"I wish Dr. King was here."
That was the thought going through the mind of Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., while waiting to receive his Medal of Freedom from President Obama in the East Room of the White House.
Lewis, spoke to reporters in the White House Briefing Room still wearing his medal with a cobalt blue ribbon. He humbly described the day.
"It's a special honor," Lewis said. "I feel more than lucky; very blessed to receive this medal this honor from the first African American president."
The Medal of Freedom is America's highest civilian honor.
The Georgia congressman said in his mind, he accepted the medals of countless individuals who were also a part of the Civil Rights Movement.
"Those that started on the journey. Those that were beaten, arrested and jailed. Those that died along the way that are not here," he said.
The representative from Georgia, also recalled a previous trip to the White House. Lewis, recounted the day in 1963 he visited President John Kennedy with Dr. King.