Hoosier leaders recognize Mandela - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Hoosier leaders recognize Mandela


South Africans flocked to houses of worship Sunday to honor former president Nelson Mandela.  They were not alone.  Hoosiers flocked to the Statehouse for a memorial service honoring the life and legacy of the former South African president.

The Indiana Statehouse has had many shining moments, and Sunday was another one.  Nelson Mandela was able to bring people together in life and he was still able to do it in death.

"I am not grieving.  I am not grieving.  One generation plants the trees.  Another generation enjoys the shade.  What choice are we going to make?" asked former state lawmaker Bill Crawford in House Chambers - the very chamber that he served for 40 years before retiring. 

Crawford who also served as a coordinator for the Free South Africa Movement, used the passing of Mandela to issue a challenge.  Young Andrea Boesak, who is from South Africa, picked up on that challenge and made one of her own.

"We don't have to think of ourselves as post-apartheid babies who couldn't help, but as Mandela's children.  Because Mandela might have gone home now, but injustice has not come to an end.  Not in South Africa, not in America and not in the rest of the world," she told a hushed chamber.

Congressman Andre Carson praised Mandela's ability to forgive those who imprisoned him for 27 years, for the sake of his country.

"That is a Christ-like love.  That is an agape love.  That is a model of the Buddha.  That is the example of Moses, Abraham and Mohammed," he concluded.

So people of various backgrounds, faiths and ethnicity came together to praise Mandela.

"What a giant we have lost, but how lucky we were to be in his presence," United States Senator Joe Donnelly told the gathering.

And that was cause for celebration.

His body will lie in state at the capital of Pretoria from Wednesday through Friday.  His funeral is next Sunday.

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