Today our nation pauses to honor a legend, an icon, and an American hero. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lifted up the conscience of our nation — a towering leader in his day, and a lasting inspiration for all generations to follow.
Our Declaration declares that ‘all men are created equal,’ and Dr. King challenged our nation to live out that sacred truth: to banish the evils of bigotry, segregation and oppression from the institutions of society and the hearts of men.
His legacy of freedom is the true memorial to his life: no testimonial can pay better tribute than the faces of young children living out their dreams.
But his work is not done: all around us today we see communities and schools falling behind and not sharing in the prosperity of American life. Each of us has a solemn obligation to ensure that no American is left behind — and that all Americans are fully included in the American Dream. When young Americans of color are left on the sidelines, our nation is denied a lifetime of contributions to this society — and when any of our American brothers and sisters is forced to live in fear, or poverty, or violence, it is setback for the entire nation.
We rise and fall together, and today we pledge to follow in Dr. King’s footsteps so that all Americans may know the full blessings of this God-blessed land.