— Across the United States, Americans are marking the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela with personal reflection and public tributes.
Visitors have been leaving flowers at the South African Embassy in Washington, creating a makeshift memorial in front of a statue of the anti-apartheid leader and former president.
“I think it’s very sad. He had a long hard life, but he did some wonderful things. So it’s a sad day for the world,” said Washington resident Priscilla Sabatilli.
The statue is a replica of one that stands outside the South African prison where Mandela spent 27 years of his life as a political prisoner.
In New York, commuters paused to remember the prisoner turned president, who negotiated a peaceful end to apartheid and urged forgiveness for the white government that imprisoned him.
“I think more the lesson that Mandela left for us is that we can have polar opposite viewpoints and still find a way to sort of end up where we need to be,” said Max Moondoc, a New York resident.
During his radio program in California, civil rights activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson remembered Mandela as a revered champion of human rights.
"People felt, we’re in the presence of a giant. We’re in the presence of a special person, someone who really is a gift to the world,” said Hutchinson.
Across America there are words of praise and quiet prayers at the passing of this international icon of peace and reconciliation.
People sing and dance during a gathering of mourners on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, Dec. 6, 2013.
A young girl with a poster of Nelson Mandela marches with others to celebrate his life, in the street outside his old house in Soweto, Johannesburg, Dec. 6, 2013.
Township residents march to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela in the street outside his old house in Soweto, Johannesburg, Dec. 6, 2013.
A woman cries as she holds a candle and a flower outside former South African President Nelson Mandela's house in Houghton, Dec. 5, 2013a
A girl holds a South African national flag as people mourn the death of Nelson Mandela outside Cape Town City Hall, Dec. 6, 2013.
Keaton Anderson, 10, poses for a photograph for his father Dijon Anderson as they visit the statue of Nelson Mandela at the South African Embassy in Washington, Dec. 5, 2013.
Newspapers with pictures of Nelson Mandela on the front page on sale in London, Dec. 6, 2013.
Schoolchildren hold candles and portraits of Nelson Mandela during a prayer ceremony at a school in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, Dec. 6, 2013.
A woman with a banner pays tribute to Nelson Mandela outside the South African High Commission in London, Dec. 6, 2013.
People release paper lanterns after lighting them outside Madiba, a restaurant named in honor of Nelson Mandela, in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Dec. 5, 2013.
People listen to a radio as South African President Jacob Zuma announces the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Houghton, Dec. 5, 2013.
A man holds candles in front of a mural of former South African President Nelson Mandela and U.S. President Barack Obama in New York, Dec. 5, 2013.
Pedestrians pass beneath the Apollo Theater marquee commemorating the life of South African leader Nelson Mandela in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, Dec. 5, 2013.