When the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery returned from Washington, D.C., with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the city of Atlanta held a reception in his honor at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL).
The event, hosted by Aviation General Manager Ben DeCosta, included state, county and city government representatives, along with members of the community.
“From his landmark service alongside [Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.] to his modern-day advocacy on behalf of civil rights – domestically and abroad – Rev. Lowery has labored to improve our world,” DeCosta said. “This agent of change has earned a rightful spot among the elite group of Americans who wear the Medal of Freedom, and we are proud to welcome him home.”
Lowery was one of 16 people given the medal by President Barack Obama on Aug. 12; according to a White House statement, it “is awarded to individuals who make an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Lowery expressed gratitude to DeCosta and the airport for the reception, saying it held a special place for him because it came from his home town.
“I want to thank you for this moment,” he said. “This is a cherished moment. You are the people I labored with, and you recognized me and loved me still.”