Congressman John Lewis’ legacy will continue to live on as the U.S. Navy christened the USNS John Lewis on Saturday, July 17, in San Diego, honoring the late congressman on the one-year anniversary of his death.
The USNS John Lewis is a 742-foot-long vessel that is designed to transfer fuel to U.S. Navy carrier strike group ships operating at sea. According to CNN, the Navy also stated that future oiler ships will be named for other prominent civil rights and political leaders and historical figures, such as Harvey Milk, Earl Warren, Robert F. Kennedy, Lucy Stone and Sojourner Truth.
“It’s fitting that we honor John Lewis with this formidable ship, because John Lewis was a warrior. One of the mottos of the Navy is ‘Semper Fortis’ — ‘Always Courageous’ — and John Lewis was indeed always courageous. This ship will be a beacon to the world reminding all who see it of the persistence and courage of John Lewis,” stated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, during the christening ceremony.
Actress Alfre Woodard, who is currently starring alongside Kevin Hart in the Netflix feature film Fatherhood, was also at the event and was named the ship’s sponsor. “May God bless this ship and all who sail in her. We miss him on this platform but we will never be without him. I am honored. I am fortunate. I am eternally grateful to have lived in the time of John Lewis,” she stated during the christening.
Lewis was on the front lines during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and survived a brutal beating while leading a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 1965. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1986, representing Georgia’s 5th Congressional District. He held the seat until his death on July 17, 2020.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee attended the ceremony to commemorate Lewis as well and remembered his contributions. “John was a warrior for peace and justice, and today reminded us that he passed the baton to us in our fight for liberty and justice for all in his honor. I miss him deeply,” she tweeted.
Check out a few pictures from the christening of the USNS John Lewis below.