Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic and Republican Members of the House and Senate and Martin Luther King III joined together this morning at a ceremony in the Capitol to celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev Martin Luther King Jr. Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King. Below are the Speaker's remarks:
“We are here today to observe the 40th anniversary of the day an assassin murdered a great man, but failed to silence a prophet of peace--Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
“Dr. King possessed a voice of hope so powerful that it shook and shattered walls of oppression and lifted the spirits of the downtrodden and denied.
“Today, 40 years after his death, we pause from our work in the People's House to honor this great American, whose message of peace, love, and hope continues to ring throughout the world.
“I recently returned from India, where I paused at every stop to mention Dr. King and Coretta Scott King's pilgrimage to that land.
“The Kings traveled to India to study Mahatma Gandhi's principle of non-violence. Most interesting about what they learned is that the same word for non-violence in Sanskrit, ‘satyagraha,' means ‘truth insistence. Insistence on truth. That is exactly what the Reverend Martin Luther King did.
“In his ministry and good works, Dr. King always insisted on the truth in all things.
“He insisted on the truth when he fought to desegregate lunch counters.
“He insisted on the truth when he, John Lewis and others demanded their right to vote.
“He insisted on the truth when he stood strong--risking his reputation--to fight against an unjust war in Vietnam.
“He insisted on the truth about the horrors of segregation - what it did to those who were segregated and what it did to our country.
“And his son who is with us today--Martin Luther King III--insists on the truth in his ‘Realizing the Dream' effort to end poverty in America.
“We should reflect today that Dr. King has a day on the calendar dedicated to him--an honor traditionally reserved for Presidents--but one deserving of man whose impact was greater than many who held the highest office in the land.
“We should celebrate that visitors to this temple of democracy, the Capitol of the United States, can gaze upon a statue of the great man in our Rotunda, and that one day soon, a memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will take its rightful place on our National Mall.
“We will pay tribute to Dr. King today, not just by remembering his message, but by insisting on the truth, always truth, as we shine a bright light on the last remaining corners of injustice in this land, and throughout the world.
“May God Bless Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s work and may God Bless America. God certainly blessed America with the life and leadership and legacy of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.”