Washington, DC — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today released the following statement in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to commemorate the federal holiday that bears his name:
“Each year, Americans of all backgrounds pause to proudly celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who would have turned 80 years old today. And each day – just as Dr. King did from a jail cell in Birmingham, a bus boycott in Montgomery and a bridge in Selma – we make it our mission to pursue justice and advance an agenda that moves America forward.
“The day that officially honors Dr. King offers a solemn opportunity for reflection. This year, it carries even more profound meaning – not just for African Americans, but for all Americans.
“Next week, when Barack Obama addresses the American people for the first time as President, he will look out upon the steps where Dr. King declared his dream and that approach the monument to the man who signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It will be a stirring tribute to our past and signify the promise of our future. And when Eric Holder is soon confirmed as our nation’s first African-American Attorney General, he will become the highest-ranking law-enforcement officer in a country that once legally enforced race-based discrimination and inequality.
“Closing the last speech of his life, Dr. King presaged that though he might not live to see the realization of the dream he shared at the Lincoln Memorial, ‘we, as a people, will get to the promised land.’ While we are on the verge of writing an historic new chapter in American history, we still have much work to do before we get there. It is Dr. King’s voice of peace and his vision of equality that continue to guide us toward that goal.”