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January 20, 2009

H-329, The Capitol • Washington, DC • Kristie Greco • Contact: (202) 226-3210

January 20, 2009


WASHINGTON, DC—House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn this morning released the following statement before the Inauguration of Barack Obama.

“I call this day ‘3-V Day.’ ‘V’ for vindication, ‘V’ for validation and ‘V’ for victory.

“Yesterday we celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The first time I met Dr. King was October 1960. I was with a group of student activists, and we sat up all night with him until 4:00 AM. I left that room a changed person. I knew I had witnessed greatness and I knew after that meeting that I would never be the same.

“Today is about validation of the dream Dr. King annunciated 45 years ago on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial. I spent yesterday afternoon with my family watching a replay of that speech—the entire speech—and my grandkids, nieces and nephews hadn’t heard the first part of the speech. They found inspiration in the first half of the speech that was new to them—particularly this point—that we would not return misdeeds with misdeeds. To hear my grandchildren, the next generation talk like that, gives me great hope for the future.

“Today is about vindication for those social and political activists who devoted their lives to Dr. King’s message and worked within the system to achieve his dream for this great nation. When I was a history teacher in Charleston, SC, I used to tell my students that if they stayed in school, studied hard, and played by the rules they could be anything they wanted to be. But quite frankly, I didn’t really believe what I was telling them. Now I do. And so can millions of children in this country.

“And finally today is about victory. This is a victory for democracy, for all Americans who see their hopes and dreams in Barack Obama, who now feel that they have a voice, and a person with the vision to sail this ship through the rough waters all of us are experiencing.

“But after the Inaugural celebration ends, I caution the American people to have patience. We face many great challenges that took more than 100 days to create, and will take more than 100 days to rectify. I believe we have the compassion and character in Barack Obama, but he will need a commitment from the American people to help bring about the change we sorely need in our great country. It will require all of us to put aside our differences, pick up our tools and get to work together.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 20, 2009 2:31 pm

    It was great watching history in the making, but, only time will tell how he will turn out.

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