Awarding Congressional Gold Medal to the Foot Soldiers Who Participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, or the Final Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in March of 1965by Representative Martha Roby
Posted on 2015-02-11
ROBY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time.
I, too, want to echo the sentiments of my colleague from Alabama (Ms. Sewell) in thanking leadership and all the Members on both sides of the aisle for their willingness to jump right on this so that we could achieve passage both here in the House and in the Senate in time for this most important anniversary, the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
I am so proud just standing here listening to my colleague. I am so proud to have the privilege and the opportunity to cosponsor this bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the brave men and women who not only changed Alabama and America, but they changed the world.
So as we look toward the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, it is certainly fitting to honor the brave individuals who, against brutality and oppression, took a stand for their God-given rights. So thank you to my colleague, Terry Sewell, for all your hard work on this very important, worthy legislation.
I have also been honored, Mr. Speaker, to serve alongside my colleague [[Page H933]] from Alabama (Ms. Sewell) in recruiting Members of this body and the Senate to join us in the pilgrimage led by John Lewis to Alabama for the anniversary on the 6th, 7th, and 8th of next month. I am proud to say we have a record number of colleagues that are willing to participate because of the obvious significance of this important day.
I look forward to, alongside all of my colleagues in the Alabama delegation--who again I thank as well as Ms. Sewell for their willingness to host our colleagues from all over the country in Birmingham, in Montgomery, and Selma, and other very important places to the civil rights movement--hearing from those who lived it.
One of the things that we did alongside this Congressional Gold Medal, Mr. Speaker, was to invite our colleagues to come to a screening of the movie ``Selma.'' I have to say, as a girl growing up in Montgomery, Alabama, that did not live through this very important time in our history, it was honestly one of the more moving moments in my time in Congress, to sit in the room with our colleague, Mr. Lewis, and experience through that visual on the screen what he lived in his life. It was a unique and special moment and one that I will personally treasure for a very long time.
So, Mr. Speaker, it is Mr. Lewis and all those that joined him in standing up for justice that we seek to honor with this Congressional Gold Medal. There is no higher honor that we as Members of Congress can bestow, yet it seems such a small token of gratitude compared to the magnitude of the endeavors of those who lived through those days.
My daughter, Margaret, Mr. Speaker, whom you often hear me talk about--I have Margaret and George, but Margaret is in fourth grade, and like in a lot of States, in fourth grade in Alabama you learn about Alabama history. This is such an important time in her life as she learns about our State and its history, and the civil rights movement is certainly an integral part, a very important part of our history. So she is coming with me on the pilgrimage next month. She will be able to meet and know firsthand the people that fought to change the world.
It is difficult for those of us who weren't alive during the civil rights movement sometimes to wrap our minds around it, but I, alongside my daughter, am very much looking forward to this special time as Members of Congress that we have to reflect on the importance of this history.
I am, again, honored, Mr. Speaker, to be a part of this bill, and I just thank, again, all of my colleagues who very quickly joined with us so that we could get this done to honor those brave foot soldiers that changed not just our country, but the world. I, too, ask that all my colleagues join me in voting in favor of H.R. 431.