WASHINGTON — Rep. Aaron Schock will lead the House delegation to former South African President Nelson Mandela’s Tuesday memorial service, the Illinois lawmaker’s office announced Sunday afternoon.
“I have always had great respect for former president Mandela. The personal sacrifices he made in order to achieve what was right for the people of South Africa is something I carry with me every day. I am humbled to be leading so many of my colleagues in tribute to Nelson Mandela,” he said in a statement.
A Democratic aide told BuzzFeed that Schock will be joined by Sen. Ted Cruz and Reps. Marcia Fudge, John Conyers, Charlie Rangel, John Lewis, Jim McDermott, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Maxine Waters, Bobby Scott, Mel Watt, Shelia Jackson Lee, Elijah Cummings, Donna Christensen, Gregory Meeks, Barbara Lee, G.K. Butterfield, Al Green, Gwen Moore, Yvette Clarke, Karen Bass, Terri Sewell, Joyce Beatty and Frederica Wilson. The aide noted that changes to the list are likely.
Of Schock’s selection, House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement provided by Schock’s office, “Nelson Mandela was one of the most consequential and beloved figures of our time, and I am grateful that Rep. Schock is leading our congressional delegation to the memorial service to honor his life.”
Mandela’s memorial service is slated to take place Tuesday in Johannesburg, South Africa at 95,000-capacity FNB Stadium. President and Mrs. Obama, along with former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter are slated to attend.
“President Mandela’s commitment to improve the lives of those around him at the expense of his own freedoms demonstrates the best in mankind. It is impossible to imagine what his time in solitude was like, but to emerge and lead the efforts of reconciliation in his country is truly remarkable. His example of servant leadership — voluntarily leaving office after one term — set an example of democratic change for South Africans and the world over. Nelson Mandela’s forgiveness, leadership, and class will always inspire me,” Schock added.