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tv   Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony for 1965 Voting Rights Marches Foot...  CSPAN  March 23, 2016 1:26am-2:38am EDT

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>> i am a history buff.
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i do enjoy seeing the fabric of our country and how things -- how they work and how they are made. >> i love american history tv. >> i had no idea they did history. that's probably something i would really enjoy. >> with american history tv, it gives you that perspective. >> i may c-span ear are a. later, a look at mob violence and lynching in the jim crow south. last year marked the 50th anniversary of the selma, alabama, marches that led to the voting rights act of 1965. to commemorate the marchers or foot soldiers of the civil rights movement, the speaker of the house of representatives hosted a congressional gold medal ceremony features civil rights activist frederick d. reese. the congressional gold medal is the highest civilian award given by congress. this program is about an hour.
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our honored guests, members of the united states house of representatives, members of the united states senate and the speaker of the united states house of representatives.
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>> ladies and gentlemen, the speaker of the united states house of representatives, the honorable paul ryan. [ applause ] >> good afternoon. i want to welcome all of you to the capitol visitor center. today we're honoring the foot soldiers of the 1956 voting rights marches. last year, we celebrated the 50th anniversary. but we felt that the foot soldiers' contribution to our country was so great that they deserve the highest honor in our possession, the congressional gold medal. so i am very glad to share this special day with you. we're also in the presence of some truly great americans. like my friend and colleague, congressman john lewis. [ applause ]
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we're also honored to be here with reverend f.d. reese and a man that i represent in wisconsin, paul simpson from elkhorn, i want to ask them and all of our living honorees to please stand right now and be recognized. [ applause ] i also want to thank the alabama delegation. hard to say that from wisconsin.
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i want to thank them for offering the resolution to honor the foot soldiers. wasn't to thank my colleagues, congresswoman terry sewell and congresswoman martha roby. martha could not be with us today. but she's here with us in spirit. i want to thank you the time to join us. >> ladies and gentlemen, please stand for the presentation of the colors by the united states armed forces color guard, the performance of our national anthem and the retiring of the colors. ♪
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[ national anthem ] ♪
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♪ ♪ >> ladies and gentlemen, please stand as the chaplain of the united states house of representatives, father patrick conroy, gives the invocation.
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>> let us pray. god of justice, god of mercy, we call upon you to send your spirit upon us now as you have so generously done in the past. we gather to honor those, your servants, who marched years ago so that we americans today find it unacceptable that many still do not have easy access to the vote. in the 50th year since their brave determination was on display, we bestow the congressional gold medal on those men and women who changed not only alabama and america, but the world. so many people worldwide have been inspired to struggle for their own free dodoms thanks toe
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heroics given by our countrymen, the foot soldiers of voting rights those many years ago. as we gather, inspire us to acknowledge that the struggle for the right to vote without impediment continues in our own ti time. our history of elections demonstrates that exclusion from the voting rules, not fraud, has been the greater scandal. may the courage of the foot soldiers then be ours now. as we honestly face together the challenge of guaranteeing voting rights in our own day. we make our prayer in your most holy name, wonderful counselor, mighty god, eternal father, prince of peace. amen.
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>> please be seated. united states, representative from alabama, the honorable terry sewell. >> thank you. mr. speaker, my esteemed house and senate colleagues, to the honorees, the brave men and women of the voting rights movement, all elected officials and guests assembled, today we gather to honor the courage, tenacity and faith of the foot soldiers who marched in 1965 from selma to montgomery. the sacrifices made by these foot soldiers compelled this nation to live up to its ideals of equality and justice for all and led to the passage of the
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voting right act of 1965. over 50 years ago, a selma preacher and educator, reverent frederick douglas reese, and president of the dallas county voters league, invited reverend martin luther king, reverent ralph albernathy and the members of the southern christian leadership conference toss help lead selma's voting right protests. they were joined by a young man from troy, alabama, known as john lewis. and members of the student non-violent coordinating committee to help organize and mobilize demonstrations. while these men set into motion the series of events that changed this nation, they were joined by a cast of thousands of men and women known and unknown, black and white, that dared to march across a bridge for voter
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equality and better america. today, the american people through their congressional representatives bistro tibestow medal on them. we are joined today by so many of these foot soldiers. and i know that the speaker acknowledged them already. but you are so special. it's been so long. i want those foot soldiers who are living and here today, please stand and be recognized one more time. while we know your comrades, f.d. reese and john lewis will accept this gold medal onlater know this nation owes all of you
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a debt of gratitude and we humbly say thank you. i would also like to recognize the families of the foot soldiers that gave their lives in this cause. will the family of dr. martin luther king, junior, rise? the family of ralph abernathy. the daughter of viola luiso, mary luiso. [ applause ] the sister of jimmie lee jackson and the family of james ray. [ applause ] i was so honored and humbled to sponsor hr-431 with my colleague martha roby. the bill to honor the congressional gold medal was a momentous occasion. i was proud all of my colleagues from the alabama congressional delegation joined martha and i
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as co-sponsors of the bill putting aside partisan politics, we joined together because of our deep love of state of alabama and our appreciation of the special role our state plays in the voting rights movement. a special thanks to senator booker and senator sessions of alabama who co-sponsored the senate bill and for making the journey to selma last year for the 50th commemoration. along with the 100 other members of congress, republican and democrat, it was a glorious day. a glorious day for me to welcome you to my hometown. as a native of selma and now its united states representative, i know that the journey i now take is alabama's black -- first black congresswoman was made possible because of the courage and sacrifices of these foot soldiers. while i know the congressional goad gold medal is a small symbol, i hope it stands as a small symbol.
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it should serve as a compelling reminder of the power of ordinary americans to collectively working together achieve extraordinary social change. history teaches us that the price of freedom is never free. it has been paid for by the blood, sweat and tears of our ancest ancestors. while we can never truly repay the foot soldiers for the sacrifices they made. we request all pay tribute to them by remembering to vote in every election. every election. [ applause ] local, state and federal. while we move beyond the bridge, the voting rights of americans are still at risk. there are still modern day barriers to voting, challenges have weakened the voting rights act of 1965. the cause of the foot soldiers march for is still so important today. it's a cause of voting. and voting is so critically important. selma is now every generation
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faces its own social and political struggles. there's much work to be done. the tactics that were employed are still relevant today. what can we learn from these foot soldiers? we can learn that non-violent protests works. we can learn that collective action works. strategic and tactical thinking pays off and effective leadership towards a common goal is the key. i want to end by reminding all of you of the 104-year-old amelia bointon who was on that bridge with john lewis and was struck by the head. and she was on that bridge with reverend reese. i have a great fortune of inviting her to be my guest at the state of the union last year. and she was so excited to meet president barak obama. and as we waited for him to arrive before he gave his speech, she was filled with
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anticipation. everyone around just looked at her beaming. and when he walked through the door and kneeled down and touched her hand, he held her face -- she held his face in her hands and said, i know that i am president of the united states because of you and to say thank you was not enough. [ applause ] but i'm saying thank you. i'm about to give a speech as the president of the united states of america in a few minutes, and it's all because of you. well, at 104 she looked up and said, make it a good one. it better be a good speech. so i say in closing, let us all make it a good one by remembering the sacrifices of the foot soldiers. let's make every day a good day.
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and we in congress should give you the gift of strengthening the voting rights agent s act . [ applause ] and i hope -- [ applause ] and i hope and pray during this black history month that we make each and every day a good one. thank you. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, united states senator from new jersey, the honorable cory booker. [ applause ] >> good afternoon. this is truly a day that the lord has made and a day that came to be because of some legends who i have the honor to stand before right now. i will tell you this, there are generations now in america who were not alive to bear witness to your courage. but i say this to you with quite confidence, as one of only five
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african-americans ever elected to the united states senate, i stand here today because you stood there then. because you marched. [ applause ] because you marched. because you didn't let nobody turn you around. [ applause ] and so this is truly one of my life's greatest moments. i am humble d to be able to participate here in paying tribute to some of the extraordinary americans whose footsteps paved the way for me and my generation. i feel blessed and honored to have partnered with senator sessions in being the senate sponsors of this important award. this award is one of the highest civilian honors our nation can bestow and it is clearly fitting to tribute -- to give this tribute to the courageous foot soldiers, thousands of people
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who in the face of violence worked with peace. who in the face of hate showed incredible love. who in the face of fear showed courage and in the face of injustice demonstrated and overwhelming sense of love for their country and for their fellow countrymen and women. by putting one foot in front of the other time after time, they not only marched into history, but they awakened a national consciousness. they pricked the moral imagination of this country and people beyond. they themselves were a light unto this nation. through their work, these patriots ushered in the passage of the voting rights act, one of the truly crowning achievements of this democracy.
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that historic bill breathed life into the constitutional promise that the fundamental right to vote should not be infringed upon because of the color of someone's skin. this award represents our collective national gratitude to the courageous men and women, humble heros, who worked so hard to move a stubborn country forward. and so i believe now that we cannot pay back to these folks with tributes, awards and honors. we must accept the obligation also to pay our debt by paying it forward. because i tell you right now, we have a lot of work to do in this country. voting rights and civil rights, economic opportunity and equal
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justice under the law show clearly that the dream of this nation still demands, that the call -- [ applause ] -- of this country still calls out for the courageous. and that we in generations now that have come about, generations yet unborn that you affected back then, that we have a bill to pay. so i stand here in gratitude to the leaders of congress who have elevated this day and made it special. but please understand, this day which we celebrate today was earned by the sacrifice, sweat and indeed blood that you shed for this nation then. thank you and god bless you. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, united states senator from alabama, the honorable jeff sessions.
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[ applause ] >> distinguished leaders, tha you senator -- congressman sewell for your energy you brought to our delegation, a daughter of selma indeed. cory booker is one of our most able members of the senate and one of the best people in the senate. i was born in -- [ applause ] i was born in selma, a teenager at the time of this march, growing up 35 miles south in a little town of camden, attending all white segregated schools. as a child and a teenager, i saw evidence of discrimination virtually every day. i think even the youth of our time were aware of the historic events that were beginning to unfold in selma but maybe
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probably not fully understanding the significance of it. certainly, i feel like i should have stepped forward more and been a leader and a more positive force in the great events that were occurring. make no mistake, this march was not an easy thing. it challenged more than a century of injustice and discrimination. it was touch and go. lives were at risk. there was great opposition from a large majority of the white community. and there were among those opponents violence killers. and kill they did. around and related to the march, jimmie lee jackson, reverend lee, jonathan daniels were murdered. the first peaceful march was stopped violently by the state troopers. seeing that film, i always see
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albert turner senior in the front with his white hat going down when the troopers attacked. yet, this time it was going to be different. next, there was turn-around sunday, but no turning back. the final march, an assertion of clear constitutional rights of assembly, petition, speech, was f> protected by judge johnson's famous order. and the foot soldiers moved out. to montgomery with the message to america and the world. the murdered during that time were despicable and proof of the courage of the foot soldiers who knew for an absolute fact their lives were at risk. but they were going to change history. and they moved forward boldly. the foot soldiers gave of themselves for a great cause, justice and equality. american ideals clearly not then being realized.
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they did so with courage and fidelity being part of perhaps the most significant event in civil rights history. you indeed changed the world. so i want to give special thanks to those who walked for displaying your commitment and courage. and you did it in the spirit, let me say, of jesus. it was in that spirit that you overcame and overcame in a way that altered not just the opposition of those in the -- the actions of those in opposition, but you changed the hearts of millions of people. a truly monumental achievement, truly worthy of this prestigious honor, the congressional gold medal. more needs to be done. we need to join closer hands. but it was indeed a monumental event. so i extend my thanks to each of you for your service to
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humanity, for your heroic action that made selma, alabama, america and yes, the world, a better place. thank you so much. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, pianist dana christina joy morgan performing "my tribute." >> i am because we are. because we are, therefore i am. i am one. ♪
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[ cheers and applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, the democratic leader of the united states house of representatives, the honorable nancy pelosi. [ applause ] >> it's always wonderful to be introduced after the music when everyone is in such a good mood. isn't it wonderful that as we pay tribute to the foot soldiers, we had miss morgan's beautiful, as she called it, "my tribute." thank you for enhancing this day so beautifully.
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thank you. [ applause ] mr. speaker, as a member of the leadership, i'm pleased to join you in welcoming all of our guests here today to be here with the majority leader of the senate mcconnell, the democratic leader mr. reed, who will be joined by senator sessions and senator booker and how pleased we are to be here with terry sewell. every day she's here. all of the friends from alabama. every day she's here, it's an alabama splash. you know what that is? the rest will explain it later. in any event, what an honor it is for us to be here with frederick douglas reese, reverend. you honor us with your presence. i was pleased to hear you speak in selma. you moved us then. i know you will today. thank you. reverend reese. what an honor it is for us each and every day to serve with john
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lewis in the congress of the united states. [ applause ] he is wearing two hats today. he's not wearing any, but he's wearing two hats today. one as a foot soldier and one as a congressman paying tribute to the foot soldiers. john, thank you for blessing our country with your service every day. [ applause ] as has been acknowledged and we all know, 51 years ago, thousands of men and women stepped forward to lay claim to the most fundamental right in our democracy, the right to vote. you faced diskrcrimination and intimidation. you suffered bigotry and brutality. still, you marched for justice, for equality and for the opportunity to cast a ballot and shape the future of our great country. and so, with so many movements
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of justice, the path leading was powered also by the determination of young people, students who believed they could change the direction of their communities and bend the arc of history. reverend reese, he called reverent martin luther king to join the king and reverend abernathy as well. [ applause ] a week after bloody sunday, president lyndon johnson came before a joint session of congress and called on congress to pass sweeping voting rights legislation. he was moved by the march. and he said at the time, to congress, at times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom.
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so it was at lexington and concord, so it was in selma, alabama. i'm so glad he said that. because as we honor all of you in black history month, his words are a recognition of what we all know, that that wasn't just about black history. that was about american history, as much as any other event in the history of our country. [ applause ] selma was a bridge to the ballot, an act of courage that challenged the conscience of america. i'm so pleased that viola's duce is here with us. her mother was one who answered the challenge. saw it on tv, the march, the treatment of the marchers and went down to alabama. she was shot, as you know, a
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martyr to the cause for helping out. but when her daughter spoke to us in selma last year, we were asking her as children and as your family, did you ever wonder why your mother left -- your mother went to alabama? does your family ever ask that question? she said, no. our family just wonders why everyone didn't go to alabama. [ applause ] with their heroism, with your he heroism, with the voting rights law you helped realize, the selma marchers, all of you, made america more american. thanks to you for almost 50 years, the voting rights act stood as a guardian of our democracy. yet in recent years the law that gave -- that you gave so much
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has been weakened and the protection it guarantees have been diluted. today, it's our honor to celebrate the foot soldiers of the selma marches with a congressional gold medal. your bravery adds ever lasting luster to this award. the men and women of selma did not march for medals. you marched to demand action. you marched to pass legislation. and you did. if we really, truly value the legacy of the selma foot soldiers, we must come together, democrats and republicans, and pass a renewed, restored and en without any further delay. [ applause ] all of you men and women alike had the courage to march forward
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into tear gas and night sticks for voting rights for our democracy. we should have the courage and the decency to hold a vote in congress on the voting rights act. [ applause ] 51 years later -- 51 years later, the dignity -- and see the dignity, feel the dignity in this room from all of you. the dignity and determination of the selma marchers still echos through the decades as a source of strength, inspiration and as a challenge to every last one of us here today. let us be worthy of your legacy. let us continue your march for justice in a new century. let us pass the voting rights act. thank you all very much. [ applause ]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, the democratic leader of the united states senate, the honorable harry reid. [ applause ] >> we all know that civil rights movement was driven by courageous men and women who stood against forces of bigotry and hate. for decades our country celebrated iconic civil rights leaders who transformed the nation through activism. women and women like dr. martin luther king junior, rosa parks, thurgood marshall and dorothy height. as we recognize actions of civil rights giants, it's important that we remember the scores of individuals who helped to end injustices in communities and institutions. these unsung heros embodied the courage and resolve of civil rights icons and became the catalyst for change. unsung heros, like a man by the
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name of thomas thornton, african-american, world war ii veter veteran. he was appointed by a senator as a mail carrier in the senate post office. a mail carrier. during that time, numerous government agencies in washington maintained separate dining facilities for black and white staff. not long after he started working in the senate post office, thomas took a stand for equality. in defiance in longstanding practice, he sat down to eat his meal. when asked to leave, he refused. his courageous act was one of the first steps taken to integrate the united states senate. that same year, atlanta daily world correspondent demanded access to the press gallery. his request was rejected on the grounds he didn't meet the qualifications necessary to gain
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membership. lewis refused to back down. appealed to the senate rules committee and was granted access to the press gallery unanimously by this committee. the stands they took seem small, but they proved no matter who you are or where you come from, you can encourage others to stan for what is right. a few years later, after thomas thornton refused to bow to segregation in the senate cafeter cafeteria, christine, a senate staffer, became a trail blazer and chose to eat her lunch in the senate cafeteria. diners gawked and made remarks. but christine returned each day with courage in her heart, refusing to back down to the powers of discrimination and inequality. that courage and determination exhibited by thomas thornton, lewis, christine, reflects the core of the civil rights movement. here on capitol hill. a movement driven by principled conviction and refusal to back
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down in the face of injustice. today we pause to recognize the thousands of men and women who chose to take a stand for voting rights and equality. the foot soldiers of 1965, these marches for voting rights carried the banner of voting from selma to montgomery and pa paved the way for the voting rights act of 1965. today we honor the foot soldiers for their strength and acts selflessness. i would be remiss if i didn't like we all should more often today take the time to honor in my mind the outstanding foot soldier, a man i deeply admire, congressman john lewis. [ applause ] before john set out to march on bloody sunday, i have taken those steps with him, the
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bridge. he told me he had in his backpack an apple and a book. he thought he would be incarcerated. he thought he could have an apple and read the book. he never found the backpack again. never ate the apple. never read the book. he prayed before he started over the bridge, had been on the front rights of the civil rights movement fighting for justice and equality. when i say he fought, that's not a figure of speech. that's exactly what i mean. john lewis' bus was torched by ku klux klan. he was beating for entering a whites only waiting room. he was arrested and beating for organizing mississippi freedom summer. his head was smacked on bloody sunday. he was knocked within a little bit of his life. he survived but they didn't know he was going to. as racist mobbed these peaceful
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protesters. despite being threatened, beaten, ridiculed, spit upon, arrested, john lewis never stopped and hasn't stopped fighting for freedom. thank you, john. [ applause ] today we honor every foot soldier who refused to give up, every man and woman who had the courage to challenge the status quo and demand equality for all. so today we salute the foot soldiers of the 1965 voting rights marches, fearless men and women who forever transformed our nation. thank you all. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, the majority leader of the united states senate, the honorable mitch mcconnell. [ applause ] >> from time to time, we come together in retrospect on the
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historic grounds of the capitol to show continuing gratitude to individuals whose actions helped shape our nation. we again do so now. we gather in honor of brave men and women whose historical impact is still felt these many years later. when the selma foot soldiers embarked on their journey, they did so without the promise of valor. victory was never assured or even likely. but they marched on anyway. through the fog of gas. through hails of clubs. through torrents of hose and wire. they marched on, first across
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the bridge and then with dr. king right back again. as they reached the end, halted once more by troops and police, dr. king led a prayer of solidarity. marchers knelt with him in the street, in the shadow of a human barrier before them. can't call this moment the greatest demonstration for freedom that we have ever had in the south. it takes more than tear gas to extinguish an idea. flesh can burn. ribs can break. skulls can even be fractured. but it takes something more than a club club or a hose to break spirit. congressman john lewis understands this better than many and as others have said, we're glad he's with us here today.
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he knows that marchers' spirits weren't broken that day. he knows that a profound but simple idea continued to burn bright, that we are all god's children equal before him and equal before the law. the marchers continued onwards on their journey, marching from brown chapel a.m.e. church, marching down highway 80. after five long days, after 54 long lonely miles of freezing temperatures, grueling rain and muddy camp sites, the marchers arrived at the steps of the capitol in montgomery. the "new york times" said the next day that the marchers had moved toward their goal of freedom, much further in these past five days than mere miles from selma to montgomery can measure. their pilgrimage transperformed the normal landscape of the south.
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as someone who spent his early childhood about 180 miles north of selma, let me tell you, events like these did help transform the south in many ways. so that is why some 50 years later we gather this afternoon. we acknowledge the contributions made by those here with us today. we also bestow the highest civilian honor congress can give. we do so in the hope that it may serve as both a mark of honor and a reminder, a reminder of a march from selma to montgomery, a reminder of what it helped to achieve in our nation, and a reminder of the enduring, indomitable and unbreakable power of the human spirit. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, the
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speaker of the united states house of representatives, the honorable paul d. ryan. >> wow. what a beautiful day and what a beautiful moment this is. martin luther king once said that the right of protest was the glory of america. it was our rejection of violence that made us great and i can think of no better proof for his argument than the very people that are right here in this room. they lived in a country that denied them the vote and yet they did not abandon their belief in freedom. they challenged america to live up to it. they renounced all forms of violence. they did not wield nightsticks or spray tear gas or hide behind a wall of state troopers.
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they didn't do any of those things. what they did was march and they won. they won because they awakened america's conscience. victory did not come cheap. there is always a price for freedom. and they paid it. the indignities, the injustices, the cruelties that piled up and up and up. they were called outside agitators, subversives and other ugly names. but in the end, no lie could overpower the truth. and so today, we recognize them for who they are and what they are, foot soldiers for freedom. they did not only change the way that we live, they showed us how to live.
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they taught us that only a good country can be truly a free country. and so i am honored, honored and proud to present this medal to the foot soldiers who marched, because they have added immensely to the glory of america. [ applause ] and at this moment, i would now like to invite our friend congressman john lewis, the reverend reese and director jarvis to join me for the presentation. [ applause ]
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[ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, foot soldier and united states representative of the fifth district of georgia, the honorable john lewis. >> my beloved brothers and
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sisters, i want to thank the leadership of the house of representatives and the senate for making this day, this ceremony, possible and i want to thank my colleagues, representative, senator booker and session for leading this congress to stop and pay tribute to the countless and nameless foot soldiers of the voting rights movement. it was there determined marching feet led to the passage of the voting rights act of 1965. they weren't rich. or famous. they had very little money. some of them never learned to read or write. but they changed the nation for
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the better so that you and i could gather here today. some of them stood in unmoving lines, day in and day out. some stood on courthouse steps, attempting to register and vote. some were beaten, tear gassed, trampled by horses and left bleeding in the streets. there were maids and butlers, sharecroppers and tenant farmers. they were cooks and clerks, school children and college students, some teachers, some lawyers.
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some flunked the so-called literacy tests. some were asked to count a number of jellybeans in a jar. they were just ordinary people with an extraordinary vision, to build a true democracy in america. the president of the united states, lyndon johnson, members of the house and senate and the american people heard our cries and responded to our pain and to our suffering. because of our sacrifice, they made a commitment to pass the voting rights act of 1965. the most effective piece of legislation passed by the congress in the last century.
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i want to leave you with the words of dr. martin luther king, jr., who inspired a nation and an entire generation. he said a great leader and a foot soldier of the movement, he said again, if you protest courageously and yet with dignity and love, when the history books are written in future generations, the historian will have to pause and say there lived a great people who injected new meaning into the veins of our civilization. so thank you, from each and every one who marched, who prayed, who never gave up, who never gave in, who kept the faith and kept their eyes on the prize. thank you. [ applause ]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, foot soldier, mr. f.d. reese. >> i am certainly honored to be able to stand here and look into such beautiful faces and to recall how good god has been,
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for he is a good god. he brought us from nowhere to somewhere, allowed us to receive the great blessing that this great nation has to offer, and so i stand here today to say thank you. had it not been for the lord on our side, we would have perished by the way, but certainly he saw us through many dangers, seen and unseen, brought us over high mountains and over deep waters and allowed us to be here today.
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i don't know what you told him when you woke up this morning. i told him thank you. thank you. thank you for being such a great god. we thank him for allowing us to be here this hour, for truly, this is a great hour, for when we think about all the many difficult ro difficult roads that we have traveled, the many beatings we might have taken, the nails that we can remember but god saw fit to allow us to be here this hour. i don't know what you told him when you woke up this morning but i told him thank you.
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thank you. thank you. may god bless all of you. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, please stand as the chaplain of the united states senate, dr. barry black, gives the benediction. >> let us pray. eternal lord god, we resonate with the sentiments of gratitude
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spoken by dr. reese and we again say thank you. thank you for sustaining us over a way that with tears, has been watered. thank you for enabling us to persevere during days when hope unborn had died. we praise you for this ceremony that bestows the congressional gold medal on the foot soldiers, boots on the ground who served as catalysts for the voting rights act of 1965. inspired by the courage of these drum majors for justice and
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truth, may we tackle the challenges of this generation with a similar creativity and competence. lord, continue to bless and keep us. make us poor in misfortune and rich in blessings. give us enough challenges to keep us humble, enough hurt to keep us humane, enough failure to keep our hands tightly in yours, and enough success to make us cinerta we are walking with you. we pray this prayer in the name of him who said i have come that you might have life, and might
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have it more abundantly. amen. >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain at your seats for the departure of the official party. ♪
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