Religious and civic leaders and Hoosiers of different races, faiths and ages praised Nelson Mandela on Sunday as a model of reconciliation, understanding and perseverance.

A public memorial service for the former South African president and anti-apartheid icon drew about 200 people to the chambers of the Indiana House of Representatives for a celebration in words and music of the life of Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95.

South Africa is more than 8,000 miles from Indiana, but Mandela's message of peace, equality and goodwill has spread to all corners of the world.

While the world mourns his death, the brilliance of his life resonates as strongly as when he was released in 1990 after 27 years of political imprisonment. Four years later, in the first South African election open to voters of all races, Mandela was elected president.

He preached a message of hope and tolerance, while demanding without compromise that racism be rooted out of South African government.

He will be remembered around the world as a pioneer in civil and political rights. But - like Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi - he will be remembered as much for his method as for his results.

Many would have been bitter after such a long imprisonment. Many would have turned to a violent or military solution. But Mandela confronted the apartheid system not with slings and arrows, but with forgiveness and logic.

As world leaders converge on South Africa this week to honor Mandela, we know that his work will continue to have a positive impact on millions of people.

Mandela can't be replaced, but he certainly can serve as a model for others to emulate.

The Associated Press and Anderson Herald Bulletin provided information for this editorial