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Hartsfield-Jackson holds reception
for the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery
By Staff Writers

The City of Atlanta hosted a reception at Hartsfield-Jackson to honor one of
Atlanta’s most enduring heroes, the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, as he returned on August 13 from Washington with the nation’s highest civilian honor, the
Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Aviation General Manager Ben DeCosta hosted the event, which drew representatives from state, county and city governments as well as members of the community. More than 60 people gathered in the Airport’s Executive Conference Center to applaud Lowery for the latest in a long string of accolades awarded to the “dean of the civil rights movement.”

DeCosta, Hartsfield-Jackson Office of Public Affairs Director Myrna White, Atlanta City Council President Lisa Borders, Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves, Clayton County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell and Leona Barr-Davenport, president and CEO of the Atlanta Business League, spoke at the reception and honored Lowery and his wife, Evelyn.

“From his landmark service alongside [Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.] to his modern-day advocacy on behalf of civil rights — domestically and abroad — Reverend 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.”

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is a decoration bestowed by the president of the United States to recognize those who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” 

The speakers also bestowed additional honors and gifts on Lowery to commemorate the occasion. DeCosta presented Lowery with a framed banner developed by the Department of Aviation. Eaves read from a proclamation that declared August 13, 2009, to be Joseph E. Lowery Day in Fulton County, and Barr-Davenport presented the Lowerys with a bouquet of roses to acknowledge the longtime contributions by Evelyn Lowery, whom the reverend called “a stalwart — a faithful roommate, partner, colleague and inspiration.”

In his remarks, Lowery thanked the Airport and DeCosta for hosting the reception, which he said was especially meaningful because it came from his hometown.

“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.”

President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 16 people during a ceremony at the White House on August 12.

Ben DeCosta with Rev. Joseph Lowery

The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery (left) thanked Aviation General Manager
Ben DeCosta for hosting the reception in his honor.

© 2005-2009 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.

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