On Monday my daughter, her son and I were among those who went to the Capitol to pay tribute to Rosa Parks. We saw thousands gathering for the long wait to pass by Mrs. Parks's casket. The people were black and white, nicely dressed, mindful of the solemnity of the occasion, respectful and self-respecting, quiet, nearly silent, yet good humored and almost cheerful as they assembled.

It was a remarkable experience. The sense of our shared humanity and shared fate as a society was overwhelming -- and overwhelmingly good.

Eugene Patterson, editor of the then-Atlanta Constitution, wrote of a similar feeling -- of a time when we might all put our arms around each other -- while at Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral.

Maybe some day it will happen. We're getting closer.



We took Metro downtown from Vienna early Sunday evening to pay our respects to Rosa Parks at the Capitol. We did not anticipate that we would not get through the viewing line until well after 1 a.m.

Police officials told us that Metro had closed by then, but we walked to the nearest station anyway -- not having many other options at that point -- and were delighted and relieved to find that Metro trains were still running. We got the last train to Vienna.

Thanks, Metro.



Mourners pass Rosa Parks's casket.