I have many sweet memories of getting flowers for Valentine’s Day. There’s a reason that long-stemmed red roses have become synonymous with the February 14th celebration. They make a statement.

But the older I get; I find more joy in gifting flowers and not just on Valentine’s Day. I send bouquets any day of the year to people I care about and love. I want them to know now how I feel about them. Country singer Tanya Tucker underscores exactly how I feel in her new hit song, "Bring Me My Flowers Now." Tucker sings, “Bring me my flowers now, while I’m living. I won’t need your love when I’m gone.”

In the spirit of that song and in anticipation of Valentine’s Day this Friday, I’m offering my roses today for Congressman John Lewis, a giant of the Civil Rights movement. Last December, he announced he was suffering from stage four pancreatic cancer. The news shattered me.I interviewed him for the landmark series “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years” and for forums at Boston’s Kennedy Library. He addressed the grim diagnosis head-on, saying, “I have been in some kind of fight for freedom, equality, basic human rights ... for nearly my entire life.”

That’s an understatement. Congressman Lewis is living history.

He joined the civil rights movement as a teenager. At 21 years old, he was a Freedom Rider — one of the mostly young civil rights organizers testing the federal law desegregating interstate buses in the South. It was a dangerous mission — so dangerous the volunteer riders wrote their wills before they boarded the buses. John Lewis was the first to be hit by a mob opposed to the law and the group’s journey. So determined was he to make a change in this country, he continued to put himself on the front lines. In 1965, he led the historic march for voting rights, now known as Bloody Sunday, quietly facing Alabama state troopers who nearly beat him to death. John Lewis left decades of nonviolent protest in the streets to take on a new role in the House of Representatives. He’s in his 17th term in Congress where he’s built a reputation as a stalwart supporter of legislation protecting the rights of Americans most at risk and a vocal advocate for laws embracing humanity. Since 1986, he’s represented the citizens of Georgia where he’s long been praised as a moral compass by both sides of the aisle. His cancer announcement was met with genuine concern for his health and for what the prognosis may mean.

Congressman Lewis started his cancer treatment just as the impeachment proceedings got underway in the House. His passionate statement on the floor of the house echoed his clear-eyed commitment to democracy. He said, “For some, this vote may be hard. But we have a mission and a mandate to be on the right side of history.”

Tanya Tucker’s song ends with these poignant words, “If your heart is in them flowers, bring em on.”

Happy Valentine’s Day Congressman John Lewis. It’s especially meaningful to honor your service during this Black History Month. I appreciate your lifelong fight for an America that includes everyone. Please accept my virtual flowers right now.