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Surprise party for Joseph Lowery at airport

Joseph Lowery speaks at the airport Thursday. Photo: Courtesy of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Joseph Lowery speaks at the airport Thursday. Photo: Courtesy of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree Joseph Lowery had yet another surprise awaiting him as he returned to Atlanta this week following festivities in Washington D.C.

The City of Atlanta hosted a surprise reception for the civil rights legend at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Among the dignitaries awaiting Lowery’s flight: Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Ben DeCosta hosted the event, which drew representatives from state, county and city governments, including Atlanta City Council president Lisa Borders, state senator Kasim Reed, Fulton County Commission chairman John Eaves, Clayton County Commission chairman Eldrin Bell and Leona Barr-Davenport, president and CEO of the Atlanta Business League. The group had gathered to greet 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.”

Lowery was clearly touched by the reception.

“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.”

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