By Derrick Perkins (Photo/Library of Congress)
Mayor Bill Euille joined the chorus of voices celebrating former South African President Nelson Mandela’s life and mourning his death.
The 95-year-old Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist and prisoner-turned-national-hero, died Thursday. Word of the loss spread quickly in South Africa and elsewhere, prompting makeshift memorials and tributes across the globe.
“Our hearts are broken and we are all saddened by the death of President Nelson Mandela,” Euille said. “He was not only an inspiring leader, visionary, philosopher and voice for the people of South Africa, but for the entire world.”
The Rev. Ian Markham, dean of the Virginia Theological Seminary, likewise mourned the death of a “giant.”
“His was a life of sacrifice with 27 years in prison,” Markham wrote in his daily column on the seminary’s website. “His dignity and service led to the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa. He was truly the world's moral compass.”
President Barack Obama also has paid tribute to the fallen South African leader. He ordered flags flown at half-staff and is expected to attend Mandela’s funeral.
Euille said Mandela would not be soon forgotten.
“He not only lived, but he lived to make a difference in the lives of his nation, which ultimately, had a very important and impactful outcome in spreading the message of freedom and human rights across the globe,” the mayor said, offering his condolences to Mandela’s family and friends. “He will … be remembered in our hearts forever.”