U.S. Lawmakers Celebrate Mandela’s 95th Birthday

Photograph by Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Dancers entertain the crowd during an event in Capitol Visitor Center Emancipation Hall in Washington DC, to honor Nelson Mandela and to celebrate his birthday on July 18, 2013

Members of Congress sent their good wishes to former South African President Nelson Mandela this morning at a ceremony marking his 95th birthday.

“Scarcely a day goes by without us pointing to Mandela as an example, ” House Speaker John Boehner said in Emancipation Hall at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, where a large photo of a smiling Mandela was center stage.

The event, organized by Boehner and the Congressional Black Caucus, honored the anti-apartheid revolutionary who’s been hospitalized since June 8 with a recurring lung infection. His granddaughter Zaziwe Manaway said yesterday he was in “critical but stable” condition and “doing much better,” Bloomberg’s Janice Kew reported.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Mandela “the George Washington of South Africa.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also attended.

Sen. Dick Durbin, Illinois Democrat; Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican; and Rep. Charles Rangel, New York Democrat, were among the lawmakers who read small passages of Mandela’s speeches, writings and letters, including one to his ex-wife wife, Winnie, written from his prison cell on Robben Island.
Today is also Mandela Day, when people devote 67 minutes to an act of good will. Nelson Mandela’s twitter account issued a global call yesterday:


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