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Thousands wait in line to honor Nelson Mandela

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An Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) sent Nelson Mandela to the hospital for the final time in June of 2013 before he returned to his home where he died on December 5, 2013. There is no antibiotic for a URI. The only method of treatment for victims of the infection is rest and to drink plenty of fluids to help bring up the green mucus that covers the lung. Mandela fought the infection for six months before he died peacefully surrounded by his family. Doctors had done all they could do.

Thousands of people are standing patiently in line today in South Africa to view Nelson Mandela for the final time as his body lies in state in Pretoria. President Barack Obama and former president George W, Bush took Air Force One to join over 60 heads of state from all over the world to attend a week of events to honor the life of Nelson Mandela. It is one of the greatest memorials to a world leader in history.

Obama said that Nelson Mandela was his hero and inspired him to participate in his first protest march in 1983 against apartheid. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, whom the present writer met on November 11, 2007 said, “He is by far the most admired and revered states person in the world and one of the greatest human beings to walk this earth.”

Mandela’s fight to end apartheid in South Africa inspired student protests at the University of Southern California in 1978 and was the subject of many films and literary works including the play, Why Not? in 1972, and the film A Dry White Season in 1989.

Former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk gave Mandela credit for his peaceful efforts to end racial segregation in South Africa and both men were awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1993 "for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa".

The thousands of people who are waiting in the cold and rain to pay their respect to Nelson Mandela are not seeking fame or fortune. They are simply saying goodbye to a man they loved.

Nelson Mandela will be laid to rest on December 15, 2013, in his native village in Qunu.

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