Rose Petals Sprinkled on Bridge to Honor Rep. John Lewis

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By Jill Brooke

Did you see this image?

Prior to civil-rights icon Rep. John Lewis’s coffin going to the Capitol Rotunda, funeral workers in Alabama dropped rose petals on the Edmund Pettus Bridge as his body was carried across the bridge via-horse-drawn carriage.

We, along with many others, were moved by this gesture since flower petals do convey the sentiment of love.

“It was very moving seeing the rose petals on the bridge,” says Laura Dowling, author of “Floral Diplomacy.” “The imagery was poignant and multi-layered: at once conjuring both the drops of blood that were spilled there on “Bloody Sunday” in 1965 – while also honoring the life and legacy of John Lewis – who led us on a path towards social justice in a spirit of peaceful perseverance and unwavering hopefulness. The rose petals symbolize both his trials and triumphs, a perfect tribute to a great man.”

We are more accustomed to seeing the tradition of rose petals being scattered for weddings by a flower girl. Ancient Romans and Egyptians threw seeds – and then flowers – to newlyweds as a symbol of fertility.

Isn’t it a nice thought that the message of love and acceptance becomes a fertile idea and way of life.

As reported in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Lewis’ body will remain at the Capitol until it is transported Thursday morning to Ebenezer Baptist Church for the 11 a.m. funeral.

His adopted home of Atlanta will be his final resting place. He will be buried next to his wife Lilian who passed in 2012.

Lewis, who died July 17 from pancreatic cancer at age 80, spent his adult years here and started his political career in Georgia. In Congress, he represented the 5th District, which covers Atlanta and many adjoining cities and communities, from 1987 to 2020.

His message of non-violence and raising awareness through persistence and effective communication made him a global inspiration. He fulfilled many key roles in the civil rights movement and his actions helped end legalized racial segregation and encourage racial understanding. He was also a  Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient among many honors.

Goodnight, sweet prince.

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD.