It was a day filled with electricity, inspiration, tales of heartache and courage . . .
The White House, March 9, 2010 — President Obama and the First Family joined thousands of Americans at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, to honor the sacrifice and bravery of the men and women who bled there, on that very pavement exactly 50 years ago. Many of those original “foot soldiers” joined him yesterday, including Congressman John Lewis, who helped to organize the first march over this bridge in 1965, who endured a tragic beating on that “Bloody Sunday,” and who yesterday strode arm in arm with the President of the United States.
It was a day filled with electricity, inspiration, tales of heartache and courage, and the true story of how a handful of ordinary Americans helped to change the course of history with their grace, their peaceful action, and their bold belief in the true spirit of this country.
Still, even with the progress those men and women afforded us, great challenges still remain. That’s why the legacy of Selma must not be viewed in the vacuum of history, but rather as an inspiration for our future. As President Obama put it yesterday, the lesson of Selma isn’t an outlier of the American experience:
“[Selma] is instead the manifestation of a creed written into our founding documents: ‘We the People…in order to form a more perfect union.’ ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”
“These are not just words,” he said. “They’re a living thing, a call to action, a roadmap for citizenship and an insistence in the capacity of free men and women to shape our own destiny.”