+ / 0-)

    I bet he enjoyed meeting him. Cong. Lewis is so gracious.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 11:56:16 PM PDT

  •  This is lovely and important (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thanks for sharing your story and especially for all YOUR hard work for Democratic candidates over the years.

    I'm glad you got to meet this man. I, like him, commend you on having raised and aware, respectful, and engaged young person and soon to be voter. She has learned by your example.

  •  My son got to meet John Lewis recently; (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    my son is just a college kid, yet Rep. Lewis was remarkably gracious and generous with his time.

    Just a wonderful human being. The anti-Paul Ryan.

  •  His listening and soft spoken words of wisdom (0+ / 0-)

    captured me beyond belief.   He cut cut down the biggest oak tree with the most gentle voice filled with conviction and emotion.  Not a heteful bone in his body.
    He is the mold for tolerance.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:36:04 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for the republish !!! (0+ / 0-)

    thank you so much !

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:37:31 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for the rescue (0+ / 0-)

    I apologize for thinking the other diary was rescued .  I am thrilled this one was.   We need to get out the vote and yes one person can make a difference.  Please remember John Lewis when you think of urging people to vote.  He carries battle scars and is a true hero.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 04:11:49 PM PDT

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